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This story has been getting a lot of attention—but in reading the coverage and watching that video, I couldn’t help but think of another priest who has been a great advocate for the unborn, working tirelessly on behalf of life without getting much attention or sparking controversy. It’s Brooklyn’s own Msgr. Philip Reilly, founder of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.
His organization has done tremendous good—simply with presence and prayer:
About 50 of us processed from my parish to an abortion clinic several blocks away, where we prayed, sang hymns and offered a moment of silence in support of the unborn. At least one woman who was about to enter the clinic changed her mind. Msgr. Reilly, a humble and determined priest of Brooklyn has turned his quiet, peaceful form of protest into a global movement centered on prayer and, quite simply, presence. Those who are familiar with his work know his ministry is non-confrontational, obedient, faith-filled, and Eucharist-centered. Every march begins with Mass and ends with Benediction. And in between, there is the simplest and most recognizable form of prayer: the rosary. The woman who gave life to our salvation, the Mother of God, is invoked again and again. “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” Death is never far from our minds when we walk the streets to pray for the unborn. We are mindful of our mortality. But we are also reminded of the gift of life. The gift of reconciliation. The blessing of hope. The woman who changed her mind this morning did so, in no small measure, because of the quiet and persistent work of Msgr. Reilly. He has been a powerful witness to life, across many decades. Lest we forget, his greatest weapon has been the one he carried with him this morning on the streets of Queens.
Pray for Father Pavone. (And read Elizabeth Scalia’s analysis of his situation—she nails it.)
Pray, too, for Msgr. Reilly and his tremendous mission. I’m proud and humbled to have prayed beside him—and know he is having a profound impact. (Among other things, the clinic where we prayed in Queens has since closed.) Learn more about his organization here.