Fr. Frank Pavone has been a household name for many years in my home, even during my Planned Parenthood years. Every week, I would record and watch “Defending Life.” I enjoyed watching him, even if I disagreed. I loved how outspoken he was. He didn’t seem to live in the gray, everything seemed black and white for him, right and wrong was clear.
I remember watching him during the Terri Schiavo tragedy. I was drawn to his gentle spirit. I had seen two sides to him, or was it? One side was so unabashedly, unapologetically, and passionately against abortion. The other was a man who had an incredibly compassionate heart and a kind spirit.
This was the man who was helping a family grieve the loss of their daughter, but now I can see both perceived sides of him are really just who he is as a person. Fr. Frank is for life, he is for all life. His compassion for life fuels his passion.
A few years later, I looked out of my office window and I couldn’t believe it. Was that really Fr. Frank Pavone standing and praying outside MY abortion clinic? I looked harder, but couldn’t get a clear view because of our iron fence. I ran to the front of the building so I could look at the security camera.
I zoomed in and there was the priest I had been watching for many years. He had been streaming into my home week after week, all while I was working at an abortion clinic. I had two employees who were Catholic. They recognized him as well.
There was an unshakable desire within me to sprint outside and introduce myself to him. After all, I felt like I knew him. I felt a connection to him, as strange as that may sound. I asked my co-workers if they thought it would be inappropriate to go outside to meet him. They gave me a bewildered look and said, “NO! You run an abortion clinic! He doesn’t want to meet you!”
I figured they were right, so I returned to my office and watched him pray outside of my clinic. When he left, I felt as though I had missed an opportunity that I would always regret.
Even though I didn’t get to meet him that day, we would later meet one another, which happened after I resigned from Planned Parenthood. I remember meeting him for the first time and immediately feeling a sense of peace. He was not a rock star, he was a healer. He was not a celebrity, he was a servant. He wanted to help me heal and I needed it.
Fr. Frank is the reason I am in the position that I’m in today, both emotionally and spiritually. He has given me guidance and direction that I couldn’t find from anyone else. I am not a particularly emotional person, but I wept the first time I heard Fr. Frank speak at an event about clinic workers.
It was as if he could read my heart and see into my thoughts. The reason? This is his life. He isn’t just in this for the children. He is also in this for people like me. People that are wounded, broken, angry, and scarred.
I look at how abortion has crept into our Christian culture and see thousands of clergy who are scared to defend our unborn children. Then, I see Fr. Frank. He is a someone who is always ready to speak the truth. A man who is always ready to stand up against the crowd to defend what is right. He is a man of courage. I am proud to stand by him during this time of trial.
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17