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
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.
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. ,
and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato. Other priests have been granted permission to
work with us on a part-time basis, such as
Msgr. Michael Mannion
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
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
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
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
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
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
Priests for Life has grown into an
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
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