Today June 25, 2007 is the memorial of the death of a truly inspirational man, Bishop Austin Vaughan. My husband and I were inspired by Bishop Vaughan’s witness as a Bishop and as a pro-life leader.
John Burger in his tribute to Bishop Vaughan writes: “In December 1987 Bishop Vaughan received an invitation to join Operation Rescue, which had just begun its nonviolent protests aimed at shutting down abortion clinics.
He did not respond immediately, but, after a virtual blackout of the abortion debate during the 1988 presidential primary campaign in New York, he decided that he had to do something to make abortion an issue for voters and candidates. Along with New York Giants star Mark Bavaro and 500 others, he was arrested at an upper East Side Manhattan abortion clinic in May 1988. He went on to be arrested at least eight other times in Dobbs Ferry, Albany, Amherst, N.Y., Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium. He served prison sentences of up to 10 days for the actions.”
Father Frank Pavone writes about Bishop Vaughan’s decision to be involved in these rescues:
“I have never broken the law. I have never been arrested. Yet I often think of Bishop Austin Vaughan, auxiliary bishop of New York, who in the last years of his life of faithful service to the Church, was arrested and imprisoned many times for rescuing unborn babies. He saw what Christians were doing across the country as they peacefully blocked the doors of abortion mills to put their bodies between the babies and the instruments of death. Then one day he looked at his episcopal ring, and realized that the three figures on it — St. Peter, St. Paul, and the Lord Jesus — had all been arrested and imprisoned! He no longer hesitated to do so too, if it was the price to pay for saving lives.”
Bishop Vaughan was also known for his tireless defense of the faith. For instance, after Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, many voices both outside and sadly inside the Church spoke out against him and this teaching. Bishop Vaughan was one of a small group of Theologians who frequently defended Pope Paul and this teaching. There were numerous other instances of his strong defense of the faith.
Here are three links to help us remember this kind man whose favorite saying was “Whatever God Sends” and who lived by this motto: “To Jesus through Mary”.
We received the following note from Kathy Reilly: Fr. Thomas Morrette has begun the cause for his canonization, but you know how slow things like this can go. It is our hope to obtain letters of testimony from people who knew him, worked with him and were imprisoned with him. He truly was a saintly man of the clothe, a saint who humbly walked among us.
She gave us an address that you can write to for prayer cards – I’m sure you could send any testimonies that you might have to this address too:
Bishop Vaughan Prayer Cards
11 J Street
Schenectady, NY 12305-1133
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