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Making a commitment for life
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January 20th, Inauguration Day.  8:30am Pacific Time.  Washington, D.C., has gathered in a people yearning to be free and straining their eyes toward a future full of hope.   

With the mall packed to capacity and the faithful spilling out by the hundreds of thousands, the entire world is watching.

 During his inaugural speech, President Obama told the world: “know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more”.   Later, called us to heroic self-sacrifice.  These are his own words:

 “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.  It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.  It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”  Those of us who worry about our new President’s stand on the rights of the unborn were grateful to hear these words.  It is, indeed, heroic to welcome and to nurture life.

 Later still, the President called us to the “recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task…

“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

That was Tuesday.  On Thursday, we marked 35 years since Roe v Wade and the destruction of roughly 50 million innocent human lives in the womb of their own mothers.  Friday, our newly inaugurated President made one of his first executive orders the re-establishment of government funding for organizations which provide (and at times push aggressively) sterilization and abortion throughout the world – often as a price for having received American foreign aid.  It was also rumored that he would sign into effect greater state funding for embryonic stem cell research, a costly enterprise which, in spite of the years of efforts, has not yet yielded even on successful therapy.

 I was going to dedicate this column to prayers for President Obama’s safety.  I think I’ll focus for now on the safety of millions of children who, still in their mother’s wombs, are increasingly threatened by the promise he made to grant state funding and unfettered access to abortion.

 Today, ten to twenty thousand pro-lifers are walking for life in San Francisco.  We are praying for our President’s conversion to the Gospel of Life.   We hope you will do so, too.  His blessing from God depends on his willingness to protect the most innocent and vulnerable.  

 In a letter to those who walk from our diocese, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire numbered many of the causes related to the issue of life.  We must defend human dignity and integrity in every way possible.  However, he put the emphasis on the unborn child.  Quoting this part of his letter, I leave the response to you.  For whatever we do to the least, we do it to Jesus.

 “Dear friends from the Diocese of Stockton on the Walk for Life, What a joy that 28 bus loads* of people from our diocese will march in support of life. Our rallying cry is the dignity of the human person created by God and sustained by divine love from the earliest moments in human existence until that hour we enter into eternity. Salvation from God through Jesus Christ has come for all people. Salvation promises not only resurrection and life but needs to transform the world in which we live. We stand for the inestimable value of human life because we are committed to the Kingdom of God and follow Jesus Christ as our Lord.”  - Bishop Stephen E. Blaire.
 (*Ps:  I think the amount of buses increased to 42 or more – the author).
Fr. Dean McFalls, St. Mary’s Church, Stockton, CA 95202, Jan. 23, 2009