Category Archives: Pro-life

The Vanishing American Adult and the Religious Life

Senator Ben Sasse has written a new book called The Vanishing American Adult. I highly recommend it, especially for those of us concerned about the future of religious life in America. The book is a diagnosis and prognosis of the current situation of the youth in America. He doesn’t lay blame on American kids but mainly their parents for protecting them from challenges that will help them become adults.  Adulthood is not just a biological stage but something to be earned. In the past, it  was what we all needed to learn, whether or not we liked it. This is not the case anymore. Our culture endorses prolonged adolescence, upholding baby 40-year-olds.

Adults are responsible and virtuous as good citizens and members of the Church.  They make tough decisions and take responsibility for their decisions. They are not passive but active. Senator Sasse’s book is important for those of us concerned with Religious Life because becoming a religious takes the virtues of an adult, putting away childish things. With the vanishing of the American adult, the Republic will not only suffer but also the Church, especially religious life.

Pray for parents. It is difficult to raise children in today’s culture of the vanishing adult. Unlike any time in history, the culture is raising kids more than the parents, undermining parental authority. Parents should be supported and encouraged to actively raise their children into the virtues. Senator Sasse gives some helpful advice on what he and his wife are doing for their children. Read his book and take his advice.

Buy the book here. 

IRL Affiliates and the 2016 March for Life

Cantius MarchJanuary 22nd marked the forty-third anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. To commemorate the anniversary, pro-lifers from around the country faced great obstacles such as the weather to fill the streets of Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as a witness to the dignity of all human life.

Over 5,000 people braved frigid temperatures and packed the streets of downtown Chicago on January 17th. Before marching, however, the event began with Masses for Life.  Several Masses for Life around the Chicago area were sponsored by religious orders and were influenced by their spiritualties such as the Franciscan Litany recited at St. Peter’s in the Loop. During the events, over 2,000 of the IRL’s Merciful Like the Father holy cards were distributed by Fr. Jim Heyd and his team.

Winter Storm Jonas wreaked havoc on the east coast during the weekend of the March for Life in Washington D.C. The weather forced many to stay home and participate in local pro-life events, however, many still converged on our nation’s capital to defend life. One group of 165 were led by Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC  of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. After attending the March, they unfortunately shared the fate of many and were stranded in Pennsylvania. They made the best of their situation, however,  and were able to celebrate Mass in the hotel’s bar. They were even joined at Mass by sisters from another IRL affiliate, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

walk-for-life16-17Pouring rain could not stop tens of thousands of people from attending the 12th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco. Among those in attendance were students from Thomas Aquinas College. The group led the Walk for Life last year and brought the largest group ever from the school this year with 220 students. The Sisters of Life also attended the Walk for Life and appropriately performed the corporal work of mercy of clothing the naked in this Year of Mercy by  giving their cloaks to protesting women so that they would not become ill before being arrested.

These and other tremendous stories emerged from the events surrounding the forty-third anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Pro-lifers will not soon forget them as they witnessed to the dignity of all human life.

Franciscans of Life and Project: Joseph

fl logo“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)

This phrase from scripture inspires the daily life of a new Franciscan community called the Franciscans of Life. Founded in 2009 by Br. Jay Rivera, their mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Life through service to the voiceless, in particular the preborn child and his family, the terminally ill and the elderly, the immigrant poor who feels hopeless, and the person living with disabilities.

They are trying to replicate the brotherhood that grew up around Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century, where there were friars, nuns, married men and women, diocesan priests, widows and single people who followed the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance written by Saint Francis.  Today, their fraternity is comprised of men only.  There are “regular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels in private vows and “secular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels as single or married men.

One of their most unique apostolates is Project: Joseph which provides education, counseling and assistance to fathers in crisis pregnancies. This may sound foreign to ears used to hearing about women and crisis fl3pregnancies. But like the unborn child who has no voice, the father is often left out of the equation when mothers are contemplating “choice.” Their fatherhood, established at conception, is undermined in so many ways.

Project: Joseph began when Brother Jay was praying at an abortion clinic. As he saw the fathers drop off mothers-to-be, he thought: “This is very much like Planned Parenthood and other ‘pro-choice’ organizations.  Pregnancy is a woman’s issue.” Through a dream and another miraculous occurrence, he entrusted the work to Saint Joseph. Today, they serve about 20 expectant fathers per week in the Archdiocese of Miami.

If you would like to know more about this beautiful fraternity, please visit their website.

The Colorado Holy Week Miracle

co lifeIt is easy to get discouraged these days for a whole host of reasons but on this day, Holy Saturday, let us rejoice! The Lord’s Resurrection is at hand!

Earlier this week the news was not good. One of the headlines that was particularly depressing was the fight in Colorado over an abortion bill that would have effectively killed pro-life activities for a good long time.

Colorado Family Action said the legislation could have eliminated a broad range of laws including: parental notification laws, laws promoting maternal health, government programs and facilities that pay for or promote childbirth and other health care without subsidizing abortion, conscience protections laws, laws requiring that abortion only be performed by a licensed physician, laws regulating school health clinics, laws concerning abstinence education, laws affecting pregnancy centers, etc.

But the faithful rallied around their archbishop, Most Rev. Samuel Aquila of Denver, an IRL Episcopal Advisor. He and Greek Orthodox Father Ambrose Omayas and almost 1000 supporters stood on the steps of the Capitol at 3:00 pm on April 15th and prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. On April 12th, the archbishop had issued a letter explaining the dire consequences of the law and what we as Catholics should do about it.

