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Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 4
July-August 1998

C O N T E N T S

Announcements

  • Increased Web Traffic
  • Homilies for Sundays and Feasts
  • The Church's Pro-life Office
  • National Night of Prayer: Plan Now to Make it a Big One

Intentions for Liturgy of the Hours

More Full-Time Priests Join Priests for Life Staff

The Advocate

The Theology of Pope John Paul II

Priest Profile-- Msgr. James Golasinski


http://www.priestsforlife.org
Now at 7000 Visitors a Day!

At last count, we discovered that the Priests for Life website is receiving 7000 visitors a day! The large increase is due mostly to the fact that we now post audio and video, and also update the site daily from Rome, with a handy page showing in one place the new additions to the site that day. Please visit, and spread the word to others through your parish bulletins and pro-life newsletters!

Homilies for Sundays and Feasts

As a service to our brother priests, the Priests for Life website, http://www.priestsforlife.org, not only has pro-life homilies, but also audio homilies corresponding to various Sundays and Feasts of the Liturgical year. The homily for a given Sunday will be posted close to that Sunday.

The Church's Pro-life Office

The Pontifical Council for the Family was established by Pope John Paul II to serve the universal Church by promoting and coordinating the pastoral care of the family and all the Church's activities in defense of human life. The President of the Council is Alfonso Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo. We invite you to take advantage of the many publications which the Council makes available, many of which are in English, as well as its regular journal, Familia et Vita. Inquire by fax at 011-396-6988-7272, or by writing Pontifical Council for the Family, Piazza San Calisto, 16 00120 Vatican City State.

National Night of Prayer: Plan Now to Make it a Big One

Each year, hundreds of parishes across America hold a special time of adoration and prayer on the night of December 8-9, usually from 9pm to 1am, with the intention of an increased respect for human life and an end to abortion.

The day is significant, because we honor a Mother without sin, who intercedes for mothers tempted to sin. The night is significant, because darkness is a symbol of falsehood, sin and death, but the vigilance of God's people in the lit Church is a symbol of truth, grace, and life. The presence of the Eucharist is significant, for the One who says, "This is My Body" in order to give us life undoes the work of those who say, "This is my body" in order to justify abortion.

Plan now to open your parish to this special national event!

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INTENTIONS FOR LITURGY OF THE HOURS

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

 

July intention: That many will dedicate some of their leisure time to pro-life activity.

August intention: That prayerful presence at abortion facilities may turn many away from the act of abortion.

 

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More Full-Time Priests Join Priests for Life Staff

Calling it "a leap forward in our efforts to encourage the clergy," Fr. Frank Pavone officially announced on April 1 the exciting news that another full-time priest has joined the staff of Priests for Life.

Fr. Peter West, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, has been released by Archbishop Theodore D. McCarrick for a period of three years to work along with Fr. Richard Hogan, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as a staff of 20 lay.

Priests for Life, which was founded in 1991, has grown rapidly in the last several years. Its mission, to train and encourage the clergy to be actively pro-life, and to infuse the structure of the Church with renewed enthusiasm for the pro-life cause, has found great favor among the episcopate of the United States. Fifteen bishops currently sit on its Board of Advisors, including Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome.

In announcing the news of Fr. West’s appointment, Fr. Pavone stated:

"I am grateful to Archbishop McCarrick for assigning one of his priests to this ministry. The Archbishop's decision, at a time when priests are in such demand, is a sign of his deep dedication to the cause of defending the preborn.

"The fact that Fr. West's service with Priests for Life begins now in the Easter season is also a sign that our pro-life work is always to be marked by the joy and utter confidence that flow from knowing that Christ is Risen and has conquered death."

Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director of Priests for Life, commented: "From a practical standpoint, the addition of Fr. West to our staff greatly enhances our ability to reach the people of the U.S. with our pro-life message. Fr. West will be traveling all over the country teaching, training and encouraging his brother priests. In the last 3 years, Fr. Pavone and Fr. Hogan have visited every one of the 50 states and have personally spoken to over 500,000 people. (This, of course, doesn’t count the masses of people we reach via television, radio, and print media.) With Fr. West on board, we will be able to dramatically increase the number of people we reach through our travels, and the impact we have on the pro-life movement."

