Director on the Road

Joe with Tom Monaghan

Joe with Thomas Monaghan (right) at the Legatus summit, Feb 2

I get spoiled traveling around the country meeting and working with pro-lifers. They’re the cream of the crop in our country today–the Church Militant. They give me the strength to confront the kind of devils who haunted our Campus Face the Truth Tour this spring.

The Peace of Christ

On February 2, I flew to Miami Beach, FL to receive the Cardinal John O’Connor Award during a summit held by Legatus, an association of Catholic CEOs and business leaders with sixty chapters and 3800 members throughout the United States. The theme for the summit was “My Peace I Give to You.” In his opening remarks Legatus founder Thomas Monaghan said that at this difficult time of strife within the Church, the only true peace comes from being united with Christ. In my remarks accepting the award I said that it is a great honor to be a legatus, an emissary for Christ.

The event included a showing of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and a talk by actor Jim Caviezel, Mass with a homily by Bishop Thomas Wenski, and talks by Fr. Robert Spitzer, Matt Daniels, Steve Ray and others. During the elegant dinner I had the honor of sitting with Tom Monaghan, Fr. Joe Fessio, Cardinal Christopher Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who had just come from a meeting with the Holy Father, and Jack and Barbara Willke.

On February 19 I spoke to the entire student body of St. Cecelia High School in Hastings, NE, after noon Mass and the Stations of the Cross. I was introduced by principle Marie Butler and spoke to students from sixth grade through twelfth grade. In the evening I spoke on activism at the Central Nebraska United for Life “Sanctity of Life” Banquet. Other speakers were Heather Hruby on the Rachel’s Vinyard post-abortion program and Brian Young on “Understanding Creation,” The trip was organized by Cynthia Lubbers.

Tireless Jack Ames

I always say, you can’t say “no” to Jack Ames of Defend Life. He packed enough activities into my trip to Baltimore March 18-20 to kill your average grizzly bear. Jack really gets the most out of his speakers, and I love it–when it’s over.

On the 18th I spoke at a celebration at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bethesda over the closing of an abortion mill. On the 19th Jack picked me up early in the morning to speak to 460 students at Mount de Sales High School, followed by a talk at the University of Maryland, where years ago pro-abortion students protested my talk by turning their chairs to face the back of the room. I had vowed never to return, but you can’t say “no” to Jack Ames.

Next I did some radio spots for Steve Peroutka’s radio show, Face the Truth, and met with Mike Peroutka, who is running for President as the Constitution Party candidate with a no exceptions pro-life platform. In the evening I gave a talk at St. Joseph Church in Cockysville after Mass and the Stations of the Cross, celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph.

On the 20th we picketted the home of abortionist Earl McCleod with the Face the Truth signs before my return flight to Chicago.

I flew to Dayton, OH April 13 for a Champaign County Right to Life dessert banquet at West Liberty Salem High School in Urbana, at the invitation of David George. Curiously, there is also an Urbana in Champaign County, IL, the home of the University of Illinois, where my son Eric went to college. After the banquet I spent the night at St. Mary’s Rectory in Urbana.

On April 22 I took an Amtrak train to Jackson, MI to speak to Jackson Citizens for Life at the invitation of Maria Miceli-Dotterweich, and did a television show on J-TV, channel 17, with Bart Hawley.

Joe in St. Louis

Joe addresses the student body of Gateway Academy in St. Louis, April 25

St. Louis, Home of Pro-Life Activism

I spoke at Gateway Academy in Chesterfield, MO on April 25 to an audience of 200 students, parents and other adults, at the invitation of Gateway teacher Camille Murphy and Elizabeth Daub of Walk for Life. In my talk I mentioned what a hotbed of activism St. Louis was in the early days of the movement, and how we in Chicago had learned a great deal from St. Louis activists like John Ryan, Sam Lee and Ann O’Brien. Now we’re returning the favor, helping Camille and Elizabeth plan their first Missouri Face the Truth Tour.

On April 27, I spoke at another Legatus event, this time in Peoria, IL, where a new chapter is forming. The talk at St. Vincent de Paul Church was arranged by Tom McDonald.

Steubenville Pro-Life Conference

The first weekend of June I gave a talk and a workshop at Rebuilding a Culture of Life, the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s first conference to focus solely on pro-life. I spoke to the entire assembly of 300 at Christ the King Church on the topic, “Run to Win: Persevering in Pro-Life Because God Wills It.” My workshop was on battling the courts, and I discussed the NOW v. Scheidler case as well as the insightful book Law without Values by Albert W. Alschuler. Other workshop speakers included Fr. Frank Pavone and Greg Cunningham.

Sunday Mass the next morning was concelebrated by Fr. Frank Pavone, Franciscan president Fr. Michael Scanlon and other priests of the campus. It was during the Prayers of the Faithful that I first learned that Ronald Reagan had died.

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