See photos of the event.
PHILADELPHIA -- Some 1,500 people packed the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center last week for a Pro-Life International Symposium at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a key organizer and speaker at the event, applauded the standing-room-only crowd for its commitment to the unborn and for attending the symposium at the end of a day jam-packed with other World Meeting events.
“The reason we know we will succeed in abolishing abortion is because of the commitment of people like you who always make time for life,” he told the crowd.
He also thanked Steve Bozza, Director of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, for the strong support of the Archdiocese not only for this Symposium event but for the multifaceted ministry of Priests for Life.
Speakers at the event also included Mexican actress Karyme Lozano; Hispanics for Life President
Astrid Bennett Gutierrez; Kathy DiFiore, founder of the Several Sources Shelters; Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, and Rachel’s Vineyard co-founder Kevin Burke. Father Terry Gensemer of the Charismatic Episcopal Church opened the symposium in prayer, and Catholic journalist, author and radio host Teresa Tomeo was the mistress of ceremonies.
A highlight of the evening came when Ms. DiFiore introduced three moms who found help at her shelter, and the three babies born as a result of that loving outreach.
In his remarks, Father Pavone noted that “There can be no life without family and there can be no family without life."
The connection between the theme of family and the theme of protecting life is inseparable, he said. The family is "the sanctuary of life," and, in fact, Pope St. John Paul II indicated in "The Gospel of Life" that the fact that abortion is committed by one family member upon another is one of the things that makes it particularly serious.
“The theme of this World Meeting of Families was ‘Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.’ The symposium emphasized that the family can be fully alive only if all its members are protected, including the children in the womb.
"Moreover, the family can be fully alive only if it is healed from the wounds of abortion, which impacts not only the child, mom, and dad, but every other family member as well. That is why our Symposium had such a strong focus on healing after abortion, highlighting the ministries of Rachel's Vineyard and Silent No More, as well as the initiative Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion."
More details about the Symposium, its message, and its follow-up will be posted in coming days at the event website, www.ProLifeWorldEvent.com.