LifeRunners and Padre Pio: What is the Connection?

I went to the Padre Pio Shrine in Barto, Pa seeking inspiration.

How could I summarize St Padre Pio? 

He had many spiritual gifts; the stigmata, bi-location, gifts of prophecy, and visions. Some say he was cantankerous and would throw people out of the confessional, yet pilgrims still sought him out, desiring edification. He was intense, yet known for the carefree mantra, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

There is much to say about such an enigmatic man!

But while at the shrine I ran into Deb Mirenda, co-captain of the Philadelphia Chapter of Life Runners. She reminded me that Padre Pio was the patron saint of the unborn. And, as it turns out Padre Pio had an active role in the creation of Life Runners too. 

In 2006, Pat Castle, had an incredible encounter with Padre Pio, Pat was participating in the Pikes Peak Ascent race, a marathon up a mountain. Just when the going got tough, Padre Pio gave him encouraging words which strengthened his resolve to push forward, finishing the race under his goal of three hours! 

After this encounter, Pat co-founded Life Runners. Today Life Runners is the largest pro-life running/walking group in the world with 16,841 teammates in 40 nations. Teammates have the shared goal of “crossing the finish line that ends abortion.” Teammates wear bright blue shirts with the Jeremiah 1:5 message, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew You….”

The word of God on these shirts often speaks to people who happen to read them while running or walking by. 

Deb shared a few such stories; 

 “While running the Philly Marathon, Ted (my husband) was a couple miles into the early part of the race and having a lil mental convo w/ himself along the lines of: ‘why am I doing this; why did God put me here, etc. And Lo-n-behold, he feels a tap on his shoulder from another runner, “Hey, what’s this ‘Remember the Unborn’ message about?” … So they ran the next couple miles together sharing a Pro-life conversation. The guy wound up joining and has been a member of the Philly team since. 
 

Another time while a few of us were doing the Valley Forge Revolutionary 5mile Run, another runner noticed our shirts & shared with us that her mom was a young single mom when she had her & thus the Protection of Unborn Children is a very personal cause for her. She promptly joined and is a consistent teammate wearing her shirt and sharing the message.”

On another occasion, a woman saw the shirt and was inspired to join because her mother had become pregnant with her when she was just 15 years old in 1975. The woman shares, “When I run, I remember that some people advised my Mom to have an abortion. I’m grateful that she and my Dad wanted me to be born, even though the pregnancy was unplanned. They married in the summer of 1975 and celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in July.”

Such beautiful stories of the power of the word of God to evangelize! And as Catholics, we often forget that many people are hungry and looking for faith. If we make ourselves available we allow the holy spirit to use us. Padre Pio was a man that engaged in a spiritual battle every day. His weapons were prayer, the sacraments, and the rosary. 

As we begin this 40 days for Life in Philadelphia we are called to engage in this battle too. But Life Runners proves that fighting for life can be fun! And we don’t engage in culture wars alone. We need teammates.

Padre Pio said his ministry would begin after his death. And he seems to be good on his word. I think if there is one thing to add to his “Pray, hope, don’t worry” it might just be and get moving

Interested in joining Life Runners? Visit: www. LifeRunners.org. 

Running is Optional! But jerseys are required and Faith/prayer is necessary!

Watch an interview with Pat Castle about his encounter here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f_dRVoUl1c

Here is also an article I wrote about the Liferunners Chapter in Philadelphia during the 20216 Philadelphia marathon.

Abortion March Counter Demonstration Photo Gallery

Here are photos from several locations that were used with permission from those who were present.

COMING SOON TO BOOKSHELVES NEAR YOU: ABBY JOHNSON’S TEN YEARS OF PRO-LIFE INVOLVEMENT

Many may recall Abby Johnson’s memoir Unplanned that became to focus of her Walk Away story from the abortion industry. It was also turned into a movie in 2019 that got many people talking and brought her story to life.

During the state March for Life in Harrisburg, PA, it was revealed that Abby Johnson will pick up right where she left off from her debut book.

In her forthcoming novel, Fierce Mercy Abby will reflect on her first decade of her involvement in the pro-life movement while also sharing lessons that can be applied in everyday life,

The book is set to be released in March of 2022, but you can pre-order it here.

A Tribute to One of God’s Warrior’s, Judy Alciatore

 

Judy

I was so saddened the other day when I opened Facebook to find a message from Judy’s husband, Paul, telling us that that Judy had passed away.  I know she was on Facebook posting the day before, so it was truly a shock to hear. 

