Urgent need to be Pro active for Pro Life

I made my way to Dublin on Saturday last, on the 45th anniversary of the ordination of 31 of my colleagues at the Cathedral of the Assump-tion in Carlow in 1968.  I was ordained to the priesthood the following day in my home Church of St Lachteen, Stuake, Donoughmore, Co Cork. We had spent 6 years studying at St Patrick’s College in Carlow and uppermost on my mind at this  time of reflection and nostalgia, were thoughts of   those happy years and on so much that has transpired since, particularly thoughts and prayers for the 11 that had passed on to their eternal reward, those who are ill and those who have left the ministry. As I made my way towards Merrion Square around 2.30pm,  there  was a growing  surge of people making their way to be part of the National Vigil for Life. On arrival, the main avenue of Merrion Square was packed to capacity and the over-flow  was stretching right around the square. I was fortunate on producing my  press accreditation, that I had the privilege of being right up at the front and was able to get access to the stage, where  I  took some 100 pictures,  all on Facebook  since Sunday morning. These hopefully, will prove invaluable, in raising more awareness on the need for many more people including my own colleagues,  to be more Pro Active  in campaigning to fight against  the impending legislation on abortion, the majority of our misguided politicians seem  to be intent on imposing on the Irish nation. On two occasions, the Irish people rejected abortion and it beggars belief that we are not given another opportunity to do so again and that politicians can take it upon themselves to legislate for the termination of life in certain circumstances. It is one of the treasured principles of our Catholic faith  that  the unborn child has a right to life  from the moment of conception. Again with-out wishing to labour the point too much, most of those politicians are baptised Catholics. Where have their consciences gone and why have they  become so selective in dealing with this issue appar-ently  to pander to the  wishes of  many of  their European counterparts. If ever there was  a time it’s now,  to stand up and be counted  as a nation, reputed to be “ The Island of Saints and Scholars” a nation that brought the faith back to much of Europe in the dark  middle ages and in more recent centuries all over the world,  many  in the face of persecution.

On Sunday I bought one of the main Sun-day newspapers and not even a line was written, not a picture shown of the events of Saturday and the presence of an estimated 40,000 people.  I did make a point of watching the 9 o’clock news on TV,  which was at 9.25pm on Saturday  and in fairness they gave it good coverage, while acknowledging the fact,  that the footage of the event was supplied by the organisers. I listened to the news headlines on the radio  at 10 and  11  and not  a mention. The main topics were 2 murders and a drowning, no mention of the fact  that on  the same day in Dublin there was an estimated 40,000 championing the cause of the right to life of the unborn.   I have many good friends in the media, particularly in sports, and I have  always had the utmost respect for them, and I cannot understand  that there are so many others, blatantly hostile to the Catholic Church and the way of  life that Jesus died for  to show us a better way.

I spent an amazing week in Medjugorje as chaplain to a group from Cork last month, led by Finbar O’Leary. Finbar has been going there for over 25 years. During the war he organised 7 truckloads of aid from Cork a number of times a year and he was instrumental in setting up an orphanage for the victims of the terrible war. One of our group, Paul, was the life and soul of our week there, a wonderful example of Christian living. Paul was born without arms,  he plays the keyboard  with his toes,   is a beautiful singer and composer and has made many CD’s with his friend Mike. He has suffered many personal setbacks, his fiancée was killed in a traffic accident 2 years  ago, weeks before they were due to marry. Recently his brother, his rock,  in own words,  who shared a room with him, lost his life to cancer.  Yet Paul is full of the joys of life, with the help and support of so many people, he appreciates more than most the importance of life. Perhaps if the impending legislation is passed and a condition like his, was diagnosed in the mother’s womb, there would be calls for the termination of   life. In Medjugorje I met a man from Kerry, all of 101 years young, and full of the joys of life. Seventy one years ago, his wife died in childbirth as well as the baby,  his plight did not make the headlines on TV or radio or the front pages of the newspapers. Of course it was a huge trauma in his life, but he coped with the loss in a truly Christian way and got on with life.


Huge hope

The recent National Vigil for Life in Dublin, gave great hope and what surprised me most, was the huge percentage of young people present. The contributions of the organisers  and the special guests on the day, while naturally passionate and balanced, were  united in one committed  cause


Summary of the day

Caroline Simons Pro Life spokeswoman stated, “The turnout today shows that the middle ground of Irish opinion is increasingly concerned about the Government’s abortion legislation. There are people here who never attended a pro-life event before. The message is getting through that this legislation is not restrictive or about saving women and children’s lives, despite the repeated claims by the Taoiseach and his Government,”

The Vigil also heard moving testimony from John McAreavey. “Other countries have made the mistake of legalising abortion and have unleashed a terrible sadness across their societies. Often it is a hidden sadness. Let’s not make that mistake in Ireland,” Mr McAreavey said in a recorded message. The father of Mr McAreavey’s late wife, Mickey Harte, was present in the crowd. The crowd heard from Adele Best of the organisation Women Hurt who described the pain and suffering that many women face as a result of abortion, but also the hope and healing that comes from helping others to choose a better path. Other speakers to address the event were Jennifer Kehoe, Maria Steen and Íde Nic Mathúna. There was also a message from Dr Martin Luther’s King’s grand niece.

For me with so many commitments in life I have arrived late on the scene  as a pro active  person, but  I have always admired  and supported the aims and objectives of the Pro Life movement  and the work of its many dedicated volunteers. Now I know I must play a greater role and encourage as many people as possible, to take up the cause, in the huge battle that lies ahead to protect the life of the unborn child. At local level we must write to and talk to our public representatives, particu-larly our  Dail and Senate representatives.  I believe that up to now, the silent majority, while supportive of Pro Life,   have remained virtually silent until now, must raise their voices at every opportunity and make every effort to plan for the next Pro Life Rally on Saturday, 6th July at Parnell Square in Dublin at 2pm. That should be a more suitable time particularly for clergy who will have time to get back to their parishes for their Vigil Masses.



The flyer handed out tells us.  Your Invitation to Rally For Life For Hope And For Progress. On July the unborn babies need you! Be part of this rally, as together, we awaken a nation for LIFE, and take the next step together towards making the Govern-ment’s horrific abortion proposal history. Your support for life has meant that opposition to abortion legislation is rising- even in the Labour party!  More and more TD’s are telling Enda Kenny that the people will not stand for the abortion proposal. You’ve played a huge part in stalling this legislation. Now at the Rally for Life on July 6th, make your voice heard loud and clear. No to abortion in Ireland- because mothers and babies deserve better. come and see.

* Surprise guest speakers.

* 100,000 Pro-Life pledges gathered.

* For the first time in Ireland “Voices from the womb!”

Mass at 12.30pm, St Saviour’s, Dominic Street



O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all, we turn to you today as the one who said “Yes” to Life. “You will conceive and bear a Son,” the angel told you. Despite the surprise and the uncertainty about how this could be, you said yes. “Be it done unto me according to your word.”

Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those who feel threatened and over-whelmed by their pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may give them the grace to say yes and the courage to go on. May they have the grace to reject the false solution of abortion. May they say with you, “Be it done unto me according to your word.” May they experience the help of Christian people, and know the peace that comes from doing God’s will.