His Eminence Cardinal Renato Martino, a top Vatican Cardinal who is president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and who once served as the Holy See’s top diplomat to the United Nations, visited Priests for Life’s New York City office today as the ministry prepares to relocate to Titusville, Florida.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director, noted that Cardinal Martino dedicated the Staten Island building for Priests for Life in 2000, when the organization began to expand its outreach and staff.
“Cardinal Martino has been a resource for and a supporter of Priests for Life for decades,” he said. “His friendship means so much to us. He is a true champion for life and his guidance has been so valuable to us. I look forward to him visiting us in Florida.”
The cardinal traveled from Rome to attend the 26th annual dinner of his Path to Peace Foundation in Manhattan Wednesday night. Father Pavone and Bob Lalonde, International Director for Priests for Life, also attended the dinner, which raises funds for the foundation Cardinal Martino established to help the Holy See Mission respond to humanitarian needs.
Addressing members of the Pastoral Team, office staff and off-location associates in Tennessee, Florida, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Rome, Cardinal Martino said, “Father Pavone knows that in Rome, in the Curia, he has a best friend. I know what he’s doing and I can testify he is doing the best for life. I am so happy to be here with all of you. I can see with my eyes and touch with my hands what you really do. God bless you.”
A native of Salerno, Italy, Cardinal Martino was ordained to the priesthood in 1957 and elevated to cardinal in 2003. He served as a Vatican diplomat to Thailand, Singapore, Laos and Malaysia before being named permanent observer to the U.N. in 1986. He was named president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2005 and president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People the following year. He retired from both posts in 2009.
In September, Priests for Life will move to Florida, where it will continue its outreach to clergy and seminarians, to women and men who have lost children to abortion, to the black and Latino communities and to pro-life laity. It will to continue to staff offices in Rome and Washington, D.C. and send Father Pavone; Executive Director Janet Morana; Associate Director Father Denis Wilde, OSA; Alveda King and other members of the Pastoral Team to lead pro-life events across the country and overseas.