WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hailing him as a “hero of the preborn,” Students for Life of America will honor Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, with its 2013 “Defender of Life” award during its annual conference Jan. 26 in Bethesda, Md.
“His ground-breaking work exposing the true horrors of abortion through images of the aborted child, his countless hours standing and praying outside of abortion facilities offering women in crisis real help, and his great compassion for the women and men left with the heartache of abortion have inspired a generation to enter into the pro-life movement,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life. “Throughout Father Frank’s ministry he has been a leader, a visionary, and a courageously outspoken voice for the preborn.”
Father Pavone became active in pro-life when he was still a teenager and attended his first March for Life. His easy rapport with youth makes him a crowd favorite every year as he walks with the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and the Priests for Life Pastoral Team.
“Young people are not future leaders of the pro-life movement; they are leaders today,” Father Pavone said. “They understand that one-third of their generation has been lost to abortion, and that they are survivors. When they speak up for the unborn, they are also speaking up for themselves. This is one reason why this cause is so personal for them."
Leaders of other youth organizations congratulated Father Pavone on his “Defender of Life” award.
Kristina Garza, director of campus outreach for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, said:
"I cannot think of a more appropriate person to receive this year’s Defender of Life award, than Father Frank Pavone. He works tirelessly, not only to defend life, but to end abortion. He is the general in this war on the Culture of Death. He always makes it a priority to empower and inspire young activists because he understands the value and vibrancy of this generation's efforts to end abortion. I will always be grateful for his outstanding example of courage, compassion, and integrity, and for his encouragement in my own work to change the hearts and minds of youth and young adults throughout our nation."
Jeff White, executive director of Survivors, described Father Pavone’s role in the movement as that of “encourager, leader, priest, friend. He has been a true defender of God's preborn and has brought unity in a movement like no one else ever has. May God bless him richly for the lives whose rescue he has made possible. No one is more deserving of the Students for Life, Defender of Life award.”
Bryan Kemper founded Stand True Pro-Life Outreach and is now also the Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life. He said Father Pavone is one of his heroes, and much more than that.
“I have been in the pro-life movement for over 20 years and I have a lot of heroes. Father Frank is more than a hero, he is a mentor, a role model and a friend. I could not think of anyone more deserving to receive the Defender of Life Award from SFLA this year. I am so proud to work for and side by side with Father Frank in this fight to end the evil of our age. Together with all of the amazing pro-life warriors rising up I know we will see the abolishment of abortion.”
"I am very grateful to Kristan Hawkins and the whole SFLA organization for this honor and for the work they do all year," Fr. Pavone added. "I look forward to visiting many of the Students for Life groups on their own campuses."
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.