SAN DIEGO PRO-LIFERS RECEIVED A HUGE MORALE BOOST from Father Giacomo Capoverdi, of Priests for Life. He visited the San Diego diocese from January 31 to February 6. Father Capoverdi, of the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, is currently working full-time with Priests for Life at the organization's New York office. "My mission is to go out into the whole United States and preach about the evils of abortion," he explained. "I'm representing Christ, representing the Church, and representing Father [Frank] Pavone [the Priests for Life director].
"I came out here because I know that San Diego has a lot going on, in the way of pro-life work," Father Capoverdi said. The San Diego diocese contacted Priests for Life and urged them "to send someone out here because they felt like Priests for Life needed to have a presence here in this diocese." Joseph Horejs, the new administrative assistant in the diocesan Social Ministry Office, arranged his schedule here.
On February 1, Father Capoverdi assisted at morning Mass at Most Precious Blood Church in Chula Vista and afterward accompanied 16 parishioners on their Wednesday morning prayer vigil at the Clinica Medica abortion mill. "The doctor had just left, so there wasn't a lot of business," parish pro-life coordinator Shirley Henry reported. "Father Giacomo gave us a beautiful little homily after the rosary and words of encouragement and support. It was such an uplifting hour and a half that we felt really buoyed by the whole situation and we're very grateful."
On February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, he said morning Mass at Saint Rose of Lima in Chula Vista. In his homily, he portrayed the situation in the U.S. since abortion's legalization as being analogous to C.S. Lewis's mythical land of Narnia's seemingly perpetual winter without Christmas, caused by the evil white witch's spell. "Six men [on the Supreme Court] caused it to be winter time in the U.S. since 1973, and a spell was cast over our country since Roe v. Wade was considered constitutional.... As a result 46 million babies have died due to this sin. But the prophecy of Narnia was that the spell would be broken when sons and daughters of Adam and Eve came into Narnia. As they came in, the snow and ice started to melt.... That's what it's like in the pro-life movement right now."
Afterward he accompanied a group of about 10 parishioners to My Choice Women's Medical Clinic, another Chula Vista abortion mill, on their regular Thursday morning prayer vigil there. As the prayer vigil ended, he offered prayers for the conversion of the clinic staff and directly appealed to them to stop their involvement in abortion. Then he gave encouragement to the pro-lifers. As has been typical there during the last few months, no clinic personnel were seen outside nor was there any evidence of abortions occurring during the prayer vigil.
On Saturday morning, February 4, Father Capoverdi joined Catholics and Evangelicals who regularly pray and sidewalk counsel at the Family Planning Associates abortion mill in downtown San Diego, across from Balboa Park. Pro-lifer Sue Lopez reported that 37 people showed up, because "knowing that this priest was coming drew triple the number of Catholics who regularly come."
Lopez recalled Father Capoverdi's reaction to the shout of "Go Home!" yelled from a passing car. "He said, 'We Christians, we are home here. Jesus tells us in the Gospel to love our neighbor. He gives the example of the good Samaritan who rescued a man from death. That is what we are doing at the abortion clinic.' It was so uplifting and inspiring for all present to hear this young priest speak."
Speaking to a News Notes reporter, Father Capoverdi said he was inspired to become involved in Priests for Life by "the horrific nature of this sin in our country." He continued: "I felt God's calling say to me, 'I'm happy you're a priest because I called you to be a priest, but now I want you, for a while, to discern leaving the parish and working full-time to help babies that are unborn.' I feel like, if I can save one baby's life in this work, then I've accomplished what I wanted to do."
Having been born in 1965, technically Father Capoverdi is not a survivor of the post-1973 legalized abortion holocaust, but says he nonetheless feels like one. His mother was facing difficult circumstances during her pregnancy and was offered assistance in arranging and paying for an abortion, but she was horrified by the idea. Father Capoverdi said that now, the person who offered her the abortion "comes up to me and pinches my cheeks and says what a tremendous priest I am and ... she wants me to celebrate her funeral Mass ... and I think to myself as she says this, 'If my mother had followed your advice, I wouldn't be here.' And I wonder, 'How many future priests have we aborted?'"
Father Capoverdi discussed the reluctance of some priests to preach about life issues from the pulpit. "I think sometimes priests are afraid that if they say something that's going to offend somebody, it's going to bring their budgets down and it's going to bring participation in Mass down. I say to them what Christ said to Peter, when many of the disciples that were following Christ formerly no longer were because His teachings [about the Eucharist] were too hard for them to understand. Jesus didn't change His message to make it easier for them. He preached boldly and with authority. And so we follow in the footsteps of Christ. Our parishes may be smaller; our finances may be lessened; our lifestyles as priests may need to diminish a little if we're not getting enough money. But nothing should stop us from preaching the truth."
He added, "We have a message that is sensitive to women who have had an abortion ... about God's mercy. In my homily I always say to women who are post-abortive that often women who have had an abortion feel like they didn't have a choice.... They need to know that they can go to confession; they can receive God's mercy ... we're all in need of God's mercy, love and forgiveness. I tell men and women who are post-abortive about Rachel's Vineyard [ministry to women who've had abortions], which is under the umbrella of Priests for Life. They can go on a retreat and receive God's healing and forgiveness."