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“A stunning example of the difference two people can make” Eva and Dolores honored by Knights of Malta!
On June 20, Walk for Life West Coast co-chairs Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean were honored by the Knights of Malta! California Catholic Daily has the story:
Knights of Malta honor Walk for Life co-chairs
“A stunning example of the difference two people can make”
On Thursday, June 19 and Friday, June 20, 2014, the Western Association of the Knights of Malta held their annual conference and investiture in San Francisco. The events began on the morning of Thursday, June 19, with a Presidents/Board meeting, followed by a conference with the theme “Defense of the Faith and Nurturing the Faith,” which was in turn followed by an Investiture Vigil at San Francisco’s historic Mission Dolores Church. On Friday, June 20, the day began with a members meeting, followed by a discussion of Knights’ “Parish Nurse” program. The Investiture of the new Knights was celebrated with a mass at St. Ignatius Church. The final event, the Knight’s Investiture Dinner Dance, was held in the Grand Ballroom of San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel.
The white-tie event was attended by Knights adorned with decorations recalling the 900-plus year history of the order, and they were joined by many clergy, including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland. Prior to dinner the Knights honored those who have shown special dedication in “bring(ing) the gospel to those most in need of its message of the beauty and dignity of all human life.” Two of the three honorees were the co-chairs and co-founders of San Francisco’s Walk for Life West Coast, Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean.
Knight of Malta Wade Hughan introduced the two pro-life women:
“The tenth Walk for Life West Coast took place on January 25th of this year. Many in this room will remember the strong public reaction which greeted the first Walk for Life West Coast in 2005. Many men and women were excited about the opportunity to support the Walk’s goals, to make a statement about life and to reach out to the many women who have had abortions, and all those touched by abortion, especially in a city in which there were at that time more abortions than live births. The opponents were, well they were just stunned that anyone would even attempt a pro-life public event in this bastion of the pro-abortion culture. But Ms Meehan and Ms Muntean had more dedication and courage than their opponents anticipated, and despite personal threats and public outcry that such a walk should not be allowed in San Francisco the walk took place and its peace-filled non-political message brought out thousands of participants. In ten years the walk has grown to tens of thousands of participants, and it remains joyful and entirely peaceful, this year walking below large banners supporting the pro-life message lining both sides of Market Street, while its opponents continue to shrink in number and virulence. Members of the Western Association of Our Order have participated in the walk every year since its founding, carrying a banner with the Order’s Cross.
Ms Meehan and Ms Muntean provide a stunning example of the difference two people can make and perfect examples of the way in which lay persons can fulfill our vocation to sanctify the world. The Sovereign Council of the Order has conferred on Ms Meehan and Ms Muntean the Cross of Merit with Crown to recognize their courage and dedication to bring the gospel to those most in need of its message of the beauty and dignity of all human life, and its message that healing and reconciliation are always possible for all those who have suffered the effects of abortion. Our congratulations to you both.”
The women received an extended standing ovation.
The Walk for Life West Coast is becoming the “go to” resource for Bay Area media seeking pro-life commentary. Last week it was Walk co-chair Eva Muntean on McCullen v. Coakley (see below), and today NBC’s Mark Matthews interviewed writer and long-time Walk volunteer Vivian Dudro about the Hobby Lobby case.
Vivian’s segment begins at about 1:24 into the clip.
Walk for Life West Coast co-chair Eva Muntean was interviewed on NBC Bay Area yesterday. The station wanted a pro-life response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCullen v. Coakley. Eva’s segment is towards the end of the clip.
You can read the opinion here.
As Justice Scalia said in his dissent, the majority is still endorsing “content discrimination” against pro-lifers. But had they let the law stand it would have been catastrophic for the First Amendment and the country.
There’s lots of analysis of the opinion and what it means. Here are some:
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Pope Francis’ ambassador to the United Nations reminded U.N officials, who pretend to be against torture, that abortion IS torture.
From Life News:
“The Holy See condemns the torture of anyone, including those tortured and killed before they are born,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio at the United Nations in Geneva.
For the second time this year, a Vatican delegation was in Geneva to discuss the obligations of the Holy See under international law with U.N. experts, and for the second time Catholic doctrine on abortion was at issue, drawing media attention and criticism for the mostly obscure U.N. committees.
Tomasi was reporting on the Vatican’s implementation with the U.N. treaty against torture, which it ratified in 2002. Experts on the U.N. committee against torture suggested the Church’s teaching on the inviolable dignity of human life is a form of torture.
“Late-term abortion constitutes torture,” Tomasi said in reply to questions from Felice Gaer, an American expert.
