Director on the Road

Joe with the Pat and Bai Buchanan

Joe with Pat and Bai Buchanan in Washington for the American Cause conference, Oc.t 4

Based on my recent travels, I can happily report that the pro-life movement is entering the new year with renewed vigor. Last October was one of my busiest months in years, and on through January the pro-life activists I’ve spent time with have been full of hope.

Whirlwind October

My busy October started with Pat and Bai Buchanan’s American Cause Conference in Washington, D.C. on the 4th. Among the many saints of our time speaking at the conference was the Alabama “Ten Commandments Judge,” Roy Moore. I sat on a panel on the topic “Where Do We Go from Here?” and gave the last talk of the day on “How Do We Save Babies?”

I quoted G.K. Chesterton’s remark that we rejoice not because we are in the right place, but because we are in the wrong place and must make it right, following Jesus’ prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” While in D.C., I recorded several interviews for Steve Peroutka’s Face the Truth radio program.

Joe speaks in Marinette

Joe speaking at the Bay Area Pregnancy Services Banquet in Marinette, MI Oct. 10

The next weekend I was in Marinette, MI for the first annual Bay Area Pregnancy Services Respect Life Banquet on Oct. 10, at the invitation of veteran activist Laura Ebert (formerly Canning) and her husband Mike. My talk on activism was featured in an article in The Compass, the Diocese of Green Bay newspaper.

The next day I flew to Buffalo, NY to speak at the Lawyers for Life benefit organized by Lawrence D. Behr and and Robert and Bonnie Behn. Then I was back in Chicago Sunday, Oct. 12 to speak at Fr. Robert Aguirre’s well-attended Vigil for Life at Santa Maria del Popolo Church in Mundelein.

After a couple of days in Ann Arbor, MI, I was in Steubenville, OH on Oct. 24 to moderate a panel on Pro-Life Questions during the eleventh annual Society of Catholic Social Scientists National Meeting, with talks by Keith Cassidy and Christopher Beiting. And the next day I spoke on activism and the NOW v. Scheidler case at Orange County Right to Life in New York as the guest of Christine Tighe.

Back to Michigan

October concluded with a trip to Ann Arbor, at the invitation of Tom Fagan. On Monday the 27th, I spoke to an audience of 150 people at Spiritus Sanctus Catholic School, and then did the Al Kresta radio program with guest host Nick Thomm. On Tuesday the 28th, I spoke at the Breakfast at Domino’s event, followed by a radio interview with Catholic radio’s Teresa Tomeo. While in Ann Arbor I visited Mother Assumpta Long and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist at their convent.

Joe with Sr. Marie

Joe with former League staffer Sr. Marie (nee Katerina) Schnable in LaCrosse, WI Nov. 8

Back in Chicago, I spoke at St. Hedwig Church on Nov. 2 to an audience of forty Third Order Franciscans at the behest of League volunteer Elizabeth Lewis. Then I traveled up to LaCrosse, WI as the guest of Mary Turner to speak to the group Life Voice at the Diocesan Center on Nov. 8. There I ran into Sister Marie Schnable, formerly Katerina, who used to work for the League and is now a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George at Mater Redemptoris Convent.

The Passion of the Christ Preview

I was invited by Jennifer Giroux to attend a Nov. 13 private showing of Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. It is not an easy film to comment on. The viewer is drawn into the mystery of Christ’s suffering in a very graphic but also meditative way that leaves one stunned and silent.

The powerful message is that Christ willingly, even enthusiastically, paid the enormous price of torture, betrayal and humiliation to make our redemption possible. Mary’s clear understanding of His mission and her part in it is a critical part of the film, as is the presence of Satan in different guises.

The film opens on Ash Wednesday, February 25. Everyone should see it.

Picketing Planned Parenthood with Iowa Activists

I picketed and joined in a prayer vigil on Nov. 22 at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Des Moines, IA at the invitation of Linda Ill. In the evening I spoke to an audience of 100 for St. John’s Basilica Pro-Life Committee, and did a radio show from the church basement. I also made a delightful visit to Ila Daly’s store; Ila runs a fascinating religious goods store right out of her home.

After so many busy weeks during the Fall, I was thankful to have a quiet December. At the end of the Christmas Holidays, I was the guest of Donna Sikorski for a talk at the Sacred Heart Parish Center in Lombard, IL, Jan. 10.

Activism Alive in Arizona

My final trip before the March for Life was a visit to Arizona Jan. 16-18 that renewed my enthusiasm for the future of the pro-life movement. In Tucson on the 17th, I participated in a three mile march with a thousand pro-lifers which culminated in a moving memorial to the unborn at Holy Hope Cemetery. The memorial organized by Michael Mohr featured a procession of roses for each year of legal abortion, a flight of white homing pigeons and several talks.

On Sunday the 18th, I addressed an Arizona Right to Life outdoor rally at the invitation of John Jakubczyk, at which I met their new bishop, Thomas J. Olmsted. As he told the local paper, Bishop Olmsted frequently prays outside abortion clinics “because they are today’s Calvary.” That’s what I call a pro-life bishop.

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