Miracle Babies, Priest

ALICIA COLON

A photograph that accompanied the top headline on the Drudge Report at one point Monday looked very familiar to me. It showed two tiny feet peeking through the fingers of a hand, and I thought at first that it was a typical anti-abortion photo that marchers carry at pro-life marches.

In fact, it was a photo of Amilia Taylor, born four months ago at 22 weeks gestation, weighing only 10 ounces. She is believed to be the only baby born at less than 23 weeks to have survived. Amilia now weighs four pounds, and doctors are preparing to release her from Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami. She is now being called "the miracle baby."

Last Saturday, I held a baby that looked very much like tiny Amilia. She was just as much a miracle — she had escaped being aborted thanks to Father Benedict Groeschel. The world-renowned Catholic priest was the guest speaker at a fund-raiser for Good Counsel Homes, which he cofounded with Chris Bell in 1985 to help single pregnant women choose life for their babies and themselves. The group's five residences have provided shelter for more than 3,500 women and children.

One of the house managers from the Rosebank Good Counsel Home brought the tiny baby to me and pointed to her smiling mother sitting at one of the tables. I looked down at the perfect sleeping child only weeks old and knew her fate had been just as precarious as Amilia's. Thanks to the founders of Good Counsel Homes, her life is now filled with hope.

In 2004, Father Groeschel was hit by a car and gravely wounded in Orlando, Fla. He miraculously survived, but none of us at the luncheon knew how close he had come to dying. Looking somewhat frail but with a strong voice, he said: "The night of the accident, I had no blood pressure, heartbeat, or pulse for about 20 minutes. The doctors were understandably going to give up, but the priest with me, Father Lynch, begged them to go on and after a while, they found a heart beat and kept me going. A few days later, I almost died of toxins that spilled into my system. Then two weeks later, I suffered heart failure while I was on a respirator."

Then he laughed and continued: "The doctors said I wouldn't live and I lived. They said I wouldn't think, and I think. They said I wouldn't speak, and I speak, They said I wouldn't walk, and I walk. They said I wouldn't dance, but I never could anyway, so that was all right." His survival is truly a miracle.

Father Groeschel then grew serious and started talking about why we were all there. "It's necessary for all of you to speak out strongly about abortion," he said. "I was close friends with Mother Teresa, who said, ‘Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.'"

He then expressed dismay about what is happening in our Catholic institutions, which no longer seem very Catholic, and Catholic politicians who are opposed to everything the church teaches. He mentioned Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who considers herself to be a devout Catholic but supports abortion rights. "You can't be a Catholic and support abortion," Father Groeschel said with emphasis. But rather than rail against Ms. Pelosi and the other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, such as Senators Kerry and Kennedy, Father Groeschel expressed concern for those who abandon their faith. As an example, he cited the first Catholic Supreme Court chief justice, Roger Taney, who went against his religion and joined his colleagues in the awful Dred Scott decision, which declared that blacks were property. "That decision precipitated the Civil War, which cost the lives of more Americans than all the wars put together, including World War I," he said. He then asked the crowd to join him in a prayer for these politicians who "I'm afraid are in danger of losing their souls."

Those of us who respect life are frequently maligned as being out of touch with the "real world," so it's rather ironical that the miraculous birth of Amilia Taylor and the picture of her minuscule feet is creating such a shocking response. Father Peter Byrne, moderator of the Staten Island Respect Life Vicariate, told me that Amilia's survival "brings attention to the reality of life within the womb because it forces us to realize that babies of this age and size are regularly killed." Legally, I might add.

Visit a Good Counsel home. Miracles happen there all the time.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Alicia Colon. "Miracle Babies, Priest." The New York Sun (February 23, 2007).

This article is reprinted with permission from The New York Sun © 2007. All rights reserved.

THE AUTHOR

Alicia Colon writes for The New York Sun.

Copyright © 2007 New York Sun




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