In his first months of service with Priests for Life, Fr. West has already begun an intense pro-life speaking schedule, has celebrated Masses broadcast nationwide over the Odyssey Network, has met with priests, youth, and pro-life leaders in many places, and has spent time in Rome meeting with Fr. Pavone and other officials of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Asked if he was looking forward to the rigorous travel and work schedule his new job will provide, Fr. West responded with confidence: "Pro-life people are the warmest, most kind-hearted people in the world. I look forward to meeting and working with as many as possible in this most necessary work."

When he is not traveling, Fr. West will be working from the International Headquarters of Priests for Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY, 10314. He can be reached by phone at (718) 980-4400; Fax: (718) 980-6515; Email: pfl@priestsforlife.org.

Having welcomed Fr. West, Priests for Life is now negotiating the addition of yet another full-time priest in the Fall. Please pray that more priests may discern, in union with their bishops, the call to full time pro-life ministry.

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The Advocate

By Fr. Frank Pavone
Pontifical Council for the Family

"If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one"(1John2:1). The Lord Jesus is our Advocate. "He always lives to make intercession for us"(see Hebrews 7:25, Rom.8:34).

Yet the Lord Jesus promised on the night before He died, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth"(John 14:16-17).

What is an advocate? An advocate pleads our cause, takes our side, conducts our defense. When we cannot pray, the Advocate prays within us (see Rom.8:26). When we cannot save ourselves, the Advocate saves us and lifts us up. When we dare not approach the God we have offended by sin, the Advocate gives us confidence by speaking words of pardon and mercy.

Our age needs an advocate more than ever, because of the culture of death, and what the Holy Father has called a "conspiracy against life," a "war of the powerful against the weak" (see The Gospel of Life, #12). We need an advocate that can assure us that no sin of which we repent is beyond forgiveness. We need an advocate, furthermore, to assure us that we can indeed embark upon a new culture of life.

But as people filled with the Holy Spirit, we do not only have an advocate; we become advocates. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you," the Lord said, as He breathed the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (John 20:21-22). "When the Advocate comes, …he will testify to me. And you also testify…"(John 15:26-27).

We also testify. We also advocate. If we cry out for mercy, can we indeed neglect the cries of others for mercy? If we know that we cannot save ourselves, can we be indifferent to others who cannot save themselves?

Sometimes in speaking of the babies in danger of abortion, we say that we all "were once in their position." Indeed we were. But in another way we still are. We still need to be saved. We cannot rescue ourselves from death. We still cannot speak for ourselves.

When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, He appeared as tongues of fire. He gave speech to the apostles, whose fear had wrapped them in silence. Despite great danger to themselves, they went forth and proclaimed Christ.

The Holy Spirit still comes, and we are still called to proclaim Christ. An essential aspect of that proclamation is "to proclaim good news to the poor…liberty to captives" (Is.61:1-2, Lk. 4:18-19). The poor are not just those who have little. The poor are those who have no help but God. There is no group of people more helpless and more in need of an advocate that the children in the womb.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the "father of the poor" (Sequence of Pentecost), we advocate on behalf of the very poorest, threatened as they are by abortion. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, who inspires our speech, we speak up for the pre-born. Then, indeed, we know the Advocate.

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The Theology of Pope John Paul II

(Rev.) Richard M. Hogan
Associate Director of Priests For Life

One of the topics I address often in my travels for Priests For Life is the encyclical, The Gospel of Life, written by Pope John Paul II and promulgated on March 25, 1995, the feast of the Annunciation. This encylical, while it certainly can stand alone as official teaching of the Church, is better understood as a compendium or summary of the theology of the present Pope.

In 1958, in a speech in Cracow, the then rather young (for a bishop) and newly ordained auxiliary bishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyla, linked the revelation of Christ to the insights of modern phenomenology. He had studied phenomenology at the University of Cracow while earning his doctorate in philosophy. (Previously, he had taken a doctorate in theology at the Angelicum in Rome.)

Phenomenology uses a modern process of thought. In other words, it is subjective, experiential, and inductive. Subjective is the opposite of objective. Objective means what is real, what holds for everyone, what is true. Subjective refers to individual insights and veiwpoints. The statement heard so often, "That may be true for you, but not for me," is a perfect example of a subjective viewpoint. Experiential is usually contrasted with principle. Experience uses data from individual occurrences and events to explain reality whereas principle explains experience from a universal interpretation of reality. Inductive is contrasted with deductive. Deductive reasoning is "top down" and inductive reasoning is "bottom up." Democracy is an example of the inductive method---one man one vote.

