After EWTN interview at March for Life, Maria Conley has sent pro-life prayer cards across country

By Joan Kurkowski-Gillen

Correspondent

May 13, 2013

In this video, EWTN personality Teresa Tomeo interviews St. Patrick Cathedral parishioner Maria Conley at the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25. The interview is at 1:02:10.

When Maria Conley and other members of the Respect Life group at Holy Family Church decided to design a parish Prayer for Life card, she never thought the beautifully worded petition would someday capture national attention.

But that’s what happened when the mother of three met author and syndicated Catholic talk show host Teresa Tomeo at this year’s National March for Life in Washington, D.C. Attending the annual gathering, which commemorates the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, is a family tradition for Conley and her daughters, Carolyn, Madeleine, and Adrienne.

Conley had walked midway down Constitution Avenue with her sister, Trisha, when another sister in Fort Worth, watching the Jan. 25 March on EWTN, spotted them in the crowd and called their cell phone.

“She mentioned Teresa Tomeo was nearby so we stopped to see her,” she remembers.

Encouraged by other Texans in the group, the marcher approached the well-respected broadcaster with a handful of prayer cards.

“I handed her one of the cards and explained that we said the prayer at weekend Masses after the Prayer of the Faithful,” recalls Conley, who is now a member at St. Patrick Cathedral. “A minute later I was being interviewed. It was totally thrilling.”

Tomeo asked her guest to read The Prayer for Life which was authored by Father Joe Pemberton, five years ago. Now rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, he crafted the prayer while pastor of Holy Family Church.

Looking into the camera, Conley recited the brief devotion for EWTN’s national audience:

 

The front of the prayer card depicts a statue of the Holy Family found inside Holy Family Church in Fort Worth.

Lord Jesus, come to our aid and bring an end to the horror of abortion and all the evils that flow from it.

May every human being love and honor all human life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

May we, Your disciples, always choose the Gospel of Life. Through the Eucharist, the great sacrament of life, let us be your instrument in bringing an end to the culture of death.

 

“Teresa thought the prayer was wonderful and asked for my email address,” Conley recounts. “She was sure people would want a copy of the prayer card.”

The broadcaster was right. Since returning home from the March for Life, Conley has fielded more than 40 requests for the prayer card from EWTN viewers across the country.

One listener in Washington State is starting a Gabriel Project ministry to help women in crisis pregnancies and wants to say the prayer at meetings. Another is giving the card to her 92-year-old mother in Smryna, Georgia.

“Requests are coming in from people who want to use it in formation classes, retreats, Confirmation prep, and 40 Days for Life groups,” Conley says. “Some people just want to post it on the refrigerator or keep it in their purse.”

Organizers are sending out the prayer as a portable document format (PDF) so recipients can make their own copies. The prayer was not copyrighted.

“Fr. Joe said anyone who wants to use the prayer or the image on the card is welcome to it,” she adds explaining the artwork depicts a statute found inside Fort Worth’s Holy Family Church.

Conley is surprised the quick exposure given the prayer on EWTN and Catholic radio stations caused it to “go viral.” She thinks the prayer’s powerful wording is part of the appeal.

“I wasn’t surprised people liked the prayer. But I am amazed what a few minutes on the television and radio can do,” she explains. “The prayer describes abortion with the right words calling it “horrible” and “evil.” And it acknowledges that we can’t change this culture without God’s help.”

Fr. Pemberton says his words are the fruit of careful reflection and thought.

“It came from my heart and if it draws people to a better understanding of life issues and the power of prayer, so be it,” the long-time pastor concedes.

Saying the prayer is a way everyone can become involved in promoting life.

“Some people may not be comfortable standing on the street (outside an abortion clinic) but they are very willing to pray,” he points out. “The prayer is reaching a lot of folks in a lot of places and that’s wonderful.”

EWTN-Screenshot-for-BUTTON.jpgWhen Maria Conley and other members of the Respect Life group at Holy Family Church decided to design a parish Prayer for Life card, she never thought the beautifully worded petition would someday capture national attention.

Published (until 5/13/2063)