TITUSVILLE, FL – Two of the major ministries of Priests for Life, and one of its medical advisors, were represented at the annual conference organized this past weekend by all the Catholic Dioceses of Florida, the home of the new, expanded Priests for Life headquarters.
Evangelist Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, was a featured speaker at the 31st annual Florida statewide Respect Life conference. The theme of the event was “For the Least of Them” and it was hosted by the Archdiocese of Miami in Weston. Representatives of the Catholic dioceses in the state were among the 450 people in attendance.
Ms. King gave two talks during the conference. In the first, she described the devastating impact abortion has had on the African-American community because of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood targeting minorities.
In her second speech, attended primarily by priests, Ms. King talked about the vital role of priests and pastors in defending the unborn. She also distributed copies of “Proclaiming the Message of Life” by Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. The book gives pro-life sermon suggestions for all three cycles of Mass readings in the Catholic liturgy.
Ms. King linked the legalization of abortion to the 1963 Supreme Court decision that removed prayer from public schools and led to a creeping secular humanism that ultimately was able to dehumanize the child in the womb.
“By dehumanizing that child,” she said, “then it’s OK for the mother to do whatever she wants to do.”
Sharing personally from her own life experiences, she said her mother had considered aborting her, until her grandfather intervened, and how she herself had two abortions before her conversion to the pro-life cause.
“I bought the lie,” she admitted.
Ms. King urged priests to speak about abortion from the pulpit and not to worry that their words will be hurtful to women and men in their congregations who might be suffering the after-effects of abortion. To the contrary, she said, clergy who speak openly about abortion “are really setting people free.”
In a letter of greeting that Ms. King read at the conference, Father Pavone announced that the ministry’s move from New York City to Titusville had been completed and that the organization is still hiring staff and welcoming volunteers.
Addressing conference attendees, Father Pavone wrote:
“All of us at Priests for Life thank you for your commitment to the most important and urgent task our nation and our Church face right now, and that is to restore full and equal protection to the children in the womb. This is the priority meaning of the term "pro-life" and the most fundamental goal of the pro-life movement. This is, in fact, the civil rights movement of today, as Alveda first told me when we began working together almost twenty years ago.
Friends, we will succeed in this task, but only if we work together and let no divisions stand in our way. Let us hasten to victory!”
Priests for Life medical advisor Dr. Anthony Levatino also addressed the conference, sharing the deeply personal story of how the tragic death of his young daughter ultimately led him to stop performing abortions and to speak out for the unborn. In 2015, Dr. Levatino marched with the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, carrying a sign that read “I Regret Performing Abortions.”
Also at the Respect Life conference, Donna Gardner, director of Rachel’s Vineyard for the Diocese of Palm Beach, spoke about the way men are wounded by abortion and her efforts to bring the post-abortion healing program inside men’s prisons. Rachel’s Vineyard operates under the umbrella of Priests for Life.
Conference attendees from around the state of Florida were encouraged to contact Priests for Life for opportunities for pro-life volunteer activities and paid positions at the new, expanded Priests for Life headquarters in Titusville.
To access photos, videos and audio from the conference, visit PriestsForLife.org.
Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.