When we learned several months back that Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life would be flying to Fargo in October to keynote our local Teens for Life’s annual Cupcakes for Life event, we parent volunteers were thrilled.
Fr. Frank is as passionate about the pro-life movement as they come. I’ve heard him speak before, including a few years ago in D.C. during the March for Life, and again at a Catholic media conference in New Jersey two summers ago.
What I didn’t expect was to be invited for breakfast at our local Village Inn restaurant the morning of his visit; the invitation came just a few days prior. And today was the day. This morning, after dropping off the kids at school, a relatively small group of parents, along with the chaplain and superintendent of our local Catholic high school, gathered at this longtime haunt of locals to “break bread” together.
It was relaxing and enjoyable. Fr. Frank is a sweet man. Though he’s been vilified in some circles, having met him a couple times now, I see only fervent optimism, deep concern for women and babies and a beautiful love for the Lord of Life and our fellow brothers and sisters.
It was an honor to have him here, and an honor for me personally to be among the few who enjoyed eggs and bacon with him. He shared a little about his life on Staten Island (when he’s static, which isn’t often) and he wanted to know about all of us, too. We went around the circle, sharing whey we’re involved in this group and other ways we are advocates for life.
Toward the end of our short hour together — Fr. Frank had to hurry over to a school assembly right after breakfast, then on to other planned events of the day — he shared some encouraging insight with us.
“Before we all leave, there’s one thing I want you to know,” he said. We were all ears.
Fr. Frank expressed his optimism for the pro-life movement, how vibrant it is, how young it is, and he said something that I know is going to stick with all of us. He said one thing that can’t be taken away from the movement is the stories of the post-abortive women and the devastation they’ve experienced.
I can’t remember exactly how he said it, and I didn’t have my recorder with to freeze his words verbatim, but his sentiments were something along these lines: “Scars don’t lie.” The stories of women whose lives have been altered forever by abortion, from mothers who felt forced to take part in one of the most unnatural acts in existence, are not going to be quelled. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
He talked about how the healing is happening, and justice, too, not so much by what any of us might be doing (though he encouraged us and said we are points of light along the way), but because injustice necessarily corrects itself. By virtue of it not being of God, and of the way the world is meant to work, abortion is losing ground as an accepted action, and will continue to. Too many have been harmed, and unnatural, wrong acts correct themselves in time.
It was refreshing to hear this. Those of us who believe that death is never a good answer to any “problem” in society can feel disheartened at times by a culture that touts death as an acceptable answer. Death does happen, but it should always happen naturally, at God’s appointed time, not at our own choosing. This is my fervent belief, and it’s one of many reasons I am solidly pro-life.
Our breakfast with Fr. Frank was just the beginning of an amazing day. Right after that, I visited a local preschool and shared other passions of mine — that of words and stories and the awesome state of North Dakota. The kids were absolutely charming and so smart!
This afternoon, a group will gather at the local abortion facility and take part in a peaceful prayer event, then celebrate Mass with Fr. Frank at the nearby Adoration Chapel. Tonight, the Cupcakes for Life event will take place with Fr. Frank rousing the troops.
It’s a 60-degree, beautiful fall day, and everything feels especially blessed. It’s a good day to be alive and living for life
Q4U: Have you ever dined with a hero?