Fr. James F. Heyd was born and raised in Chicago and was ordained a
priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1989 by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.
Ever since high school days, he was drawn to pro-life work witnessing the
life-saving efforts of Joseph Scheidler, Pro-life Action League. He received
his B.A. in History and English at the University of Notre Dame in 1985
under the auspices of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and went on to receive
his Sacred Licentiate in Theology (S.T.L.) from Mundelein Seminary in
Illinois in 1990. His dissertation reflected on John Paul II's Laborem
Exorcens (On Human Work).
Fr. Heyd responded to the call to minister to the needs of the growing
Hispanic community and worked as associate pastor at St. Philomena's Parish
from 1990-1995 in a largely Puerto Rican and Mexican neighborhood in
Chicago. Working alongside Frs. Coleman and Lenaghan, S.J., Fr. Heyd
took care of the spiritual and material needs of God's people. It was
during this time that Fr. Heyd expanded his pro-life outreach and met Frs.
Lee Kaylor and Frank Pavone. Granted Cardinal Bernardin's blessing, Fr. Heyd
began to assist Fr. Pavone in developing Priests for Life into a national
On a local level, Fr. Heyd organized and promoted the Holy Hour of Life, and
brought together many lay associates in Chicago to the work of Priests for
Life and assisted pro-lifers with sidewalk counseling and prayer in front of
abortuaries. "These were very exciting though challenging times, trying to
galvanize the clergy to speak out and be prophetic on pro-life issues," Fr.
Heyd says, "in truth, we were supported and encouraged by John Paul II's
encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)."
From 1995-1997, Fr. Heyd worked at St. Joseph Seminary of Loyola University
as a vocations director and instructor of Theology. His work brought
him in contact with pro-life students and seminarians who desired to raise
an awareness of the sanctity of life to their confreres. He also began
to collaborate and write for Seminarians for Life. Fr. Heyd states, "It is
my firm belief that the pro-life movement fosters solid vocations to the
priesthood and religious life, and strengthens the life and belief of the
Fr. Heyd was one of Cardinal Bernardin's Masters of Ceremonies assisting the
Cardinal with liturgical functions.
Fr. Heyd served as an associate pastor of St. Athanasius Parish in Evanston,
Illinois directly north of Chicago. Fr. Heyd is dedicated to working
on community concerns and promoting a culture of life. He is a member
of the Evanston Ecumenical Council working to evangelize youth. He is
also the Police Chaplain for the Evanston Police Department and a Master of
Ceremonies for Bishop Edwin Conway.
In 2005, Fr. Heyd was given permission by Cardinal Francis George to work
full time for Priests for Life. Fr. Heyd writes, "It is a privilege to be a
part of Priests for Life and be able to stand up for the voiceless preborn
threatened by abortion." Father Frank has done a stellar job with this work
and deserves the support of the entire church. This is not just the
work of a few priests but of all of us who call ourselves Christian."