October 10, 1996
Priests for Life has just marked its fifth anniversary--on Sept. 28-and National Director Father Frank Pavone, a Port Chester native, couldn't be more pleased or involved. Since taking over the helm of the organization in 1993, Father Pavone has traveled extensively throughout the United States and beyond, preaching his pro-life message to other priests for them, in turn, to pass on to their local parishes. He also spreads his message through meetings with politicians-- most recently Newt Gingrich; John Hart, president Clinton's liaison to the Catholic community; and Michael Forbes.
Father Pavone has also visited with Mother Theresa in Calcutta and delivered his pro-life message to other clergy members in India. He even gets requests from people in the abortion field and welcomes the opportunity to meet with them and share his beliefs. "We in the pro-life movement are often viewed by others as an anti-woman movement," said Father Pavone. "They are pleasantly surprised." He explained that there are alternative choices for unplanned pregnancies and that the unborn need protection.
"There are other ways to solve our problems instead of destroying our children," he said. "If you view life as being disposable at one stage, then it becomes disposable at every stage." "It's the same as saying if people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, then you can get rid of them," he added.
Father Pavone became active in the abortion issue back in 1976. He studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers and was ordained by Cardinal John O'Connor in 1988. He then served for five years as a parish priest at St. Charles Church in Staten Island while teaching theology part-time at the seminary. Father Pavone lives in Port Chester and maintains the main office of Priests for Life on the grounds of Holy Rosary School on Nicola Place. His parents, Joseph and Marion Pavone, reside on Neuton Avenue in Rye Brook.
He has also helped organize Life Chain, a monthly gathering of pro-life activists, in the village. The group gathers one Sunday a month at the Caldor Shopping Center on the Boston Post Road to show their alliance against abortion. They stand in a line and hold signs reading "Abortion kills children" and "Abortion hurts women," Father Pavone recalled a story from a few months back where a woman pulled her car into the Caldor parking lot in front of the Life Chain, took her baby out of the car and approached the group. She told them she felt they should meet a product of their efforts. According to Father Pavone, she said, "If they cared so much to come out here on a cold day, maybe I should care a little more." She told them that a few months earlier she had been considering having an abortion when she passed the Life Chain and reconsidered her plans.
Father Pavone said he has spoken to many women who have gone through abortions and he has seen the pain and devastation that follows. "It's not something you do today and forget about tomorrow," he said. He brings that message with him when he is asked to speak before high school students on the value of life and on sexual self-control. He emphasizes channeling their energy in other ways. "It is not the physical pleasure that brings us happiness," he said. "What brings us happiness is when we give ourselves to other people and there are more ways to love another person than this kind of physical activity." Father Pavone has produced many television and radio programs promoting his pro-life stance and currently has a regular spot on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).