Not wanting to make the drive to Kalamazoo, MI, alone on a dark October 30, I invited my prayer companion at the Albany Medical Surgical Center, Walter Krawiec, to accompany me. Walter and I have become good friends while praying together on Thursdays in front of the abortion mill. We both attended Notre Dame, are veterans of World War II, dabble in art (he’s a professional), and like the outdoors. We had a spirited drive and arrived in Kalamazoo in plenty of time for my talk on “Abortion: Past, Present and Future,” to St. Monica’s Parish Pro-Life Committee.
I recognized many of the eighty pro-lifers in attendance from earlier years when I worked with local pro-life groups to get Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company to quit manufacturing prostaglandins for abortion. The lively group asked many questions about pro-life strategy, victory prospects, and NOW vs. Scheidler. Following the talk I did some newspaper interviews. Walter and I returned to Chicago in time for Halloween festivities.
It is always good to get back to the classroom. Having taught both college and high school, I enjoy teaching as much as I enjoy giving a banquet address. On October 4, I addressed the entire student body of Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN, at the request of Professor Richard Becker. I spoke on the growing pro-life movement and how we are trying to recruit more young people to replace the old guard who will not be around forever.
After the talk and many questions from the students, I attended a protest and counseling session at South Bend’s infamous Women’s Pavilion where George Klopfer carries on his grisly trade. There were about forty of us at the clinic where I gave an impromptu pep talk and met Professor Becker’s wife and seven children who join him at the clinic frequently. In the evening I addressed students attending a Vespers Service on campus, and then headed back to Chicago.
Joe addresses students at U of C [Photo by Peter Shinn]
Andy Terrel, president of the student pro-life organization at the University of Chicago invited me to address the students on what it means to be pro-life. Ann joined me for this presentation and talked about the impact of Roe v. Wade, while I gave the historical background for opposition to abortion and the rationale for pro-life activism. The audience was mixed, with about a third pro-abortion. Some of the students questioned our use of religion as a motivation for our pro-life work, but the tone was respectful and Ann cautioned them to remember that a university is a place to seek the truth. If that truth should happen to come from religion it should not be rejected out of hand.
Peter Shinn, a pro-life activist from Virginia, attended the U of C talk with us and boadcast it live via the Internet, doubling our audience. Peter is working on National Pro-Life Radio and seeking new ways to spread the pro-life message and keep pro-lifers updated on one another’s efforts.
I’ve often thought of becoming a permanent deacon so that I could preach in churches all over the country. I felt that I had got my wish recently when I was invited to speak at three Catholic Churches in the Chicago Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 8, I addressed the Holy Name Society of St. Mary Star of the Sea at 64th and Kilbourn in Duggan Hall, at the request of Nick Stisel. My old pro-life activist friend from Notre Dame/St. Mary College days, Rosemary Stokes, showed up.
Then on Sunday, November 4, following the 5:00 Mass at St. Lambert’s in Skokie, I talked on pro-life successes at the invitation of Dr. Edward Brunner. My good friend Fr. Rich Simon introduced me, and I ran into a lot of friends including George and Dorothy Hyland, volunteers at the League for many years. The following day, I addressed the Third Order of St. Francis meeting at St. Peter’s in the Loop following the 12:30 Mass. We were in the St. Clare Room. This is an annual event, so I have to come up with a brand new talk each time. This series was begun many years ago by Elizabeth Lewis, the League bookkeeper for many years, whose memory prompts me to go back every year and bring the Tertiaries up to date.