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Remarks on behalf of Priests for Life by Michele Velasco to the 6th World Encounter of Families - Mexico - January 2009

Hola. Since I was born, I have been a continuous member of two institutions: the first is the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the second is the International Pro-Life Movement.

My parents raised me, the first child of six, in both. You see, as I was being baptized, anti-family forces were organizing pro-abortion legislation in my country, and as I started school, the United States Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, a case effectively legalizing the murder of unborn babies at any stage. Roe v. Wade overturned all state and federal laws restricting abortion and launched a cultural and moral divide in our nation. In fact, Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. who works full time on the Priests for Life pastoral staff, said, “The pro-life movement IS the civil rights movement of today!” At a local level, my mother actively fought pro-death initiatives, and she taught me of the horror of abortion along with how to recite the rosary. I remember a picture of an aborted baby -- it was clear to me then that abortion is not simply a matter of privacy; it is a battle between life and death, between good and evil, between right and wrong. It is truly the frontlines of spiritual warfare. If we will imitate Jesus Christ, then the Church and its members must speak out about abortion. Abortion and Christianity are simply incompatible. As we read in Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.”

That is why it is not surprising that a priest baptized me into the Catholic Church and it is another priest – Fr. Frank Pavone – who leads the largest international pro-life organization of which I am a member, Priests for Life.

Priests for Life was founded in the United States and became a Private Association of the Faithful in 1991. From the heart of the Church, it is a movement that seeks to help the rest of the Church use her full strength against the most devastating attacks on human life in our day. More than 70,000 active lay and religious souls comprise Priests for Life now working in 85 countries where PFL motivates priests, trains and encourages the laity, and links up their projects with the leadership of the clergy. The organization’s ministries have expanded over the years to include the interdenominational Gospel of Life program reaching out to clergy and government officials, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in which women and men speak out publicly about the devastating emotional and physical pain of abortion, and Rachel’s Vineyard offering weekend retreats for souls hurting from abortion in places as diverse as Ecuador, Australia, Cameroon and Ireland. Additionally, Priests for Life operates on the global stage as a Non-Governmental Organization (or NGO) with Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It has worked closely with the Pontifical Council for the Family for many years.

Through its various ministries, Priests for Life is continuously active within the universal Church to infuse that vast structure with clear, vigorous, and compassionate pro-life teaching and action. The largest pro-life movement in the world works within the Church because the Church is the only institution that has a Divine guarantee it will prevail over the culture of death. "The gates of hell will not prevail against it," the Lord Himself said in Matthew 16:18. Those gates of hell cannot withstand the power of heaven. The gates of death fall in the presence of eternal life. Sin melts in the presence of saving grace. Falsehood collapses in the presence of living truth. These are the tools with which Christ has equipped His Church.

To fully exercise those gifts and apply those tools to the specific problems of abortion and euthanasia, does not so much require more structure as it does more spirit, more awareness, more courage, and more determination to use both the means and the opportunities we already have. That is what Priests for Life is all about. As Fr. Frank Pavone says, we are working from victory, not to victory.

With the confidence bestowed on us by Christ, what can we as individuals do today to stop abortion and fight the culture of death in our communities? First, educate people around you. For materials and tools, visit our Exhibit Booth # 205 or our website – at the top is a button “Hispanic Outreach” which links to a Spanish video, radio spots and brochures. Second, get more involved now in a pro-life group and collaborate with our Christian brothers and sisters. We list groups all around the world on our website. Next, use today’s technology to evangelize eternal truths. On You Tube, you can easily find short videos in which Fr. Pavone reveals the reality of the various methods of abortion, using the words of abortionists themselves – email these clips to your family and friends and tell them to pass it on. You can start a pro-life chain mail. Finally, do not underestimate the power of your example – your example as a Catholic and your pro-life activism.

Priests for Life is comprised of thousands of people like me around the world – Catholics who grew up in a culture that diminishes the value of life. Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the Roe v.Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, refers to Priests for Life as the catalyst that brought her into the Catholic Church! Since Roe v. Wade, more than 48 million American babies have been slaughtered. Since I was five years old, more than 1 million babies died every year I lived. At current rates, 1/3 of women in the United States will have had an abortion by age 45 according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Worldwide 1 in 5 babies is aborted. Yet I believe God has already won the victory over death.

Today, forty years after my induction into the Catholic Church and the Pro-Life Movement, I find the two institutions as inseparable now as they were at my birth. I am Catholic and I am Pro-Life and I cannot be one without being the other. Please, will you join me and say “Yes to Life!”? Si a la vida! Si a la vida!

Mrs. Michele Velasco is International Outreach Director of Priests for Life. In her 18 years of executive business experience, she has managed international pro-life organizations; served as a senior management & strategy consultant to large public companies, investment banks, and start-ups in the telecommunications and media industries; and administered the financial planning and operations of a $200+ million engineering group. She founded a management & marketing consulting firm and now through the firm MIVACA helps non-profit groups expand their outreach internationally, prepare strategic plans, and build fundraising programs. Mrs. Velasco graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Christendom College and lives with her husband near Washington, DC. She can be reached via email at

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
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