Few people realize all the work it takes to put together a successful Face the Truth Tour. Besides picking sites, somebody has to go out and carefully check the sites, check traffic, look for parking places and find out what newspapers cover that particular area. It is important to know what construction is going on or will be going on at the time of the Truth Tour. You look for restaurants, a place for priests attending the Truth Tour to say Mass. You have a lot of things to do besides carrying signs.
In early April, Ann and I drove through a rainstorm to check out the towns of Dixon, Ashton and Rochelle, while Monica Miller and Tim Murphy and other were checking out other locations. While in Dixon, Ann and I took advantage of the fact that this was the home town of President Ronald Reagan and we visited the Reagan home. In all, twenty-seven sites had to be carefully studied before the program could be finalized.
On April 18, I attended a meeting of pro-life leaders in Washington DC and met with a group of pro-life activists including Jack Ames, to discuss plans for the Maryland Face the Truth Tour to take place in August.
League Staff Celebrates Cert
On April 20, I marked my fourth year as a convicted federal racketeer because of my successful non-violent pro-life activities. And on April 22 we celebrated at our office with a Te Deum in our St. Joseph chapel when we got the news that the United States Supreme Court had granted certiorari. On the day they chose our case for review, three hundred eighty cases before them were thrown out.
As a result of the granting of certiorari our office did several interviews, including WYLL radio, the Associated Press, WBBM radio in Chicago, WGN-TV (Channel 9) in Chicago, and an interview with Peggy Moen of the Wanderer. We also did interviews with the National Catholic Register, National Public Radio and also with Chicago’s WLS (Channel 7) television, as well as a program with Drew Marianni and WBEZ Radio. We also received calls from all across the country congratulating us on having received the review from the U. S. Supreme Court.
We attributed the granting of Cert to the enormous volume of prayers offered over the years and also to our attorneys, who worked hard on the case, writing briefs and getting amicus briefs to the Supreme Court.
Scheidler Addresses African-American Pro-Lifers
On April 27, I spoke to 200 people at the Pro-Life/Pro-Family Coalition banquet at Monument of Faith Church in Chicago. Workshops included a talk by Deborah Rowe of WYLL Radio, a talk by a reformed homosexual on how homosexuality is a choice and not a genetic disorder. Rev. Hiram Crawford, Jr chaired the event.
Celebrating with San Diego pro-lifers
The first weekend in May was spent in San Diego County, CA, where I joined a group of pro-life activists to celebrate the closing of two abortion mills in the area and to speak at the West Hills Christian Fellowship Church, together with such pro-life greats as Troy Newman from Wichita, Ken Reed from Sacramento, Rev. Al Howard form Los Angeles, Colette Wilson, attorney, Kaylin Johnson of Focus on the Family and a woman who has assisted in closing fifteen abortion mills in San Diego County, Cheryl Sullenger. Many memories of other visits to San Diego and California were renewed when we watched an extensive video on the closing of the fifteen abortion clinics, some of which had been opened shortly after Roe v. Wade.
Former Abortionist Mourned
We were all saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Joseph Randall, a former abortionist who had converted to Christianity and had become an apostle of life. Dr. Randall was returning with friends from a Tres Dies retreat, when the car he was riding in went off of a bridge into the Hartwell River at the South Carolina-Georgia border. Dr. Randall had come to Chicago to testify at the first Meet the Abortion Providers Conference in 1987 in which he admitted to having taken part in 35, 000 abortions. He later told friends that when he died he would spend his first days in heaven hugging the children had aborted. We held a special prayer service for Dr. Randall in our St. Joseph Chapel.
Catholic Citizens welcome Scheidler
On May 10, I spoke to the Catholic Citizens of Illinois at the Chicago Athletic club on pro-life activism at the invitation of club president, Mary Anne Hackett. On May 16, Ann and I flew to Baltimore where we stayed with attorney Steve Peroutka and I gave a banquet talk to the Gabriel Project in Bowie, MD and on the following day addressed 200 people at the Severna Park Knights of Columbus hall. While in Baltimore Ann and I visited Ft. McHenry and the home of Babe Ruth. We also prayed at the abortion mill in Baltimore.