He accused Canada and the United Kingdom of being guilty of torture by allowing late-term abortions where children are left to die without any medical care after they are born alive.
Good work, Excellency. May your words awaken the consciences of those charged with upholding the common good!
On May 3, tens of thousands of Irish Pro-Lifers flooded the streets of Dublin to stand for the littlest among us.
Thousands of pro-life people lined the streets of Dublin on Saturday to protest abortion and tell the government the pro-life movement in Ireland still strongly opposes its bill that was the first step to legalizing abortions.
The Fine Gael party promised voters it would not legalize abortion and the party broke that promise, speakers lamented. The pro-life movement gave a commitment not to sit back and accept the new law and the National Vigil for Life was a clear sign that millions of pro-life people in Ireland will not be breaking that promise, they said.
Here’s a couple more nice pictures:
God bless them! You can learn more about Ireland’s Pro-Life Campaign at prolifecampaign.ie
The entire pro-life community of California is united in both sorrow at his passing and in gratitude for all George did for the least among us. Dolores Meehan, co-chair and co-founder of the Walk for Life West Coast writes:
Rest in Peace faithful servant and gentleman – George Wesolek
Our relationship with George began in March 2004, while we were planning a Rally in Defense of Marriage. He welcomed our ‘radical’ group, and convinced first Archbishop William Levada, and then Oakland’s Bishop Allen Vigneron, they needed be there with us. As a result, both led us in our inaugural journey into the public square. The success of the Marriage Rally gave birth to the Walk for Life West Coast. George was untiring in his defense of the vulnerable, especially the unborn; there was nothing he wouldn’t do to help make the Walk for Life a success
George loved the Church and served her faithfully. He was a quintessential gentleman but could also muster fiery righteous anger when the rights of the poor and vulnerable where threatened. At the March 2012 rally for Religious Freedom in San Francisco, George reminded us how religious sisters came to San Francisco in the late 1800s and founded orphanages, hospitals and schools. He told the crowd, “according to the HHS mandate, those activities would no longer be considered religious expression. Unbelievable!” After every statement, (and much to our delight) George got the crowd to chant with him “Unbelievable!” (What was really unbelievable was gentle George leading chants at a rally!)
I think our work energized George; we certainly felt cherished and protected by him. He was simply a lovely man and we will miss him greatly – may he rest in peace.
Dolores, Eva and the whole Walk for Life Crew
George’s great friend and comrade, Vicki Evans, the Respect Life Coordinator of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, remembers her dear friend:
George Wesolek died recently. With him died an era. George was the Director of Public Policy and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. When he took over this position more than 25 years ago, the landscape in San Francisco was very different from what it is today with respect to pro-life issues. There was no Walk for Life West Coast. There was no 40-Days for Life. There was little support in the local Church hierarchy for life issues after Roe v. Wade made its “statement” on behalf of America. Social justice issues were prominent and embraced and accepted; life issues were less significant and much less acceptable in polite company. But George championed both issues equally, a bit of a heresy for his age. He encountered opposition at USCCB conferences and on the Catholic Charities Board of Directors when he equated life issues with social justice issues. But his resolve never diminished. His love for the poor—and he deeply loved the poor—never eclipsed his support for the unborn, those who had no one except the Catholic Church to speak for them.
Fast forward 25 years. We now have an Archbishop in San Francisco who considers life issues a top priority. Pro-life culture is now more embraced. Today it is easier to be pro-life because there is more widespread active support from a greater number of bishops. But it was not always so. Ten years ago when the Walk for Life West Coast came into being, George Wesolek was the one who believed in it, sanctioned it, argued on its behalf, sent resources to it and made it a priority of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I would venture to say that the Walk for Life would not exist in its present form had George not stood with its organizers from day one, convincing the powers that be that it was all right to be involved with such a radical idea. George had vision, took chances, because it was right. He was called the “guardian of orthodoxy” in a derisive tone by some of the more politically correct in local Catholic circles.
Today, the Archbishop of San Francisco and the Archdiocese of San Francisco have an easier road to embracing orthodoxy when it comes to life issues. George embraced it when it was hard. In terms made famous by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George demonstrated costly grace, not cheap grace. We are where we are today because of his acceptance of avant-garde ideas when they were unpopular—even inflammatory. We shouldn’t forget our history or discount those who made the sacrifices which are the foundation of what has been built. In characteristic human fashion, however, George’s contributions will be discounted and forgotten by the world in which we live. But I am certain his reward is great in heaven.
