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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 1
January - February 1998 

mccartneyff9.jpg (32775 bytes)CONTENTS

Priest Profile: Fr. James E. Goode

Priests for Life Launches Speakers' Bureau

Words from the International Director

Promise Keepers

The Holy Spirit and Abortion, Part One

Prayer Intentions

Rio Declaration Issued

Priest Profile-- Father James E. Goode

By

Anthony DeStefano
Executive Director
Priests for Life

Fr. Jim Goode is a dynamo. There is no other way to describe him.

Ordained a Franciscan priest in the Province of the Immaculate Conception in New York City in 1972, Fr. Goode is currently celebrating his 25th anniversary as a minister of the Gospel.

One of the leading black Catholic evangelists in the United States, Fr. Goode is the Director and Founder of Solid Ground Ministry, a Franciscan organization based in New York which assists black families and all people of color in reclaiming their dignity. "This ministry," says Fr. Goode, "helps African Americans acknowledge the strength they have as a people, and supports them in putting their lives back on track."

But that’s not all. Fr. Goode has been a dynamic and charismatic leader in the Church since he became a priest. For example, he was the first chairman of the Office of Black Ministry in the diocese of Brooklyn. He was the founding pastor of Our Lady of Charity, a faith community of black Catholics which became the fore runner of black Catholic liturgy, education and community outreach in Brooklyn.

In 1993, he became the first black Catholic pastor in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, when he took over St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church. He also served as the coordinator for African American Catholic affairs for the diocese, as well as the head of the San Francisco Delinquency Prevention Program and the President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission. During his twelve years as a spiritual leader in San Francisco, Fr. Goode helped to create what he had previously developed in the East—a mecca for black Catholic worship, education and social justice.

In 1997, Fr. Goode launched his most ambitious project yet: The National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life. Commissioned to be a witness for the Gospel of Life in the black community, the NBCAL hopes to evangelize and challenge the black community to embrace and live the spirit of love described by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. "Our mission as black Catholic religious," says Fr. Goode, "is to accept our responsibility to be that love for our community, which so desperately needs to hear in our voices and see in our lives the Gospel of Life. As black Catholics, we must evangelize the black community to accept the scriptural call to choose life and to revere life in all of its various stages. By our commitment to the Gospel of Life, we will labor for the dignity, respect and worth of each person—born and unborn."

Fr. Goode, who is extremely grateful to both the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception and to John Cardinal O’Connor of New York for their support in starting the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life, is very enthusiastic about the success of this new ministry. "We must be bold!" he proclaims to black Catholics in the United States. "Above all, we must believe in the power of prayer. I call for all black religious throughout this great country to come before the Blessed Sacrament, and there, in God’s presence, pray for the power to truly lead our people and destroy the Culture of Death forever.!"

Priests for Life is proud to have Fr. Jim Goode as a member, and looks forward to active collaboration with the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life.

Fr. Goode can be reached at Solid Ground Ministry, 440 West 36th St., New York, NY, 10018; (212) 868-1847

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Priests for Life Launches Speakers' Program

Since 1993, Fr. Frank Pavone has traveled to parishes in all 50 states to proclaim the Church's teaching on abortion and help other priests to do the same. Since 1995, Fr. Richard Hogan has assisted in fulfilling the many speaking invitations extended to Priests for Life.

Now, in 1998, Priests for Life is expanding its speaking presence in parishes from coast to coast by offering to send trained lay staff into parishes to give a brief post-communion talk. The text of the talk is available on request.

With the pastor's permission, Priests for Life materials are made available to the people, especially our practical handout You Can Save Someone's Life Today! This brochure contains suggestions for pro-life activity gathered from our direct, personal contact with pro-life groups throughout the nation.

Likewise, the weekend presence of a Priests for Life staff person in the parish gives the people the opportunity to become supporters of the work. The Priests for Life BRE's are left in Church so that parishioners may either give a contribution that day or send one in the mail.

Donations to Priests for Life are tax-deductible, and are used to train the clergy to teach about abortion, to provide alternatives to abortion, to offer the healing and forgiveness that people need after abortion, and to organize their people to respond to the abortion tragedy.

No stipend is asked for the speaker. The speaker, furthermore, will be happy to meet with those in the parish who coordinate pro-life activity, to provide them the benefit of guidance and counsel based on the experience of Priests for Life.

As a result of this project, a clear and compassionate message on abortion is given to those most likely to rise to the occasion and do something about it.

If you are a parish priest, please have a Priests for Life speaker come into your parish soon. If you are a lay person, please bring this invitation to the attention of your parish priests. For more information, call the Priests for Life office at (718) 980-4400.

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Promise Keepers

Priests for Life enjoys a good relationship with the leaders of Promise Keepers. We are happy to publish the following letter from Promise Keepers founder and CEO, Bill McCartney--

Dear Clergy,

It is with a feeling of great privilege, excitement and awe that I write you. I believe that God is doing a remarkable work in our midst -- He is stirring His church and moving powerfully on the hearts of men in America. I cannot imagine a greater time to be a pastor than right now.

On October 4th, hundreds of thousands of men gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a Sacred Assembly. To capitalize on the momentum of God's outpouring at Stand In The Gap, Promise Keepers will host 9 one-day regional pastor's conferences at no charge, located in these cities:

Philadelphia, PA Jan. 15 Dallas, TX Feb. 12

Denver, CO Jan. 22 St. Petersburg, FL Feb. 19

San Diego, CA Jan. 29 Portland, OR Mar. 10

Nashville, TN Feb. 5 Indianapolis, IN Mar. 12

Charlotte, NC Feb. 10

Our theme for this intensive outreach is Our Extraordinary Hope.

