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Fr. Pavone’s Suggestion for Remembrances at Graduations

May 11, 2009

(If you go to the You Tube site directly, please be cautious about reading the comments there, since some use very foul language.)

 

090512 update

If for some reason you can’t listen to the video, I wanted to provide its text. But since I can’t find that, here are some notes:

Fr. Frank emphasizes that concern over Catholic institutions honoring pro-abortion politicians is NOT just a “Catholic” issue, it goes deeper than that because it pertains to the killing of children, which is wrong regardless of the religion of anyone (parents, doctors, legislators, educators, etc.) involved. Supporting abortion contradicts human decency,  not just Catholic teaching, so it should be an issue of concern to everyone. It also contradicts the principles at the foundation of our country: “to be a haven for human life and a protector of human rights”. Then he describes a “simple, practical, positive response” that can take place at graduations all across the country and even at all levels, not just universities: “remember the unborn” those who are not able to be present for their graduations. Use “gentle, powerful ways” not to condemn anyone but to do something simple “that calls God’s mercy and compassion” in remembrance of those absent due to abortion.

If anyone finds a transcript of the video itself, please let me know where that is. In the meantime, here is text that corresponds with it:

Pro-Life Commencement

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Over a million children per grade level throughout the nation would have been with us had they not been killed by abortion. Priests for Life asks, therefore, that each graduation ceremony and liturgy include a remembrance of those who would have been graduating had they not been aborted. This could in some way, make reparation for the scandal of Catholic institutions, such as Notre Dame, inviting and honoring pro-abortion public figures.

Remembrance of the missing children can take the form of

a moment of silence,

a lit candle,

empty chair,

a cap and diploma resting by themselves,

or a brief prayer.

Symbolic actions can be accompanied by words like these:

  • “On this day of joy, we give thanks to God for our accomplishments. At the same time, we cannot ignore those whose lives have been lost, and who otherwise would have been with us to share the joys of this day.
  • With charity toward all and condemnation toward none, we, the Class of 2009, wish to honor and remember those who have lost their lives because they were aborted. (We pause now for a moment of silence… Or We now light this candle in their memory… Or We set aside these empty chairs in their memory.)
  • As we move into a new chapter of our lives, we commit ourselves to building a Culture of Life, in which parents never have to feel that the only way to solve their problems is to abort their child, and in which the precious dignity of every human life, especially the most defenseless, is cherished and protected. We invite you all to join us in striving for this goal.”

Suppose that a tragedy took the lives of some of the graduating class just days or weeks before graduation. Would there not be a mention or a tribute at the ceremony? Why, then, should the victims who died longer ago be forgotten? It is not, after all, the timing of the death that matters, but the value of the life.

It’s graduation time again. I’ll be praying for all graduates at all different grade levels. It is my fervent hope that students everywhere will take the initiative to remember aborted classmates.

Some, of course, will object to inserting such a “negative” theme into a happy day. But are significant moments in our lives supposed to be insulated from all awareness of injustice? Are we to rejoice with those who rejoice, but not weep with those who weep?

To be willing to face sadness when the victims were born, but unwilling to do so when the victims died before birth, is another sign of the deep-rooted prejudice against the unborn in our society. But a new generation of young people who have survived that prejudice are now taking their places and preparing to be the future leaders. That gives us hope. Isn’t that what Graduation Day is all about?

Please, do something. How can we explain it if we forget or ignore these children?

Source: http://www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2009/09-04-20-graduation-2009.htm

 

Here is information from an email received yesterday from Fr. Pavone and featured in two articles:

Monday May 11, 2009

Priests for Life Head Will Lead Alternate Notre Dame Ceremony

STATEN ISLAND, New York, May 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that next Sunday, May 17, he will be present on the campus of the University of Notre Dame where he will lead a service for pro-life graduating students during the university’s official commencement.

Members of the senior class who have decided not to attend their own graduation have invited Fr. Pavone to lead them in prayer at the Class of 2009 Vigil for Life, which will start at 2pm, the same time as the commencement ceremony in which President Obama will be honored.

The Class of 2009 Vigil for Life will take place at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary will be prayed and Fr. Frank will give five-minute meditations prior to each decade.