On Monday, George Wesolek, a wonderful man and early supporter of the Walk for Life West Coast, passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with George’s family, friends, and many, many admirers. From today’s issue of Catholic San Francisco:
Longtime archdiocesan social justice director, advocate dies
George Wesolek, a man whose life was marked by a passion for social justice including protection of the unborn, Catholic principles of marriage, refuge for undocumented immigrants and healing the violence in our streets, died April 28 of cancer at home in Sonoma. He was 70.
Wesolek was the director of public policy and social concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco since 1985, a position he held at the time of his death.
Wesolek’s life was fi rst and foremost infused by his love for his wife, Geri, their four daughters and their families, said Vicki Evans, respect life coordinator for the archdiocese and his friend. “He loved them so much,” she said.
“George understood and advocated for the full range of Catholic social and moral teaching, knowing that only this comprehensive, inclusive teaching will lead to the flourishing of the individual and society as a whole,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the last of four archbishops Wesolek served.
“We will all remember him for his gentle spirit and his kindness, as well as his dedication in serving our archdiocese for nearly 30 years,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
“George is a man of faith whose entire life reflected the depth of commitment to God which marks the true disciple of Jesus Christ,” said Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy, who worked with Wesolek as a pastor and priest and as bishop. “He is a man of hope who witnessed powerfully to the church’s teachings on life, justice and peace, and never wavered in his understanding that that witness can transform our world. He is a man of love who cherished his family profoundly, and he proclaimed in action the sacred reality of family life.”
Whether lobbying state lawmakers or San Francisco supervisors, organizing a rally at Mission Dolores for undocumented immigrants, participating in a peace march through the Mission District or leading chants at a 2012 rally for religious freedom, Wesolek brought the Catholic Church’s commitment to social justice from conception to natural death to the public square. His commitment to advancing ecumenical cooperation was constant.
Wesolek’s backing of a 2004 rally for marriage in San Francisco convinced then-archbishop, now-Cardinal William J. Levada to support the public demonstration, said Dolores Meehan, co-founder of the Walk for Life West Coast. Wesolek’s support of the walk– what appeared a harebrained idea to hold a public demonstration for life in one of the most pro-abortion cities in the U.S. – persuaded the Catholic hierarchy, Evans said.
“George had vision, took chances, because it was right,” said Evans.“George loved the church and served her faithfully. He was a quintessential gentleman but could also muster fiery righteous anger when the rights of the poor and vulnerable were threatened,”said Meehan, recalling how at a 2012 rally for religious freedom Wesolek, who needed help walking to the platform because of his weakness due to cancer, led the crowd in chants of “unbelievable!”
Known for his incisive opinion pieces, one of his last essays, published July 3, 2013, in Catholic San Francisco, lamented the lack of outrage over abortion and the slaughter of babies in Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia. “Sometime in the future, people will look back at this time in history and be amazed and horrified at the legal slaughter of so many millions of human persons,” Wesolek wrote.
“They will marvel at the fact that the political establishment supported and paid for this death dealing. They will ask, ‘Where was the outrage? Where were the believers? Where were the Catholics?’”
In the early ‘90s Wesolek served as overall planner and coordinator of a four-year pastoral planning process, culminating in the plan “A Journey of Hope Toward the Third Millennium.” He developed programs to educate lay leaders through leadership formation programs and conferences on social justice, affordable housing, life, human rights and peace. Wesolek also served the archdiocese as a director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and was the archdiocesan representative to Catholic Relief Services.
Wesolek was educated in Michigan and Rome, receiving advanced degrees in theology and a graduate degree in clinical psychology. Wesolek is survived by his wife Geri; daughter Brienne (husband Greg Fabella) and grandchildren Xavier and Grace Victoria; daughter Noelle (husband Steve Andres) and granddaughters Georgia and Juliette; daughter Stephanie (husband Jay Grimes); and daughter Leah.
A Mass of Christian burial is to be held May 1 at St. Francis Solano Church in Sonoma. The family asks that any donations in his honor be sent to Catholic Relief Services.
God bless them! And may the Infant of Prague lead us in the fight for life!
On Saturday, 29th March 2014 the 14th annual National March for Life passed through the centre of the capital. Several thousand people from the whole country took part as expected. The organizers estimated that there were 3,500 participants, every one of whom expressed their opposition to induced abortion. The March for Life gained the support of almost 30 personalities of political, religious and public life and more than forty Czech and foreign
The March for Life was preceded by religious services at three churches in Prague: in the Greek-Catholic Cathedral of St. Clement, where the mass was celebrated by the Apostolic Exarch Ladislav Hučko, in the church of St. Mary of Victories (that is, at the Church of the Infant of Prague), where the mass was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Laun, Salzburg, in particular for foreign-language guests and participants of the March and at the Dominican Church of St. Giles, where the mass was celebrated by Dominic Cardinal Duka, OP together with over 20 priests from the whole country….”