On Saturday, June 9, I spoke to alumni and South Bend pro-lifers at DeBartolo Hall on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Following the talk Ann and I attended Mass at Sacred Heart Basilica on campus, and enjoyed a banquet at which Regis Philbin, a Notre Dame alumnus was honored with the Fr. Edward Sorin Award. Pro-life activist Jim Finnegan (ND57) helped to coordinate the reunion talk. The Mass in Sacred heart Basilica was celebrated by Fr. Edward Joyce, a strong supporter of the Pro-Life Action League. Fr. Ted Hesburgh gave the homily. As a former Noter Dame Glee Club member, I was invited to sing in the choir.
At the invitation of Sr. Jeanne Fielding, B.V.M., Ann and I drove to Dubuque, IA to speak to a gathering of retired sisters at the Mt. Carmel Complex in the Caritas Center. While in Dubuque we drove to the Trappist Monastery of New Mellary to attend vespers. It was in a barn at this abbey that we found the choir stalls now in our St. Joseph Chapel.
Rockford Seeks Counsel of League
On Friday, June 14, Julie McCreevy, Ana Torres, Ann and I drove to Rockford, IL to join a gathering of eighty pro-lifers in front of the abortion clinic at 10th and Broadway, operated by abortionist Richard Ragsdale. We formed two prayer groups, using the Helpers of God’s Precious infants prayer books and counseled women going in to the abortion mill. We know of at least two saves that day. Following the activities at the abortion clinic, I gave a talk at St. Edward’s Catholic Church and showed “No Greater Joy,” our video on sidewalk counseling, and “Face theTruth.”
Among old friends attending the events were Mary Jane Stephan, Sr. Rosalia Bauer, Carolyn Matson, Bob Whalen, Mary Matuska, Bob and Dorothy Bradley, David Bernardi, Karen McConnaughay and Fr. Jerome Koutnik. Also attending were Eric Nelson, Jim Bernardi, Marie Gestrich and Marjorie Alpiser. We all gathered for lunch at Palermo’s.
In the evening Ann and I spoke at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Chicago to fifty young adults at the invitation of John O’Neill.
The last two weeks of June were occupied by the Face the Truth Tour which is covered in another section of this paper.
Director Heads South
On July 10, I traveled to Birmingham, AL to appear on EWTN, Mother Angelica’s program with Fr. Frank Pavone to discuss defense of life. Following a taping of this show, we visited Mother Angelica’s EWTN Temple, attended Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church and addressed a banquet there later in the evening, along with Fr. Frank Pavone and Rev. Jim Pinto of Christ Charismatic Episcopal Church. The hosts were Gina and Daniel Barron. Two hundred guests attended the buffet dinner and talk. Many expressed an interest in the Face the Truth tour.
From Birmingham, I traveled to New Orleans where I joined Judie Brown’s American Life League World Family Conference 2002. I spoke Saturday morning on pro-life street activities and on Sunday morning I spoke on pro-life activism. I also addressed the Youth for Life conference. While in New Orleans I attended a special mass and joined in a tribute to Arch. Phillip Hannan at a banquet Saturday evening.
I ended July with a meeting in Washington DC and a talk at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Indianapolis, IN at the invitation of Alex and Nicole Scheidler, youth ministers at a Theology on Tap session. The topic: Why bother with the Church?
Upcoming talks include an address on a Lake Michigan cruise, as a guest of Paul Caprio and Family PAC, an appearance at the Maryland Face the Truth Tour with Jack Ames, a trip to Tom’s River New Jersey, for a memorial to the unborn, another talk in South Bend and a trip to Belfast, Ireland, where Ann and I will explain the need for effective pro-life activist tactics even in a country where abortion has remained illegal. Even though it is a protectorate of Great Britain where abortion is legal. The trip to Northern Ireland is sponsored by Precious life, under the leadership of Bernadette Smyth.