All this would be rather unimportant except that the revelation of Christ has been tied for centuries to an objective, deductive, and principled way of thinking: the great work of St. Thomas Aquinas linking Aristotelian philosophy to the faith. But we don’t think this way any more. So in order to effectively communicate the faith a link of revelation with a subjective, inductive, and experiential mode of thinking is very important. In other words, we need a translation of the faith from the older mode of reasoning to the newer mode. This is what Pope John Paul II has been able to do in linking revelation to modern phenomenology.

The key to the whole is the reference to our creation in the image and likeness of God. This was first clearly enunciated in the 1958 Cracow speech. In other words, the union of the modern mode of thought and revelation is celebrated in the human person. We are each created individually like God. We are all "special orders." We are unique individuals. (Michelangelo got it right on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel when he painted God’s finger touching only Adam.) Since we are all individually like God, our own expereinces, subjective viewpoints, and unique ideas (inductive when added together) can tell us something about God. However, unless we know God and how He acts, we do not know ourselves or how we should act, because we are images of God (i.e., reflections of Him). With the link to God, we have a link to the ultimate objective, deductive and principled reality of the universe. And so, the two modes of thought are linked.

It is this marriage of two worlds, two modes of thought, celebrated within the human person which yields the "new personalism" of Pope John Paul II. This new personalism gives us a new understanding of creation (theology of the body, theology of the family, dignity of the human person), of Christology (Christ, as the second Person of the Trinity reveals God and in revealing God, He reveals man to man himself. Cf. Gaudium et Spes, no. 22.), of the Church, of the sacraments, of grace and sin, and of the four last things. The Gospel of Life is in many ways a marvelous synthesis of Pope John Paul II’s theology which he has presented to the world since 1958. Please, don’t just read the Gospel of Life, read all of the Pope’s works. Come to understand the rich and marvelous theology of his "personalism!"

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Priest Profile-- Msgr. James Golasinski

By Anthony DeStefano, Executive Director

If there is one word that sums up the life and philosophy of Msgr. James Golasinski, pastor of Annunciation Church in Houston, Texas–it’s Action!

Ordained at the age of 24 in 1958, Msgr. Golasinski earned his Masters in Education from Catholic University and spent most of the ‘60s as Superintendent of Schools in the Galveston Houston diocese. He then took the bold step of going abroad and doing missionary work in Korea for eleven years. Upon his return to the States in 1978, he founded St. Andrew Kim parish to serve the needs of the growing Korean population of Houston.

In 1990 he was installed as pastor of Annunciation Church. His very first action was to gather his entire parish together and announce that his number one priority would be the life issues. This is something that Msgr. Golasinski recommends all newly appointed pastors do. "It’s important that your people understand from the very beginning how central the life issues are. And it must be made clear that this isn’t just some peculiarity of your own--- it’s what the Pope and the Church teach."

Msgr. Golasinski’s dedication to standing up for life has manifested itself in many ways at Annunciation:

  • The parish bulletin regularly reprints pro-life newspaper and magazine articles.
  • The first Sunday of every month is devoted to the life issues.
  • Every Friday, after the noon Mass, Monsignor leads the Stations of the Cross for the Unborn.
  • Every month, he leads prayer processions in front of the local abortion clinic.
  • Many prominent speakers have been invited to the parish to give special pro-life weekends, including Msgr. Phillip Reilly of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, and, of course, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

Msgr. Golasinski has especially high words of praise for his pro-life committee. "They’re great!" he says. "They’ve got a newsletter they send out every month; every year they sponsor an essay contest on abortion for the teenagers of the parish (first prize is a trip to Austin for the January March for Life); and every October they have a Life Chain.

"We don’t have many meetings," Msgr. states proudly. "We concentrate on activities! There’s too much talk at meetings. That can stifle enthusiasm and action."

Msgr. Golasinski has one major piece of advice for priests who want to fire up their people with pro-life conviction: "Get yourself a good pro-life committee. That’s essential. No matter how dedicated a priest you are, you still need a layman to help organize and implement your pro-life strategy. In many Churches I’ve seen one of these elements present–either a very enthusiastic priest of a very zealous lay person. And you can accomplish a lot with just this. But if you have both, then the sky’s the limit!"

Msgr. Golasinski can be reached at Annunciation Church at P.O. Box 214, Houston, TX 77001-0214,
Phone: (713) 222-2289, Fax: (713) 222-2280.

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