Judy was a true pro-life warrior.  I only knew Judy through Facebook, but her posts, especially her poems certainly touched me, and I felt that I knew her my whole life.  If you’ve ever read any of her poems, you know she was very close to Our Lord.  Below are a few of her pro-life poems. I’ve included a link to her page on Facebook, God’s poetry,  here so you can read more of her work.

Judy’s Poetry

NATIONAL MARCH FOR LIFE TO BE HELD ON EVE OF ROE V WADE ANNIVERSARY

Some things to keep in mind when planning your trip:

  1. Keep checking the March for Life Foundation’s website for event before, during, and after the March for Life
  2. Plan ahead to book your hotel before all rooms are filled whether traveling alone or with a small or large group
  3. Local pro-lifers invite to pray outside of DC Planned Parenthood the morning of the march and the next day from 9AM to noon
  4. There are two conferences if traveling with your college or high school group. One is hosted by Students for Life of America and another to be hosted by Georgetown Right to Life. More information will be available at a later time when released.

Don’t forget to start planning to attend the annual event. More details will be passed on as it becomes available.

In the meantime, read about my experience from January 2021.

A Salute To God’s Advocate Somewhere Around The Throne – Pastor Bruce Rivers

Another pro-life warrior has earned their wings!  Below is a message from Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr., Director and Founder of  L.E.A.R.N., on the passing of Pastor Bruce Rivers.  I’ve always enjoyed reading his Facebook posts and will miss seeing them. Viewing information for Pastor Rivers is listed below.  Please keep his family in your prayers.  

Above is a picture of my departed friend and co-laborer Pastor Bruce Rivers. Pastor, Husband, Father, Pro-life activist, and Preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am still grieving and pondering his departure. Yes, God has the final say and our heavenly Father has so profoundly let Pastor Rivers and myself know that the future would be changing, and the patterns of engagement and fellowship would not be the same.

Walk For Life San Francisco is a yearly event and unknowingly would be the last time I would fellowship with God’s resounding spokesperson. As those who know him you heard Pastor Rivers before you saw him and that commanding uproarious sound so often brought me great joy to hear. Whether through song or great exhortations in the word you were divinely drawn to Pastor Bruce Rivers and its grossly understated that I will miss him!

There In San Francisco as I have done for nearly 16 years after sharing my heart with Gods chosen vessels, I headed down Market Street to march along with the other marchers. Normally upon reaching the end of the march I and Regina quickly head to the pick-up point for a ride or we decide to walk back to the hotel where we are staying. Regina had to stay in New Jersey due to health issues (where I would join her upon my return home with the same issues). I was walking with a young pro-life activist whose first name is Thai and my newly found protégé would be my transportation back to where I was staying. This time it was different. For The Very First Time I stopped And Stayed At The Finish Line Of The March. Why? I didn’t know at the time. I felt compelled to do so. Soon I would find that God would be sharing a special message he wanted me to share with Pastor Rivers @ the Finish Line, but as it turns out it was more for me and the rest of our fellowship.

As I stood conversing and fellowshipping with the crowd the Holy Spirit repeatedly kept reminding me that I was standing at the finish line. In-between greetings and conversations I suddenly felt Gods presence and at the same time heard the voice of my committed comrade yelling my name. As I turned initially, I heard Pastor Rivers say, “that he was looking for me and that he would not travel this far to come here to San Francisco and not see me”.  As Pastor Bruce said those words God then spoke to me and said, “Tell Pastor Rivers that we may not see each other when we would like to but we will see each other at The Finish Line!

I finally got around to sharing that word. Thank God!  As always Pastor Rivers had the means to tape what I just shared with you. You will also hear him say just before I finally say to him what God said to share, “I got to go home”.   The portion I am referring to is at 29:10  in this link .

No, I had absolutely, positively no inkling that it would be the last time I would hear Pastor Rivers distinct voice and receive a “sugar bear” embrace!

Upon receiving the first text of his condition last Friday there was the request to pray. I had just come from my prayer time and immediately called on the name of the Lord. While walking and praying with my wife the second call let me know my friend had transitioned and I was overtaken with great grief and felt ignored and distant from our Heavenly Father. I sat in the chair some time then God reminded me of the last time we were together and what the Father said to tell him and those with us.  God knew then I would need His word of consolation! Truly on this day I can with all assurance say this, “That the next time I see Pastor Bruce Rivers will be @ The Finish Line and I will be there!” Make it your destiny to greet us there! Jesus makes that possible!