I am prayerfully asking every person of good will to spend 10 minutes this weekend in prayer. Plead to Our Lord for His intercession on behalf of life in Colorado. Also, pray for our politicians on both sides of this issue, particularly for those who work tirelessly and often without recognition to promote life-affirming legislation in our State Capitol. Pray for the conversion of the heart and mind of those who support such irrational, unscientific, and a denial of conscience legislation. (Read the entire letter here.)

“Many of you have lost faith in politics,” he said, “but remember that attitude is not of God and is of the evil one. The devil confuses people and discourages them.” He quoted Pope Francis who said, “The devil is here…even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

And on April 16th, the bill died.

“Some of the senators have said they have shut off their phones, some of them said they have never been contacted by so many,” the archbishop said during the gathering. “And you can make a difference. Too many times we have taken a backseat, and Catholics, Christians, and people of good will can no longer take a back seat.”

Jenny Kraska of the Colorado Catholic Conference praised everyone who helped, saying, “I cannot thank you all enough for what you did to make this possible—this is truly a miracle.”

March For Life

When you personally know the names of many people who went on the March for Life one can conclude that there were a ton of people there! Estimates are up to 500,000 people! Our parish sent a bus, Benedictine University in Kansas sent 7 busloads of people, the ENTIRE STUDENT BODY of Christendom College went. “Whether it’s your first time to the March or your tenth, it never gets old,” said sophomore Emily Bot of Minnesota, who has attended the March many times. “Being surrounded by thousands of other pro-lifers is an amazing feeling—knowing that we are not alone in the fight—it’s a great experience!” Many commented on the young age of the crowd. It is an encouraging sign for the future.

Shining A Light in the Darkness

The pro-life movement will have one less person on the front lines when Kathleen Gilbert, LifeSiteNews Bureau Chief, enters the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Buffalo, New York, on October 14th. Kathleen joined LifeSiteNews just before President Obama was elected to office and she hopes “God willing, I’m going out with him too.”

Kathleen is devoted to giving the unborn a voice in the world. She says, “There are many businesses in our world that exploit others. The business of killing has the advantage that the victims always keep quiet. That’s why the holocaust happened, why the unborn in America suffer another 9/11 every single day, and why Planned Parenthood’s business is booming: the dead don’t speak.” She tried to shine a light where others wanted it dark. And she hopes to keep the mission to protect life going, albeit, she will be doing it in a different way.

The monastery she is entering has an amazing history. In 1914, as as Mother Elias and a companion faced a firing squad in Mexico, Mother prayed: “Little Therese, if you are a saint, as some people say you are, then deliver us, and I promise to found a Monastery in your honor.” The shots rang out, the nuns sank to the ground and when they regained consciousness, their clothes were bloodied but they were unhurt. In 1925, on the day of the canonization of St. Therese, the Little Flower, the Carmelite chapel in Buffalo, NY, was dedicated, the first in the world to have the Little Flower as its titular Saint.

As the nuns state, “Our Rule and Constitutions represent the authentic charism of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Avila, who desired that her daughters apply themselves zealously to prayer and manual labor for the benefit of the Church and especially for priests. We humbly and gratefully wear the full Habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, observe strict Papal enclosure in order to safeguard the sacredness of the cloister, and cherish many traditional monastic customs such as the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant.”

May God bless Kathleen and all the Carmelites of Buffalo.



From Ocean to Ocean

Right now, Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims are traveling across Russia with a replica of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa on a pilgrimage called “From Ocean to Ocean International Campaign in Defense of Life.” If all goes as planned, the icon will travel across 8 time zones (11,000 miles and 24 countries) ending in Fatima, Portugal, and hopefully from there to America in the Spring of 2013 (boy, do we need her intervention!). The purpose of the pilgrimage in Russia is to invoke the intercession of Our Lady, Ark of the New Covenant, asking her to end the scourge of abortion which has been legal in Russia since 1920 and to restore a culture of life. They have the dubious honor of being the first country in the world to legalize abortion.

Fr. Peter West, of Human Life International, has a very interesting article on Zenit, documenting how Our Lady has helped the Church throughout the ages. Just as the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle, so we too should carry the Mother of God into battle to fight against the culture of death.The Ark contained the tablets of the law while Mary’s womb contained the Son of God, in Whom the prophets and the law found their fulfillment.

As the icon made its way up a river, one observer noted: “It is hard to describe the reactions of people in boats and ships passing by.  They waved to us  and in various ways showed their admiration and support.”

Go to the From Ocean to Ocean International Campaign in Defense of Life website to follow the progress in countries such as the Ukraine, Latvia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ireland, etc. Let us pray that the Mother of God will touch all hearts who see her image.


Marching Orders

Go to the Sisters of Life website.
Sisters of Life at the annual March for Life, Washington, D.C.

Next week marks the 38th anniversary of the notorious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional “right” to abortion. Christians throughout the land are busily preparing for various pro-life events to mark the occasion. Of course the “granddaddy” of these events is the annual March for Life in Washington, DC.

Proclaiming the “Gospel of Life” in word and action is an integral part of being Catholic. Not surprisingly, then, consecrated men and women have been at the forefront of the pro-life movement. This includes everything from persevering prayer in the cloister to eduational ministries to prayerful witness at abortion clinics to helping women in challenging pregnancies. And so much more.

A shining example of this pro-life focus is the Sisters of Life. They were just founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor of New York as a contemplative/active community of women religious. As their name suggests, pro-life activity is an essential part of their charism. They even take a special fourth vow to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.”

For the Sisters of Life’s schedule for this coming week, click here.

In addition, the Catholic Key Blog of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph posted today a timely pro-life article by Bishop Robert W. Finn, who also currently serves as IRL president. It’s entitled “March for Life: Culmination of Many Efforts to Support and Protect Human Life.” Read it here.