In response to the invitation, Fr. Pavone stated, “In standing with these students, I am standing with the true spirit of Notre Dame: a pro-life spirit, in harmony with human reason and Catholic Faith. The scandal that has been generated does not represent what Notre Dame is all about; it represents a radical betrayal of what Notre Dame is all about. I am encouraged by the pro-life activities of so many student groups on this campus – activities that are carried out all year round.”

Fr. Pavone added, “Hundreds of thousands of Catholics, hundreds of priests, and dozens of bishops have called upon Notre Dame to end this scandal by withdrawing its invitation to President Obama. The result of that demand is not in our control. But one final response to this scandal is fully in the control of each graduating senior: don’t show up.

“Don’t participate in an event which will only serve to obscure rather than highlight the Church’s pro-life teaching and the true spirit of Notre Dame. Instead, come to the Class of 2009 Vigil for Life. The seniors who do this are manifesting the real meaning of commencement: they are carrying out the witness to truth and service that their hard-earned degrees have prepared them to give in the world.”

Fr. Pavone released a YouTube commentary on the Notre Dame situation on his channel at http://www.YouTube.com/FrFrankPavone. (For Fr. Pavone’s full commentary in print: http://priestsforlife.org/news/pavone-notre-dame.htm )

Priests for Life has also opened a statement against the Notre Dame scandal to all priests and deacons wishing to sign it (go to: http://www.http://www.priestsforlife.org/statement/notredame.aspx [error in that link is corrected here: http://www.priestsforlife.org/statement/notredame.aspx]

Priests for Life is joining forces with the student groups in the ND Response coalition (http://www.NDResponse.com) in calling on all the faithful to pray a million rosaries in reparation for the scandal of that has arisen with the decision of Notre Dame to honor pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

(To sign up for the rosary campaign, visit http://www.PrayerCampaign.org)

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

74: Catholic School Association Downplays USCCB Policy Role while More Bishops Decry ND Scandal

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051101.html

Source for preceding article: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051103.html

 

Notre Dame Students Select Father Frank Pavone to Lead Obama-Free Graduation

by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor, May 11, 2009

South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) — Notre Dame students who don’t want to attend a graduation ceremony involving pro-abortion President Barack Obama put together alternate plans. Today, they announced that Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, will lead prayer at a pro-life prayer vigil.

The Class of 2009 Vigil for Life will be celebrated at Sunday’s commencement ceremony at the same time as the graduation event.

“In standing with these students, I am standing with the true spirit of Notre Dame: a pro-life spirit, in harmony with human reason and Catholic Faith,” Father Pavone told LifeNews.com on Monday.

“The scandal that has been generated does not represent what Notre Dame is all about,” Pavone added. “It represents a radical betrayal of what Notre Dame is all about.”

Pavone said the scandal has resulted in pro-life Catholics standing up for the teachings of the Catholic Church and wanting to hold the university accountable to them.

“Hundreds of thousands of Catholics, hundreds of priests, and dozens of bishops have called upon Notre Dame to end this scandal by withdrawing its invitation to President Obama,” he said. “The result of that demand is not in our control.”

Pavone told LifeNews.com he thinks pro-life students should exercise their right not to attend the graduation ceremony, where President Obama will give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

“One final response to this scandal is fully in the control of each graduating senior: don’t show up. Don’t participate in an event which will only serve to obscure rather than highlight the Church’s pro-life teaching and the true spirit of Notre Dame,” Pavone continued.

“The seniors who do this are manifesting the real meaning of commencement: they are carrying out the witness to truth and service that their hard-earned degrees have prepared them to give in the world,” he added.

Some pro-life students plan to join Pavone for the alternative event, but others plan to conduct their own protest during the graduation ceremonies, ND Response, the pro-life collection of student groups, told LifeNews.com last week.

“It certainly appears obvious from these announced plans that a large or perhaps the sole focus of that response is a boycott,” ND Response indicated. “There also may be other small groups or individuals amongst the 2009 graduates and their guests who have their own ideas about raising the pro-life issue to Mr. Obama inside the Joyce Center.”

The students say they want a focus on peaceful and respectful opposition, especially in light of some of the more in-your-face opposition appearing at their campus in recent days along with the arrest of some pro-life advocates.

