One year ago tonight, in a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, I kept vigil at the bedside of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, watching a death that was not at all peaceful. Our sister Terri was near death by dehydration, while a display of live flowers stood just inches away, immersed in water. Along with a few relatives and friends who were on the visitors’ list, we were joined by armed police officers, making sure none of us shared that water with Terri.
One year ago tonight, the eyes of the world were focused on that hospice room, but hardly anyone saw it. Yet, there in that room, I assured Terri of the love, concern, and prayers of each one of you. We were all there, and it was Easter Wednesday. We were surrounded by the darkness of the Culture of Death, but we were immersed in the light of the Resurrection of Christ.
That is why this special family, the Schindlers, can carry on today – not just surviving this ordeal, but strong and eager to carry out the mission they have -- to serve other families who face what they faced.
Today, our entire Priests for Life Association around the world, and our newly-formed Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, stand with this family and with the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation. We pledge to make every priest, every parish, every activist aware of this important initiative in the months to come. We also promise to use every avenue of communication and networking at our disposal to keep Terri’s memory alive. Terri was not in a coma, did not have a terminal illness, and was not on life support. Yet some deemed her life not worth living. We will proclaim with every ounce of our energy that while there may be worthless treatments, there is no such thing as a worthless life.
I thank my associate, Fr. Peter West, who spoke out on Terri’s behalf when few knew about her. I thank all of you for what you have done and what you will do in the months and years to come.
-- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and President of the National Pro-life Religious Council
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.