Tuesday, October 21, 2008

28th of 40 Days for Life - Fr. Frank Pavone Comes to Town

As part of 40 Days for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priest for Life, visited Harrisburg, PA today to concelebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral and visit the local vigil site.

In his homily, Fr. Pavone spoke of vigilance. To paraphrase what he said:

We must watch out for one another - to actively live as Christ instructed us. We are called to be brothers and sisters in Christ looking out for each other. Part of that is intervening for the helpless.

We need to be vigilantly Christian in our awareness in the political forum, vigilant in our choice of public officials. Democracy rests on our being able to judge/discern what is right and what is wrong. Jesus charged us, His disciples, to go forth and change the world. We must respond.

Pope John Paul II, in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life,” noted that if the state permits abortion then it cannot be thought to be a democracy for it is a tyrannical state. The state becomes a tyrant when vetoes human rights, when it allows abortion.

We must vigilantly work for justice and equality for every human being.

We must be vigilant for the Lord is coming.

Deacon Charles Clark (Cathedral Pastoral Associate), Fr. Thomas J. Rozman (Cathedral Pastor) and Fr. Frank Pavone just before consecration.

After leaving St. Patrick's Cathedral, everyone came together in the crisp autumn winds that knocked down tree limbs and signs along Front Street.
The vigil group prayed the rosary while waiting for Fr. Pavone to arrive.
Once he arrived, Fr. Pavone spoke of the value of a Pro-Life presence outside of abortion centers such as Harrisburg's Hillcrest Clinic.

He told of people whose hearts were changed by the presence of Pro-Lifers outside of clinics.

He encouraged all in their witness to the Gospel of Life.
Father led a particularly pertinent prayer - a litany asking for God's mercy for the souls of women who died as a result of an abortion.

Once that prayer was done, a few of the people present spoke up to let Fr. Pavone know that they had recognized the name of one of the women's names in the litany - she was a local girl who had as the result of her procedure done at Hillcrest.
That prayer was very down-heartening in that it just seemed to go on and on. That so many women died from something that "choice" advocates rally to keep legal because they say it is the safe prudent answer to unplanned pregnancies rests in the pit of one's stomach like a lead balloon. Chilling is the fact that it was only a partial list of women known to have died because of a legal abortion.

Local doctor and Pro-Life advocate, also spoke to the group. After the heaviness of the litany, it was good to hear that abortion protesters had impacted a woman he knew. She had once aborted a child and worked in the industry, yet she has turned away from all of that and joined the Church this past Easter.

Before leaving for a prayer vigil at the York Planned Parenthood facility, Fr. Pavone gave us all his priestly blessing.

Groups participating in the Harrisburg

Additional Resources:
Post-abortion healing -www.rachelsvineyard.org/
Pregnancy help -www.birthright.org/

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