ROME -- In a five-day trip to Rome at the end of November, Fr. Frank Pavone met with Pope John Paul II and numerous Vatican of officials to discuss ways to further the growth of Priests for Life, the national organization which he heads.
Fr. Pavone, traveling with his chief of staff, Anthony DeStefano, concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father and later had a private audience with him. The Holy Father praised the work of Priests for Life, saying, "God bless you and your apostolate for life.''
Fr. Pavone presented the Pope with two small gifts: an audiotape album entitled, Renewed by the Gospel of Life—A Weekend Pro-Life Retreat, and a special photograph recently produced by Priests for Life featuring a Catholic priest surrounded by a large group of babies. The photo represents all the babies the Church has saved from abortion in the United States. The Pope was visibly moved by the photo, which he blessed.
During the trip, Fr. Pavone also spoke with officials from the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"The response I received from these Vatican departments was overwhelming," said Fr. Pavone. "It is amazing how closely they are following the work of Priests for Life and how pleased they are with our success."
Particularly significant was the meeting with Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
''We had preliminary discussions regarding ways to internationalize Priests for Life," said Fr. Pavone. "Understand what that means—the Pontifical Council for the Family, which directs policy on the life issues for the entire Roman Catholic Church, is so happy with the progress we have made here in America that it wishes to see Priests for Life expanded to every country in the world!"