Priests for Life

 

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History of Priests for Life

The Founding President of Priests for Life was Fr. Lee Kaylor, who began this association along with several other priests in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. They wanted to encourage their brother priests to preach and teach on the sanctity of life. They established a newsletter for priests and began to organize an association to network priests who are active in pro-life efforts.

On April 30, 1991 Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco officially approved Priests for Life as a Private Association of the Faithful, a term drawn from the Code of Canon Law. The organization was later listed in the Official Catholic Directory.

Fr. Frank Pavone, a Priest of the Diocese of Amarillo, TX, serves as National Director of Priests for Life on a full-time basis with his Bishop's permission. He was ordained by John Cardinal O'Connor, who allowed him to begin this work in 1993. It was not Cardinal O’Connor who approached Fr. Frank, but rather Fr. Frank, driven by a call of conscience, who approached the Cardinal, asking to do full-time pro-life work. In a letter to the personnel director of the Archdiocese of New York, Fr. Frank expressed his conviction that this is what he was called to do, and indicated that he was putting his personal money into getting the venture started. 

The Priests for Life association members elected Fr. Frank as the first full-time National Director.  He has been able to travel to all 50 states and five continents to promote this work. Several other priests have also been given permission by their Ordinaries to work full-time to promote Priests for Life: Fr. Denis G. Wilde, O.S.A., Fr. Walter J. Quinn, O.S.A. , Fr. Scott Daniels, O.P., and Fr. Victor Salomón, who is our fulltime Director of Hispanic Outreach. Other priests have been granted permission to work with us on a part-time basis, such as Msgr. Michael Mannion, Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, and Fr. Tony Mastroeni.

Since 1993, the staff of Priests for Life has grown from one person to 60 full-time paid employees. Working with Fr. Frank from the beginning have been Mr. Anthony DeStefano, Vice Chairman of the Board and Janet Morana, Executive Director. Senior Vice President Mr. Jerry Horn coordinates, among other things, key public relations and media work.

Over the years, this association has obtained the enthusiastic endorsement of many leaders of the Church, such as Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Cardinal Renato Martino, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, and scores of other bishops throughout the United States and the world.  Earlier in our history, His Eminence Cardinal William Keeler, when serving as Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities, expressed his active support. Cardinal Roger Mahony likewise expressed his support in 1994 when he was Chairman of the same committee. When serving as the Holy Father's representative in the United States, Most Reverend Gabriel Montalvo, warmly endorsed Priests for Life. Also, from the beginning, the late Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo endorsed the work on behalf of the Vatican, and later renewed that endorsement. Cardinal Trujillo was the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which was established by Pope John Paul II to coordinate and foster the pro-life, pro-family activities of the entire Church.

Priests for Life has been warmly endorsed by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who asked Fr. Frank Pavone to come to India to speak to her sisters and priests of the region.

In 2003, Priests for Life was granted NGO Status by the United Nations.

Priests for Life has received many inquiries from other countries who want to establish similar associations. Canada has a fully functioning Priests for Life organization. His Eminence Cardinal Christoph Schönborn initiated a Priests for Life chapter in Austria. We also receive inquiries from young men looking for a priestly or religious vocation centered in pro-life activity.

Priests for Life has grown into an entire family of ministries, embracing everything from healing after abortion to political activism.

Together, these ministries have now formed a new, international association of the faithful called “Gospel of Life,” which is now requesting of the Vatican an appropriate status and structure in the Church to accommodate the worldwide, diverse scope of this work.

A key characteristic of the mission of Priests for Life is its ability to work with and support many varied groups and facets within the prolife cause. These groups are grateful for the witness of Priests for Life on many fronts. For example, Catholics Against Capital Punishment have experienced the willingness of Priests for Life to be of assistance.

To learn more about the Priests for Life organization and its history and mission, watch our introductory video, a powerful and professional presentation!

Click here to hear an Audio Intro to Priests for Life

Read the comments of those who praise our work.

 

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org