Catholic Days at the Capitol
From March 9-11, 2010 Respect Life Ministry of the Archdiocese of Miami joined the Catholic Conference of Florida and other statewide Pro-Life ministries and organizations at our State Capitol for our annual visit to our legislators. Leading the our delegation were: Archbishop John C. Favalora, DD, Bishop John Noonan, DD and Mrs. Joan Crown, Director of Respect Life Ministry and the administrative staff of the Respect Life Office: Mrs. Barbara Groeber and Mrs. Maureen Freeman. The visit provided an opportunity to tell our State Government that the citizens of Florida believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. It was an opportunity to pray and give witness to our common faith in The Divine Right to Life and to speak directly to our representatives and demand that they vote to protect the lives of the vulnerable citizens of the State of Florida, especially the unborn child, senior citizens and those who live with serious illnesses and disabilities.
The Holy Spirit was clearly with the pilgrims to the State Capitol and the message was very clear.
Human life is the precious gift that the Father vested upon his only-begotten Son; therefore, man cannot interfere with its natural progress toward realization or terminate it of his own volition. God has given us the most grave and moral duty: to protect life, to heal those who are broken, and to serve Jesus who comes to us concealed in human vulnerability. To deliberately destroy life or casually dismiss those who are unable to care for themselves is to forfeit our humanity.
Br. Jay Rivera OSF
The pilgrims to the Capitol were impressed during their visit with Rep. David Rivera who keeps a board with pictures of children. The Representative explained that he keeps the board "to remind us why we do what we do."
Our delegates described the experiences as "uplifting to see young people on fire for life." They saw some positive changes among the younger generation of legislators as they relate to one another. We hope that an increased cooperation between all parties will be a means to increased consciousness and dialogue on the essential life issues of our state and our nation.
Respect Life Ministry At National March For Life January 20-24, 2010
On January 20th Joan Crown, Director of Respect Life Ministry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami, Most Rev. Felipe Estevez, STD, Rev. Alfred Cioffi, PhD, STD, Catholic School teachers and parent chaperones led over 100 enthusiastic teens and young adults to the annual March For Life in Washington, DC. The week's events included a visit the Holocaust Museum and a special mass of healing and atonement at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at The Catholic University of America,presided by Bishop Estevez.. There was also time for prayer, discussion, reflection, and a talk to the young pilgrims by actress and pilgrim Jennifer O'Neill. The pilgrimage culminated with the march itself at the Mall on the south side of our Nation's Capitol.
This year, over 300,000 people attended The March, making it the largest congregation of pro-life citizens in its history. Those who have attended for almost 40-years reported that this was by far the largest gathering at the historic march. The voice of the Lord was heard through the hundreds of thousands who walked shoulder to shoulder to the House of Government. The presence of so many citizens on the Mall, those attending concurrent marches across the country, and those praying for the pilgrims from their homes, is a sign that God's grace is at work in our nation.
What does the increase in participation mean? There are several messages here. First, the American conscience is waking up to the horrors of abortion. Second, the pain and the silent scream of the unborn is being heard by people of all ages, races, creeds and political ideologies. Third, the young are ready and willing to take over the battle for the life of the unborn and the vulnerable members of society. Finally, the time of prophets is not over. A new generation of prophets has come of age.
The teens who came back from Washington immediately began the work of evangelization in their schools, youth groups, parishes and families. Their message fell on fertile ground. Those who heard their compelling proclamation of the Gospel of Life listened attentively and are responding. Already, a group of young people from St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Pembroke Pines asked if they could begin a Respect Life project that targets youth. Students are writing letters, speaking to their classmates, and speaking the truth about abortion in our Catholic schools and in their communities.
Before moving on, we'd like to share with you the testimony of one of our young pilgrims.