I am on my way to the Diocese of Salina in Kansas where I will have the honor of addressing some of my heroes. I will be speaking tomorrow at the annual conference sponsored by the Respect Life Office where parish pro-life leaders and faithful citizens from across the diocese will gather to learn about ways they can effectively build a culture of life.
What a treat to leave DC for a bit and be with those generous souls who fulfill our mission to educate and engage everyone in the work of protecting all human life in law. Nothing Human Life Action does in DC makes sense without the participation of the parish pro-life warriors!
This truth was brought home to me again in July right before the House voted to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. We had been pushing hard to let folks know that we had a federal legislative alert active that would allow them to contact their members of the House of Representatives with the urgent message that we wanted them to vote to uphold the freedom of conscience of pro-life health care providers.
The day before the vote I answered the office phone and heard an elderly voice say “Good morning, I just came from morning Mass and learned about the vote in Congress, but I do not have an email account. That probably sounds silly, but I am 79 years old and I don’t have a computer.” I assured the dear caller that it didn’t sound silly to me at all! In fact, I told her that I had just had a similar conversation with my own mom who is 85 years young and has no interest in the Internet. I was able to quickly find her member of Congress, give her the correct number to call and a few talking points and she was all set to make a difference! Before we hung up I asked her how she had come to hear about this on a Tuesday in July. Her answer warmed my heart.
She described how the parish pro-life committee coordinator had gotten an action alert email from Human Life Action. This stalwart grassroots activist then printed it out, made copies and went from pew to pew after Mass handing out the flyers and telling folks that the vote was imminent. She didn’t leave, my caller told me, till everyone had the information. Wow! Talk about fervor to spread the Gospel of Life! Its moments like these that recharge my battery and make me understand just who the heroes are in this work – you!