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Public Viewing:

Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 10:30 am (PST) to Noon (PST), Mount Moriah Baptist Church, 21372 South Reynolds Ave., Dos Palos, CA

Memorial Service:

Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 12:30 pm (PST)
Mount Moriah Baptist Church
21372 South Reynolds Ave.
Dos Palos, CA 93620

Please send all flower arrangements to:

Mount Moriah Baptist Church
21372 South Reynolds Ave.
Dos Palos, CA 93620

or

Allen Mortuary
247 North Broadway
Turlock, CA 95380

 Family and friends are encouraged to wear blue; this was his favorite color.

Despite Bitter Cold, First Save in Philly

The following is from an email blast sent by Dr. Monique Ruberu. Scroll to the end of the blog to know how you can get involved with 40 Days for Life Philly.

A woman walked out of P.P. at approximately 4pm today.Gerry asked her if she would take some literature.He stated “we are here for the mom and the baby” .She replied “I know I just canceled my appointment.” As she walked away she told Gerry and mark their prayets were answered !!! BABY SAVED ON DAY 1 !!   Thanks to every one who stood in the cold and prayed today.

Tomorrow is going to be a crazy cold and rainy one – we’ll check if they are open – Pat and I will be out there if so…

come fill in remaining hours : 

Friday 2/19:

12th: 2-4, 4

777: 7-9,9-11, 11-1

tuesday 2/23:

12th: 8-10,12-2, 2

777: 9,10-12,2

Visit here to sign up for PWC

Visit here to sign up for PP

Leadership Change for Knights of Columbus

On Friday, the Knights of Columbus board of directors have elected, Patrick Kelly to succeed Carl Anderson as the new Supreme Knight of the largest Catholic fraternity of the world.

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, started out as an organization to foster Catholic manhood while helping fatherless families who have no breadwinner present. Today, the order has nearly 2 million members in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Poland, Lithuania, France, and Ukraine.

Those who have attended the March for Life in DC or on a local level would notice the order’s signature Defend Life from the order that is proudly carried throughout the rally and even March by individuals.

Kelly was instrumental in the order’s ultrasound initiative that started in 2009 with a goal to have one ultrasound in every 50 states in the United States by 2019. It was successful that he accomplished that goal within a ten year span.

In addition to the ultrasound initiative, Kelly launched the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” program that countered the global pandemic last March.

Kelly will begin his Supreme Knight tenure on Monday, March 1st. Anderson, a twenty year leader of the organization is stepping down as he will adhere to the by-laws of the organization to step down when reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Join the Knights of Columbus

For Catholic men 18 and over in good standing you are called to be a member of the organization and be a part of an organization that will foster manhood and a stronger faith. To join, visit here and use promo code MCGIVNEY2020 for one year of free membership.

These Liberties We Hold Sacred

The outgoing Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus has recently came out with a new book that is hot off the press. It features a collection of his essays, speeches, and even articles that defends Freedom of Religion. Place your order here.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF LILA ROSE’S BOOK

Lila Rose is about to add another title to her name… author.

In a post on Instagram, she has confirmed that she will be releasing her debut novel.

Her novel, as she recalled in the post was “15 years in the making”.

Her hope is to equip young pro-lifers with the tools they need to stand for life through all walks of their lives. She also shares her struggles during her advocacy. At the same time, her triumphs and victories.

The book will be released on May 4th of this year. You can pre-order your copy or two now here.

Praying Outside of Planned Parenthood; Protected By My Guardian Angel

Today, while everyone was home due to the virtual March for Life, I was in our nation’s capital for a big weekend.

I got there early and met a couple of local regulars.

A few minutes later, 100 college students and regional coordinators from Students for Life came out and help packed the sidewalk. 

I led the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As we were transitioning into the rosary, a young man dropped off his girlfriend and taunted verbal and even hateful things at us. It was tempting to stop the praying. However, I kept going without stopping like a train on full speed to its destination. I even felt that my Guardian Angel was watching over me as that same man made threats to bring a gun and unload bullets on me and fellow pro-lifers. 

Thankfully everyone kept the faith while their composure and we managed to have an eventful day on the sidewalk filling it with love, mercy, and even hope as it lies only a mile from one of the most beautiful Basilicas in the country on the grounds of Catholic University of America. 

The devil is real and he knows that his time is short. His weapons are vices and principalities. Ours are prayers, works of service and mercy, and even the Eucharist. 

We must step up our game to crush Satan.