Calling it "a leap forward in our efforts to encourage the clergy," Fr. Frank Pavone today officially announced the exciting news that another full-time priest has joined the staff of Priests for Life, the International pro-life organization which he has led since 1993.
Fr. Peter West, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, has been released by Archbishop Theodore D. McCarrick for a period of three years to work for the well-known association of Catholic clergy, which has its headquarters in Staten Island, NY.
Fr. Pavone made the jubilant announcement from Rome, where he works as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Vatican office which coordinates the pro-life pastoral activity of the Catholic Church.
In coming on board Priests for Life, Fr. West joins Fr. Pavone, of the Archdiocese of New York, and Fr. Richard Hogan, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as a staff of 20 lay employees who make up the organization, nationwide.
Priests for Life, which was founded in 1991, has grown rapidly in the last several years. Its mission, to train and encourage the clergy to be actively pro-life, and to infuse the structure of the Church with renewed enthusiasm for the pro-life cause, has found great favor among the episcopate of the United States. Fifteen bishops currently sit on its Board of Advisors, including Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome.
In announcing the news of Fr. West’s appointment, Fr. Pavone stated:
"I am grateful to Archbishop McCarrick for assigning one of his priests to this ministry. The Archbishop's decision, at a time when priests are in such demand, is a sign of his deep dedication to the cause of defending the preborn.
"The fact that Fr. West's service with Priests for Life begins now in the Easter season is also a sign that our pro-life work is always to be marked by the joy and utter confidence that flow from knowing that Christ is Risen and has conquered death."
Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director of Priests for Life, commented: "From a practical standpoint, the addition of Fr. West to our staff greatly enhances our ability to reach the people of the U.S. with our pro-life message. Fr. West will be traveling all over the country; teaching, training and encouraging his brother priests. In the last 3 years, Fr. Pavone and Fr. Hogan have visited every one of the 50 states and have personally spoken to over 500,000 people. (This, of course, doesn’t count the masses of people we reach via television, with our Defending Life TV series, which is broadcast into 55 million American homes on EWTN.) With Fr. West on board, we will be able to dramatically increase the number of people we reach through our travels, and the impact we have on the pro-life movement."
In his first two weeks of service with Priests for Life, Fr. West has already given pro-life talks in New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Texas. An intense pro-life speaking schedule is currently being planned for him, and in June, he will be flying to Rome to meet with Fr. Pavone and other officials of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Asked if he was looking forward to the rigorous travel and work schedule his new job will provide, Fr. West responded with confidence: "I just returned from a trip to Chicago, and I was reminded of something I already knew: Pro-life people are the warmest, most kind-hearted people in the world. I look forward to meeting and working with as many as possible in this most necessary work."
When he is not traveling, Fr. West will be working from the International Headquarters of Priests for Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY, 10314. He can be reached by phone at (718) 980-4400; Fax: (718) 980-6515; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The address of the Priests for Life web page is http://www.priestsforlife.org