It is our hope that you will conduct your own state clergy gatherings thereafter, building a growing network of pastors committed to spiritual revival.

In addition, we believe God has called us to enlarge our outreach to men by making all of our events free of charge. Therefore, in an obedient step of faith, beginning in 1998 our stadium and arena conferences will have no admission fee.

Promise Keepers can help sound the trumpet, but only churches can do the discipleship and only pastors can provide the necessary leadership. Will you consider joining us at one of our regional events? If so, please call:

1-800-888-7595

and let us know, so that we may provide you with more information.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration. With faith, hope and love, I remain,

Your servant and brother in Christ,

Bill McCartney

Founder & CEO

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The Holy Spirit and Abortion, Part One

By Fr. Frank Pavone
International Director
Priests for Life

In the great plan of the Church's preparation for the Year 2000, the new year 1998 is dedicated to reflection on the Person of the Holy Spirit. This plan, of course, calls for more than mere reflection in the mind. It calls for a deeper relationship and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, a deeper love and obedience, a deeper absorption into what the Holy Spirit intends to accomplish in our lives and in the world.

In the Priests for Life newsletters of 1998, we will engage in reflection on the Holy Spirit and what He says to us about our pro-life commitment. We encourage all our members to preach and teach on these themes at various opportunities during this year.

Who is the Holy Spirit? The first thing we say about the Spirit in the Creed is that He is Lord. "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord..." The Holy Spirit is not someone secondary or inferior to God; He is God. He has all the knowledge, power, authority, love and divinity of God, and is equal in every way to the Father and the Son. He always was and always will be.

We therefore worship and adore the Holy Spirit. "With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified."

The equality of the Holy Spirit with the other two Persons of the Trinity may seem to some to be an abstract idea with little practical relevance.

But the practical relevance is immense. It challenges us in the formation of our judgments and the conduct of our lives. What does following the Holy Spirit mean?

Some imply that the Holy Spirit leads us beyond the teachings of the Father and the Son, exempting us from the commandments and relieving us of the demands of the Gospel. Some are tempted to avoid the demands of concrete teachings of the Gospel and the Church by appealing to the "Holy Spirit" who is leading them. Some even commit abortions with these words on their lips, and I have personally heard it many times.

Yet the Holy Spirit can never contradict the teachings of the Father or the Son, because He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Our Lord says of Him, "He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears--He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you" (Jn.16:13-15).

Indeed, the coming of the Holy Spirit continues the presence of Christ Himself. In promising that He will send the Counselor from the Father (Jn.14:16), Christ then says, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you" (Jn.14:18). When the Spirit comes, Christ comes. "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit...will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (Jn.14:26).

As the centuries and millennia move on, the Church grows in her understanding of the revelation given once and for all in Christ, and learns better how to apply it to the changing circumstances of history. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. But it is a better understanding and more effective application of the same teaching, not a transformation of one teaching into another.

The Church's teaching on the sanctity of life, and on the sanctity of the life in the womb, will never change. The Holy Spirit gives the faithful the ability to grasp this teaching, and the strength to live it even in the most difficult circumstances. The Spirit does not just speak and preserve; He empowers and strengthens! May that Spirit keep all God's people strong and faithful in the truth about human life.

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Words from the International Director

Dear Friends,

I am happy to report that I am in good health. During the summer I had a case of myelitis (nerve inflammation) which was causing some pain and numbness on my left side. This condition takes a long time to subside, but it indeed has subsided and all is well.

I appreciate the prayers and concern of so many people who heard of my minor illness and responded in such a deeply Christian way.

The work in Rome is going well, and involves guidance and encouragement to the many pro-life and pro-family movements throughout the world. Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, of which I am an official, is a prophetic and energetic apostle of life. It is a great pleasure to work with him.

The Pontifical Council for the Family was established by Pope John Paul II precisely in order to foster the pro-life and pro-family work of the Church. Issues and concerns related to these areas are ultimately handled by this office. The Pontifical Council for the Family conducts conferences and seminars throughout the world to enable the Church to carry out her pro-life, pro-family mission. Its mailing address is Pontifical Council for the Family, Piazza San Calisto 16, 00120 Vatican City State.

On USA matters, I continue to be grateful to Fr. Richard Hogan for all the traveling and speaking he does on behalf of Priests for Life. In addition to his presence, I would like to welcome other priests to this ministry on a full-time basis. I invite you to pray with me that those priests who are called to full-time pro-life work may discern that call, in union with their bishops, and be able to enrich the Church by means of this apostolate.

We can never adequately thank His Eminence, John Cardinal O'Connor, and Archbishop Harry Flynn, for their generosity in releasing me and Fr. Hogan from other duties to foster the ministry of Priests for Life.

Nor can we adequately thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the defense of human life. We've only just begun!

Fr. Frank Pavone

International Director

Priests for Life

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You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:

January intention: For the success of the 25th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

February intention: For the full conversion of abortion providers who are considering leaving the abortion industry.

 

Rio Declaration Issued

Following the inspiring Second World Meeting of the Holy Father with Families in Rio de Janeiro from October 1-5, 1997, the Pontifical Council for the Family published the conclusions of the Theological-Pastoral Congress held during those days. Priests for Life was happy to have a significant role in this work. Fr. Frank Pavone, as an Official of the Council, assisted in the drafting of the document, and Fr. Richard Hogan served as one of the presenters in the workshops of the Congress. Among the conclusions were the following words: "We call on the clergy to build up the spiritual family of the Church through parish ministry to families, which includes teaching and preaching on the dignity of human life, marriage, and the family."

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[PFL Previous Newsletters]

 

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org