Sunday, March 2, 2014

‘Awakening a conscience that has gone dead’ SF's Interfaith Committee for Life Memorial Service

On Friday, February 28, the Interfaith Committee for Life of San Francisco held its Annual Interfaith Memorial Service for the Victims of Abortion at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Greenbrae, north of the City. The event was the 27th consecutive year that the IFCL has held the Memorial Service. The IFCL was founded under the auspices of the Archdiocese of San Francisco under its then-Archbishop John Quinn. Vicki Evans, the Respect Life Coordinator of the Archdiocese of San Francisco said “It is so important to bring good people of all faiths together who share a love for the unborn—something which unites us more than anything else.”

Around 60 persons were in attendance. Clergy included Fr. Mark Taheny, pastor of St. Sebastian’s, and Fr. Aris Metrakos, the Protopresbyter of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, who also serves as the current chairman of the IFCL. Music was provided by the St. Thérèse Choir of St. Andrew’s Church in Daly City.

The theme of this year’s service was “Be the Light.” The first reading was John 8:12 “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Following the reading Robin Strom, Executive Director of the Marin Pregnancy Clinic, spoke. She herself has had two abortions--one before Roe v. Wade the other after—a circumstance which gave her empathetic insight into the desperation which leads too many women to choose abortion. She described the work of the Clinic, and the difficulties of trying to operate a crisis pregnancy center in the darkness of the wealthy but abortion-friendly Marin County. Marin Pregnancy provides free prenatal counseling and medical care to women facing crisis pregnancies as an alternative to abortion. The organization is always strapped for cash, and the greatest challenge it currently faces is their old ultrasound machine. This critical piece of equipment allows a mother to see her living child--perhaps the strongest inducement for a wavering mother to choose life. She compared their current machine to an old laptop—constantly needing to be rebooted, powered on and off, in order to function properly.

The second reading was Psalm 112:4 “Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright.” Dana Cody, Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, spoke about the LLDF’s mission both in and out of the courtroom. Expanding on the “Be a Light” theme, she said “Flowers love light and so do the spirits of men.” She noted that is why the abortion industry, despite its incredible financial resources, still feels compelled to try every means possible to silence the pro-life message of hope. As an example she recounted the LLDF’s representation of Oakland’s Walter Hoye, who was sentenced to 28 days in jail simply for sharing the pro-life message of hope on a public street. Life Legal got Hoye’s conviction overturned, and the presiding judge informed Oakland’s law enforcement agencies that they are not allowed to favor one message over another.

The final reading was Romans 13:10-14 “Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Following the reading, Gil Bailie, Executive Director of the Cornerstone Foundation, spoke. He situated the work of pro-lifers in a long-term historical context, as a profound message of hope, able to restore the moral health of a society which has degenerated to the point of making abortion legal. He said “In a world, in a culture, in a city so inhospitable in every way to the message of life your work is very inspiring. In our time we have witnessed the most savage intentional destruction of human life in history. Your most important work is touching the conscience of those who may be hostile. If the conscience is dead you can’t hire enough police. If this country, if this culture, if this civilization is to be saved, you are the point of the spear. You are doing the work of preserving our civilization by awakening a conscience that has gone dead. Whenever you are working to save a baby you are also giving an example of moral intentionality and witness that is absolutely essential to our world. There is no more important work. It is something of enormous historical importance.”

Knights to match donations for Ultrasound Machine

Each year the Memorial Service spotlights one particular organization. In the words of Fr. Metrakos “By drawing attention to a specific Pro-Life group each year, we hope to encourage financial and volunteer support .” This year’s organization is the Marin Pregnancy Clinic, specifically their need for a new ultrasound machine. The Marin County Knights of Columbus have stepped up to help raise funds for the machine, and the national Supreme Council of the Knights has pledged to match every dollar that the Marin County Knights raise. Checks may be made payable to:

Knights of Columbus-Ultrasound
PO Box 703
Novato CA 94948

For more information about the Marin Pregnancy Clinic, visit

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