Related web sites:

Priests for Life – http://www.PriestsforLife.org

Notre Dame response – http://www.ndresponse.com

Source for preceding article: http://www.lifenews.com/state4129.html

 

To learn what the students of Notre Dame University have planned as an alternative to attending the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17, you can visit http://www.ndresponse.com/commencement.html. They’ve even suggested things you can do in your own town if you aren’t able to join them in South Bend!

Unable to be Here? Join us in Spirit.

Those groups and individuals unable to travel to Notre Dame are encouraged to join us in spirit by conducting a prayerful vigil or rally at home. This can mirror our rally schedule as much as desired:

9:30pm Saturday – 10:45am Sunday: Eucharistic Adoration

10:45am Sunday: Benediction

11:15am Sunday: Mass

12:30pm Sunday: Spiritual or educational readings (such as William McGurn’s talk, “A Notre Dame Witness for Life”)

2:00pm Sunday: Rosary for the ND Response Rosary Campaign intentions

3:45pm Sunday: Closing prayer

America’s Prayer Campaign and the ND Response Million Rosaries Campaign would like to hear of your prayers on and leading up to commencement weekend.

Our non-Catholic brothers and sisters are warmly encouraged to join us in prayer according to their own traditions.

And on that same Web page, the students make this next point very clear:

Concerning Signs and Graphic Images:

Any person willing to respectfully and constructively demonstrate their disapproval of the University’s decision to honor President Obama at commencement is welcomed to stand alongside students at this rally.

Graphic images and signs not in keeping with the tone of this rally will not be permitted on Notre Dame’s campus. ND Response reserves the right to have individuals who do not follow student requests escorted from campus by security personnel.

We hope that you will join the students of ND Response in making May 16th and 17th days of powerful and constructive witness to the Catholic identity of Notre Dame and to the fundamental principle of the sanctity of life.

See you on May 16th!

These are the specific intentions for their “million rosaries” that are being prayed:

One Million Rosaries

Please join us in praying for

  • a change of heart for President Obama, particularly regarding the sanctity of life;
  • for the Catholic character of the University of Notre Dame;
  • and for a greater respect for human life around the world.

. . .

In recent weeks the announcement of President Barack Obama as Notre Dame’s commencement speaker has caused much controversy. We, the concerned students at Notre Dame, are attentive to this and have led several efforts to voice our opposition to the decision to honor President Obama with a doctor of laws degree, given his stance on abortion. We know that this controversy has gained much attention worldwide, but we are aware that our story is merely one case among many in which the struggle of Catholics in political life becomes clear. Our sad situation is an occasion for Catholics across the country, and worldwide, to reflect on the tragedy of abortion, the real danger of policies opposed to life, and the important role we must play in fighting for the dignity of all human life. There are many important and necessary ways for us to fulfill this role. We remember, however, that Notre Dame is indeed Our Lady’s University and that our strongest weapon to fight this public scandal and disregard for the importance of life is to have recourse to prayer.

As such, we now call for a Rosary Crusade of One Million Rosaries.

We students will pray the rosary daily for 40 days – from Wednesday of Holy Week (4/8/09) until the day of commencement (5/17/09). We will pray especially for

  • conversion of heart for President Obama, that he might grow to respect life from conception to natural death and that his policies might reflect that (in particular that he will reverse his pro-abortion stance).
  • As a secondary intention, we will pray for the University of Notre Dame, and all Catholic universities, that they might grow in their understanding of what it means to be Catholic and truly embrace their Catholic identity.
  • Finally, we pray that this country, and all countries throughout the world might embrace a greater respect for life in all its stages.

But we know that we cannot achieve this without help. We have found many internet petitions that have been signed in support of this effort and know that one of them has well over 200,000 signatories already. If only a fraction of you join us in prayer for 40 days, we will reach our goal of One Million Rosaries, and perhaps we will even surpass it. We hope that you will join us in prayer, and encourage others – through whatever means – to do the same. We encourage you to visit our website to report how many rosaries you have said for this intention (www.ndresponse.com).

Many of us have responded angrily to this situation, questioning why Our Lord would allow such a public scandal. It is to remind us to put all of our hope in Him, and to redouble our efforts to pray for an end to abortion in this country and across the world. Perhaps all we need to do is to recall the words of our own fight song. Assured of Victory, we call to mind the words of the Blessed Mother given at Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Onward to Victory,

ND Response

Source: http://www.ndresponse.com/million-rosaries.html

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