In a 5-day trip to Rome early this month, Father Frank Pavone of Port Chester met with Pope John Paul II and numerous Vatican officials to discuss ways to further the growth of Priests for Life, the national organization he heads.
Father Pavone, traveling with Chief of Staff Anthony DeStefano, concelebrated Mass with the pontiff and later had a private audience with him. The Holy Father strongly praised the work of Priests for Life, which is based in Port Chester, saying: "God bless you and your apostolate for life."
Fr. Pavone presented the Pope with two small gifts: an audio-tape album entitled "Renewed by the Gospel of Life: A Weekend Pro-Life Retreat" and a special photograph recently produced by Priests for Life featuring a Catholic priest surrounded by a large group of babies. The photo represents all the babies saved from abortion in the United States by the Church. The pope was visibly moved by the photo, which he blessed.
During the trip, Fr. Pavone also spoke with officials from The Pontifical Council for the Family, The Pontifical Council for the Laity, The Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, The Sacred Congregation for Bishops and The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
"The response I received from these Vatican departments was overwhelming," said Fr. Pavone. "It is amazing how closely they are following the work of Priests for Life and how pleased they are with our success."
Particularly significant was the meeting with His Eminence Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, president of The Pontifical Council for the Family, said Fr. Pavone. "We had preliminary discussions regarding ways to internationalize Priests for Life," he said. "Understand what that means: The Pontifical Council for the Family, which directs policy on the life issues for the entire Roman Catholic Church, is so happy with the progress we have made here in America that it wishes to see Priests for Life expanded to every country in the world!"