The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants highlighted Respect Life Month by inviting the Rev. Denis Wilde, O.S.A., to be celebrant and homilist of its monthly Mass Oct. 14 at Notre Dame of Bethlehem.
Fr. Wilde is a member of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, and served on the faculty of Villanova University 1977-98. He has been a priest associate with Priests for Life for eight years. A Long Island native, he is an accomplished pianist and enjoys presenting concerts for pro-life organizations. Fr. Wilde is very involved in Rachel’s Vineyard retreats.
After the liturgy, Fr. Wilde joined the Helpers at the Allentown Women’s Center on Union Boulevard, Allentown, where they prayed three mysteries of the rosary for an end to abortion.
The Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was once again in the Lehigh Valley during this time, and was at the Helpers’ Mass and the Women’s Center.
The image was also present at all six weekend Masses Oct. 14-15 at St. Joseph the Worker, Orefield, for which Fr. Wilde was guest homilist. He also spoke at a teen event for area youth Oct. 13 at St. Joseph the Worker.
In the homily imparted to the Helpers, Fr. Wilde stressed the defense of life and the power of the Mother of God as our mother in intercessory need and care.
“The conversion of souls and hearts was the message of Marian apparitions and the added note of confidence in the Tepayec apparitions,” Fr. Wilde said. He underscored the power of the Guadalupana in the life struggle, as the patroness of the Americas.
In all his homilies that weekend Fr. Wilde made excellent connections to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Missionary Image, which was near him on the altar. He introduced Our Lady of Guadalupe to the congregations and spoke about her Missionary Image and how it, as a faithful digital reproduction of her original image in Mexico City, travels the country touching many hearts for her children, as she was named Patroness of the Unborn by Pope John Paul II.
As Fr. Wilde and the Missionary Image were at the Rosary Vigil at the abortion center after the Helpers’ Mass, he told how it was she who appeared to Juan Diego in December 1831, and the miracles she performed with the Castilian roses, especially the miraculous image she left on Juan Diego’s cloak.
That cloak is still in Mexico City, self-preserved after 476 years. The work of Our Lady led directly to the conversion of many millions of Mexican Indians in the following decade and then to a culture of life after the centuries of human sacrifice practiced by the Aztec Indians.
Fr. Wilde used vivid mental images of the horror of human sacrifice and used that as a mirror for visualizing the culture of death to which the human sacrifice of abortion has brought us in our time. He urged all to pray fervently to Our Lady to help us to speak out in defense of life, which Pope John Paul II affirmed as the foundational right on which all other rights rest in his encyclical “The Gospel of Life.”
He talked about how we must change the language of the debate so that we will challenge the words “A woman’s right to choose” as an aborted sentence: the right to choose what? Those words may sound benign until we finish the sentence: “choose to kill her baby at any time and for any reason during all 9 months of pregnancy.”
Fr. Wilde talked about the two fundamental questions each person needs to answer. First, is it human? And second, can we kill it?
Science shows that we are human from the moment of conception since the blueprint of a unique human being is thus created. Since human life begins at conception, the answer to the second question is found in the Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill.
“It is not enough to be pro-life in our hearts, we need to become advocates for human life from the moment of conception to natural death, both in our prayers and by our public witness,” according to Fr. Wilde.
“Each of us needs to examine the candidates in the upcoming election and decide which are the ones who are unequivocally pro-life, and vote for those candidates and pass the word along to our family, friends and acquaintances.
“In this way, we can help Our Lady of Guadalupe to once again lead a civilization to a culture of life,” Fr. Wilde said.
Fr. Wilde also spoke about the openness of the Church to forgiveness for those who have participated directly or indirectly in abortions and to help them find healing.
Fr. Wilde is an accomplished pianist and enjoys presenting concerts for pro-life organizations. He received his doctorate in music from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and has been professionally engaged as choral director both at Villanova and as guest director of other college chorales both here and abroad. Fr. Wilde feels a unique interest in integrating music and pro-life ministry, much as the heart is moved through beauty in life.
Fr. Wilde urged the faithful to visit www.priestsforlife.org to become more aware and knowledgeable of how they can help the pro-life cause. Those interested in having a Priest for Life come to their parish can contact the Speakers Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 890-4400.
Mooney formerly directed pro-life activities at St. Thomas More, Allentown, before joining the Speakers Bureau of Priests for Life in Staten Island.