On the eve of the 36th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I’d like to tell you about my friend Joe. I first met him in 1996 when I attended daily Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Moorestown, NJ. We became friendly and would chat after Mass. Joe was a thin, elderly man who was a chain smoker and hated the cold weather. He was never married and lived by himself. He was forced into retirement and didn’t have much money and no health insurance. He hardly watched TV and struggled to keep his lawn cut. He was even reported to the township for letting his grass grow too high.
In the beginning Joe and I talked mainly about the weather. Our conversations grew deeper when I asked him to pray for my unborn twins who were in serious danger of dying in my wife’s womb. It was then that I found out something about Joe that I would have never guessed: he was a devoted and active pro-life supporter. Never having been married and having no children, Joe just didn’t fit the mold of what I’d expect for somebody who was active in the pro-life movement. Due to his extremely dislike of cold weather (he started saying it was “freezing” in the Fall), I was stunned to discover that he faithfully prayed the rosary outside of abortion clinics at least 2 times each week… Even in the rain and snow! To make matters worse, he wasn’t able to properly finger his rosary beads with gloves on, so he didn’t wear them while praying. It would be so cold that he would lose the feeling in his fingers, but he never missed a day.
Joe wouldn’t attempt to confront anyone; he would just pray peacefully. There were other people with him who would tell the mothers about alternatives to abortion. The pro-life advocates kept track of how many babies were “saved”. Joe knew the importance of standing up for life and he attended many Pro-Life meetings in the area. I can’t tell you for sure how many babies Joe may have saved, but I know he had an impact.
Unfortunately, Joe passed away suddenly in 2002 and the pro-life movement lost a strong warrior. Joe would be pleased to know that someone was carrying on his work. God needs you and I to be the “Joe’s” of today. Each day in the United States, approximately 3,800 babies are legally murdered. They can’t defend themselves and need our help.
There are many things that you and I can do to help. Contact your parish or check out the Pro-Life page of The Catholic Truth website for some ideas. If you can’t get involved actively, you can always pray or make a donation. Why not do something to support the Pro-Life movement today? Maybe you can be the next “Joe”.