As with all Walks for Life a wholesome family atmosphere prevailed:
Today is the first anniversary of the rebirth into eternal life of our dear Fr. John Malloy, SDB. How can we thank him for all he has done for us and for the Church?
His unheralded 2001 arrival (at age 79!) at Saints Peter and Paul parish in San Francisco introduced an unapologetic champion of Catholic orthodoxy, of life and the family, into the city of St. Francis, which had become ground zero for the culture of death.
It was the 2004 rally in defense of marriage, which he hosted as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, that fired the opening shots in the defense of marriage and family in our City. Fr. Malloy was not alone in fighting that battle, others worked with him, but as was said of the first Salesian pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, Fr. Raphael Pipierni, he “started the fight when it was hard to start.” That war to restore sanity to the culture has just begun, and it will continue for generations.
Now our City is blessed with an even more prominent champion of marriage and the family, our good Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Who would have believed that 10 year’s ago?
Father, we thank you for all you did for us when you were here on earth. And we know you are still fighting the good fight and praying for us unceasingly in heaven!
Divine Mercy and LIFE at the Golden Gate Bridge
At 6:30AM on a foggy Ash Wednesday morning, a group of young pro-lifers gathered at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The group was there for the start of the West Coast Leg of the LIFE Runners A-Cross America Relay. The LIFE Runners relay is a nationwide event in which LIFE Runners will run 1,103 relay legs of 5K each, covering a total of 4,089 miles over the 40 days of Lent. The East Coast Arm starts at the Brooklyn Bridge and the West Coast Arm begins at the Golden Gate Bridge.
About fifteen people were gathered at the Vista Point parking lot at the Golden Gate Bridge’s northern end. They included LIFE Runners Leanne Ruperto, Tom Wagner, and Laura Wise, LIFE Runners support crew, and organizers from the Walk for Life West Coast, including co-founders Kelly Connelly and Eva Muntean.
Quite conspicuous was a large pink and blue van, whose logo was a stork delivering a baby and “Save the Storks” written on the side.
The van was from the group Save the Storks, which provides what are essentially mobile pregnancy crisis centers. Save the Storks are this year’s beneficiaries of LIFE Runners fundraising efforts. Save the Storks representative Wesley Davis said that the group has vans accompanying each of the LIFE Runners West Coast and East Coast Arms. Each Save the Storks van contains a sonogram machine, pregnancy tests kits, etc., and can be seen as an extension of sidewalk counseling—depending on local zoning, they can even drive right next to an abortion business and offer their free services. Their mission statement says “Our mission is to empower abortion-minded mothers all over America to choose life. We’re accomplishing this by partnering with local pregnancy centers that will own and operate our vehicles outside of abortion clinics to reach women who feel like they only have one choice.”
Also present was one of the rising young stars of contemporary Catholic music, recording artist Tori Harris. Miss Harris, part of the new generation of Catholic musicians which includes Matt Maher and Ike Ndolo, has appeared on Catholic Radio in Boston and Louisiana and on the Catholic TV Shows “The Gist” and “This is the Day.” Miss Harris is working to raise awareness of the Save the Storks campaign and is following the route of LIFE Runners this week. On March 5 she will perform at the Napa Valley Baptist Church, on March 7 at First Baptist Church in Fair Oaks, and on March 8 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Auburn. After that, she’s off to a Catholic Underground event in Newburgh, NY and then to a taping session at EWTN. Miss Harris’ faith is anything but an afterthought. When she visited Cabrini High School in New Orleans in 2013 she not only shared her talent and testimony with the students, but led them in Eucharistic Adoration.
Before the LIFE Runners began the first leg of the long journey, those assembled prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!” Following the Chaplet, the young people recited the LIFE Runners Creed, stressing Prayer, Endurance, Awareness, Charity, an End to abortion, and prayed for God’s peace on the born and unborn. They closed by chanting the LIFE Runners motto “All in Christ….for PRO-LIFE”
The first leg made its way through Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Anselmo, before finishing in San Rafael for the noon Mass and the reception of Ashes at San Raphael’s Church. The route goes by abortion businesses across the United States, where runners will join in prayer with members of 40 Days for Life. On Palm Sunday the final groups of runners from the East Coast and West Coast Arms will meet at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, near St. Joseph Cathedral.
LIFE Runners are another manifestation of the joy-filled youth who are the new face of the pro-life movement. As Nancy Keenen, then-president of NARAL lamented in 2010 when she attended Washington DC’s March for Life “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young…There are so many of them, and they are so young.”
And there are more of them, and younger, and happier every day.