By Mary Ellen Douglas
It seems the pro-life family has experienced so many difficult and trying problems in the last short whole. Two million babies killed in their mothers’ wombs, the arrival of chemical abortions, attacks on born children, and the threats and reality of euthanasia. But God in His infinite mercy chose to bless us with the happiest event He could bestow on his suffering faithful, a call to His priesthood for one of our own.
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, said that when Louis Di Rocco announced that he would leave us to follow a priestly vocation he embraced him with joy. The rest of us were joyful too, but we quietly wondered what we would do when the Christmas Cake man, the Life Chain man and the UN man, left CLC to be God’s man. As always the Lord had all of our worries well in hand, and others have been moved to try to take up Louis’ work.
I was especially blessed when Louis was accepted by the Kingston Archdiocese to study in Rome and return here to my beautiful city to serve as a priest. I looked forward to September 30th when all of Louis’ family and so many from the pro-life family would come to Kingston to rejoice in Louis’ ordination.
The 30th was a perfect September day, sunny, cool and bright – much like every day in B.C., so John Hof tells us. St. Mary’s Cathedral is a beautiful, gothic church which was built in 1842, and in its 158-year history countless priests have been ordained in the sanctuary, each one a great gift to the whole community. But on this date, in the year 2000, the family, friends, community and pro-lifers welcomed our newest priest, Father Louis DiRocco.
Father Richard Whalen intoned the litany as we all responded. The music was heavenly. Father Louis, of course, had chosen his favourite Mozart pieces, Laudate Dominum and Ave Verum Corpus. Margaret Purcell, who was sitting next to me, kept insisting that Puccini is better, referring lightheartedly to the ongoing rivalry between her and Father Louis about who is the greater composer. The soloists Elzbieta Milczarek and Catherine Slovak sang like angels. Professor Norman Brown accompanied with the organ.
With the happy sounds of children in the background, Archbishop Spence laid his hands on Louis, and he became a priest forever. It was a very moving moment for me as all the priests of the archdiocese came one after the other, first to lay their hands on Father Louis and later to embrace their fellow priest.
Mary Ellen Douglas is national organizer of