Diocesan Meeting Draws Together Pro-Life Leaders

The evening began in a basement, which reminded us of that moment in "the upper room." There we were, as pro-life leaders, united in one place on Pentecost, the "Birthday of the Church," and the day on which the Holy Spirit was poured out.

We met as pro-life leaders from across the Diocese of Allentown for perhaps the first time on Sunday, May 19th, 2024, but I could not help but think back to June 24th, 2022, when Roe v. Wade was thrown on the ash heaps of history in Washington, D.C.

Many pro-lifers present on that day danced and celebrated. It was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, Feast of St. John the Baptist, and the birthday of Nellie Grey - founder of the March for Life. It was a monumental day for the pro-life movement. Yet, it was a sad day.

As I watched pro-abortion advocates stand speechless, I couldn't help but wonder what was going on in their minds. They were there to mourn the loss of a law that protected their "right to abortion." Yet, I was there that day to hopefully celebrate its demise. I walked past them and began to think about the 62 million babies dead since the passing of Roe V. Wade and the possible 120 million parents impacted by abortion. I knew that the passing of Roe V. Wade was just the beginning of our work, not the end.

In fact, our work was probably going to be harder.

As I first knelt in prayer for our nation, I never would have realized just how much misinformation, vandalism, and attacks people of faith would experience in the coming years. However, I knew that we'd need unity, strategy, and, most importantly, prayer.

So, there we were in the basement of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Whitehall to pray, learn, network, and share a meal.

Father David Lopez, F.S.S.P., Parochial Vicar of Holy Ghost, Bethlehem, opened the meeting with prayer and a reflection before dinner.

Diocesan Executive Director of Evangelization and Formation, Maggie Riggins, opened the evening by offering support, and thanking and encouraging those present.

Representatives from Catholic Charities, Our Ladies Helpers, and United Hearts Life Mission each spoke on behalf of their organizations.

Managing Director at Catholic Charities, Andrea Neagle, spoke of the resources available across the Diocese for pregnant women and families. Yet, she also shared about the funding troubles that came when the Governor cut all funding for pregnancy support centers and maternity homes. Thanks to increased contributions from the local community, Catholic Charities continues to provide its parenting program.

Our Lady's Helpers expressed how they will work one-on-one with Catholic Charities to provide medical support to women considering abortion or needing low-cost medical care.

Maryanne Morales, who represented United Hearts Life Mission, noted that the nonprofit, previously Dr. Maryanne Freeman-Brndjar's private practice, will provide women's healthcare in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

After the speakers introduced their organizations, pro-life leaders broke off to talk with each other over dessert and coffee.

Sandra Zawistowski, who has served for over twenty years within Defenders of Life at St. Joseph the Worker in Orefield, believed the event gave her "an opportunity to meet so many others throughout our Diocese with the same mission and goal – to make abortion unthinkable."

St. Ambrose, Schuylkill County pro-life leader Dana Seisler started her pro-life group two years ago. She thought it was nice to see everybody sharing different ideas. “We can accomplish much more if we all work together," she said.

If you are interested in starting a parish pro-life group, contact Maggie Riggins at mriggins@allentowndiocese.org.


Mass Livestream