The power of one

By  Tony Gosgnach, Catholic Register Special
  • October 26, 2007
{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - The life stories of people such as Mother Teresa and Mother Angelica provide models for pro-life supporters in how even one individual, let alone a whole movement, can profoundly change the world for the better in the face of daunting challenges.

That was the inspiring message brought by Raymond Arroyo to an evening in aid of the pro-life organization CHERISH (Citizens Have Equal Rights, Including Silent Humans), held Oct. 17 at St. Jerome’s parish in Brampton. The Dessert Night was co-sponsored by St. Joseph’s Workshop and the Metanoia Community Foundation.

Arroyo is the award-winning host and creator of the international news magazine program The World Over Live, seen on the Eternal Word Television Network. He is also author of the New York Times bestselling book Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles.

In Brampton, Arroyo, who worked as an actor and director among other roles before joining EWTN, had the crowd alternately listening in rapt attention to his dramatic assessments of the state of the battle for life and laughing uproariously at his uncanny imitations of Mother Angelica.

“The nexus, the core of the evil, it seems to me, is the entire question of personhood,” he said in a more sombre moment. “Personhood is increasingly being diminished : we no longer understand who constitutes a person.”

{amazon id='0385510934' align='right'}This evil, he added, needs to be confronted. As an example of how to do it, he pointed to Mother Teresa’s appearance at the 1994 U.S. National Prayer Breakfast, which he attended. The diminutive nun fearlessly declared — directly in front of abortion advocates then U.S. president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary — that abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today. The Clintons, mused Arroyo, sat stonily like “wax figures in Madame Tussaud’s Museum.”

Mother Angelica also epitomized this kind of fearlessness, said Arroyo, by founding — literally with not a penny in the bank — the international EWTN empire, which frequently broadcasts pro-life programming. Her order of the first $2.5-million satellite transmitter was made on an empty account. Yet, thanks to a series of miracles that included the reception of a last-second $600,000 donation just as the truck carrying the transmitter was about to pull away, the network became a reality.

It is stories such as these that pro-life activists need to take to heart as they go about the seemingly insurmountable task of challenging the culture of death.

“As bleak as the picture looks at times in this moment in time, this (pro-life) side is winning : There are wonderful signs out there that I think we all too often miss : There will be legions of young people who will take this message over. It will grow and it will prosper.

“This is not a time to retreat and go into your bunker, to cry or get upset,” he concluded. “It’s time to redouble your effort and trust God all the more.”

Arroyo was greeted with a standing ovation at the end of his address and a long lineup at the subsequent book signing.

(Gosgnach is a freelance writer in Hamilton, Ont.)

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