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Baby Joseph: A Life Worth Living

September 28, 2011

Last night I was awakened by a call telling me the sad news that Baby Joseph, whom many of you worked with us to save, passed away. He died at home in the arms of his parents. As I’m sure you remember, Baby Joseph Maraachli was the boy from Canada who made international headlines as his family fought to give him the basic care he needed in order to breathe. Please read and pass along my latest column, Baby Joseph: A Life Worth Living.  His life and death were my inspiration for this column.  Priests for Life has issued a press release about his passing and you can view it by clicking here.  Before you get to the column, let me also give you some other updates.

On Monday, we’re going to release a special video. Be on the lookout for it at

Also, I was speaking this morning with our Director of Youth Outreach, Bryan Kemper, and he asked me to pass along to you a reminder of the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity coming up on October 18. This is a day when students keep silent all day to express their solidarity with the unborn, and when someone talks to them, they give them a pro-life flier. See We will be contacting all the Catholic schools and parishes about it.

Bryan also asked me to tell you that he has been asked to coordinate the Youth Rally in conjunction with the March for Life this coming January in Washington DC. It will be on the Saturday night before the March. More to come on that as well!

Last week I told you about the Priests for Life Pastoral Team giving input to the Synod of Bishops.  Please view my latest YouTube video about this at where I explain more about this.

For those of you who live in West Virginia, be sure to vote on October 4 in the special election for Governor.  It’s important to be informed about the candidates and to vote for all levels of public officials.

Other upcoming elections events to help you stay informed are: 

a)  October 7-9 is the Values Voter Summit Presidential Straw Poll, Washington, DC. Held annually each fall since 2006, the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit brings conservative activists from around the country to Washington, DC to hear from leading public officials and commentators.

b) October 11 is the National Republican Party Presidential Debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.  This debate will deal exclusively with economic issues and will be carried live by Bloomberg Television and streamed over the internet at This debate and next week’s discussion in Las Vegas (see below) will give candidates an opportunity to address directly voters from two of the first four primary/caucus states, New Hampshire and Nevada.

c) October 18 is the National Republican Party Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, NV hosted and televised by CNN.

For more information on these events and more see

Help me counteract the haters of the Church and life. I am a regular columnist both for The Washington Post online forum called “On Faith” and for the Opinion page. When one of my columns is posted, there are always many comments from those who ridicule the Church and the pro-life movement. But the good news is that you can add your comments as well, and counteract the negative ones! The more of our Priests for Life family participate in this conversation, the more the readers will see the strength of our movement.  Read my latest column, Let the ‘God Talk” Flourish.


Fr. Frank Pavone

Baby Joseph: A Life Worth Living

I learned with sadness tonight of the passing of Baby Joseph Maraachli, the boy from Canada who, earlier this year, made international headlines as his family fought to give him the basic care he needed in order to breathe. I extend my condolences and prayers to his family.

This young boy and his parents fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable.

From my first conversation with Baby Joseph's parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.

And they fulfilled that calling. After encountering, to their astonishment, the unwillingness of the Canadian medical and legal establishment to give their son a simple tracheotomy, they turned to Priests for Life, and we arranged for the child to receive that treatment at Cardinal Glennon Childrens’ Medical Center in Saint Louis. I’ll never forget the night I flew in the medical jet to pick up the baby and his dad. (Mom and their older child joined us shortly thereafter.) It was the middle of the night. It was cold. And yet new hope and joy were born on that Kalitta MedFlight. Joseph’s Dad Moe was literally pinching himself, saying he could hardly believe that his son was now free from the prison of a hospital where he had been, and able to receive a new evaluation and care.

And what a joy it was, after those weeks in Saint Louis, to celebrate Holy Thursday and, on that day, to see Joseph go home with his parents, breathing on his own without tubes or machines. Nobody denied that he had a serious, degenerative neurological condition, and nobody was unwilling to accept professional medical judgment. What we refused to accept, however, was the arrogance of medical and legal professionals who presumed to judge the value of his life, and to say he wasn’t worth treating. Yes, there is such a thing as a worthless treatment, but there is never such a thing as a worthless life.

That’s the line that needs to be drawn in the sand again and again. That’s the prophetic witness that needs to thunder from our pulpits and be lobbied in the halls of government.

I praise God tonight for the tens of thousands who stood with Priests for Life and other prolife groups to save Baby Joseph. We remain convinced that the value of life is not measured in months or years, but rather reflected in the love we share moment by moment. We all loved Joseph, because God entrusts us to the care of each other. In that conviction we will continue to counteract the culture of death and restore protection and equality to all, born and unborn.


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Priests for Life
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