Albury became the pro-life capital of Australia over the Australia Day weekend when 600 people attended Family Life International’s (FLI) national conference at the Lake Hume Resort. This event was headlined by New York’s Monsignor Philip Reilly, who is the spiritual leader of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants worldwide apostolate, and Steve Mosher, who is the President of the Population Research Institute, an organisation that draws attention to population control programs throughout the world. Conference attendees participated in seminars presented by priests, religious, doctors, lawyers, apologists, academics and other pro-life leaders with special expertise.
FLI’s Executive Director in Australia Paul Hanrahan said:
“This national conference has achieved record numbers and inspired a new enthusiasm amongst those in this aggressively secular country who are daily battling against the insidious anti-life forces. There was a consistent thread running through all the presentations that we need to courageously present the truth with love; whether it is about the evils of contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual unions mimicking marriage or unethical scientific research”
The conference was opened on Friday morning by FLI Australia’s Patron, Bishop Julian Porteous, who said that people who support the gospel of life need to remind Australian society that it is running on the ‘credit’ of our culture’s Christian roots, and that this credit is fast running out. He thanked and blessed the families present for entering into the civilizational battle between the culture of life and the culture of death.
Topics considered during the three days of talks and panel discussions included:
The Real Presence Conquers the Demonic Presence (Fr Brancik)
Euthanasia and the Natural Law (Barrister Michael McAuley)
Demographic Winter is Coming (American academic Steve Mosher)
Marriage as the Pivot of Civilisation (educator Eamonn Keane)
Issues with Pre-Natal Testing (Dr Deirdre Little)
…and many others.
Each part of Lake Hume Resort’s sizeable conference facilities were renamed for the duration of the conference. There was the St Gerard Majella room and balcony, Our Lady of Guadalupe theatre and the Infant of Prague lecture room. Holy Mass was offered twice each morning by the local and travelling priests who provided spiritual guidance, pastoral care and topical contributions at the conference (including Fr Gregory Jordan SJ, Fr Terence Mary Naughtin OFM Conv, Fr Scot Armstrong and Rev Dr Peter Murphy). Everywhere one turned there was a priest or religious sister standing nearby.
There was a large contingent of about 120 children at the conference who had special activities arranged for them by a number of dedicated carers, whilst parents could attend the talks in a neighbouring room. In between the seminars there was a joyful buzz at the lunch and dinner tables within the resort as the participants shared stories, made new friends and built new networks of cooperation that will serve the pro-life movement long into the future.
Saturday night’s gala dinner was addressed by Monsignor Reilly and he received rousing applause for his global ministry of prayer outside abortion mills. He has received awards, recognition and legitimate plaudits from around the world. However, Monsignor Reilly actually counts the conversion of hearts he has witnessed on the streets as the single most satisfying reward for him and Helpers in their ongoing daily prayer mission at abortion mills. During his keynote address he spoke of the long gathering plans implemented by the enemies of human life and the culmination of their agenda in the American Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade. He described 22 January 1973 (the date of that decision) as the point in time when ‘Western civilisation came to an end’. His parting message echoed the words of Pope John Paul II in that young people especially must not be afraid to proclaim the Gospel Life in honesty and love.
Paul Hanrahan commented:
“This conference proves that unity of purpose and vision can be brought to the prolife movement in Australia. When our faith and the Church’s unchangeable teachings inform our conscience on the life issues then all of our individual efforts will be complementary. Students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, priests, lay administrators and other professionals who attended our conference received the full coherent message that FLI has always stood for. Now we can each go forth boldly to convey this total pro-life message in our parishes, workplaces and families.” Mr Hanrahan continued, “Our organisation will continue to promote the ‘total approach’ to pro-life issues which was so eloquently and faithfully espoused by our founder, the late Fr Paul Marx. This means we will not compromise at all, even in the face of creeping secular persecution, on all of the pro-life concerns. Particularly, we will defend with every ounce of our strength the magisterial teachings of the Church and, in particular, the lessons laid out in that prophetic document Humanae Vitae.”
People turned up in droves to support the Gospel of Life at Family Life International’s National Conference, held in Albury from January 26-29. Pictured at the conference’s gala dinner are (from left) Peta Evans (Albury Helper of God’s Precious Infants), Mons. Philip Reilly (New York based global spiritual leader of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants), Vera Mosher and Steve Mosher (President of the Population Research Institute), conference organiser Maria Campos, Chris Hanrahan and Paul Hanrahan (Executive Director of FLI Australia).