Respect Life

For more information on Respect Life, contact:

Beverly Crowley or Bunny Smithson at:

The Respect Life Ministry, through prayer, education, witness and advocacy, promotes respect and protection for all human life from conception to natural death. The Respect Life Committee meets the last Thursday of each month at 4:30 pm in the Cry Room.

June 23rd : The Respect Life Ministry invites all parishioners to join them as they pray the Rosary on the steps of the historic courthouse in Fernandina next Saturday, June 23rd at 12 o’clock to ask for God’s protection and preservation of marriage – the life-long faithful partnership between a man and a woman for their good and the continuation of humanity. This is part of a nationally coordinated effort of the America Needs Fatima campaign where it is expected that 1,000 Rosary rallies will take place beginning at noon Saturday across the United States.

Please join members of the St. Francis of Assisi Respect Life Ministry as they pray the Rosary at Planned Parenthood, Powers Avenue, Jacksonville on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Meet after the 9 a.m. Mass in the parking lot to carpool. For more information contact Beverly Crowley at

The Baby Bottle Campaign was a great success thanks to everyone who so generously participated. We collected a total of $4,416.39 which will be distributed to three local pregnancy centers that provide non-abortion pregnancy services.


In a recent article published in Religion News Service, the Jesuit priest and journalist, Fr. Thomas J. Reese, suggested that the pro-life movement abandon its efforts to make abortion illegal and, through contraception, target a limit of 100,000 abortions per year. Strangely, he cited the recent vote for legalization of abortion in Ireland as a sign for the need for this new strategy. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities responded clearly, courageously and forcefully to the priest’s scary back-door support for continued abortion: “In addition to rejecting the Church’s teaching that contraception is morally wrong and… can be medically harmful to women…a ‘lesser’ evil, can never be chosen.” He compared Reese’s suggestion to those in the mid-19th century who

proposed “amelioration”, or penalizing owners, as a way to reduce slavery. Even one abortion is too many. “Abortion is a grave injustice …may we never give in to the culture of death or lose faith in our efforts to build a culture of life in our world.”

For more information on pro-life activities in our parish, contact Beverly Crowley at

Ireland Votes to Legalize Abortion

On May 26th, Irish citizens voted to legalize abortion, ending Ireland’s legacy as one of the world’s most pro-life nations. The pro-life-Save-the-8th campaign said in a statement: “The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child–it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist. What Irish voters did is a tragedy of historic proportions. However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority supports it. The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognized by the Irish state. Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation. If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, we will oppose that as well. Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known.”

Our Lady of Knock, please pray for Ireland.

“President Donald Trump is governing as the most pro-life president in our nation’s history and has diligently and successfully gone about fulfilling his promises to the pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him, and it has been a privilege to stand with him to defend the innocent unborn.” (Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of SBA List)

On May 22nd, President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker at Susan B Anthony List’s 11th Annual Gala in Washington D.C. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, received the SBA List’s 2018 Distinguished Leader Award. Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana gave special remarks.

The Susan B. Anthony List is a non-profit organization that seeks to reduce and ultimately eliminate abortion in the United States by supporting anti-abortion politicians, primarily women.

Fetal Heartbeat Bill Becomes Law in Iowa Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed into law the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits doctors from performing an abortion after the detection of the baby’s heartbeat. The law would require any women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound to determine whether a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a milestone usually detected around the sixth week of pregnancy. It would also ban all persons from knowingly acquiring, providing, transferring, or using fetal remains in Iowa. The legislation does make some exceptions in both cases. Previously, abortion was legal in Iowa until the 20th week of  pregnancy. The new law is the strongest abortion regulation in the country. The law will most certainly be challenged in court and is unlikely to go into effect without approval from the Supreme Court, where it could potentially force the justices to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

(from an article in CNA/EWTN News)

Alfie Evans A Martyr for Religious Freedom

Lest we forget why our forefathers left their homelands and founded the free and independent United States

Even after a direct appeal by Pope Francis and the granting of Italian citizenship, 23-month old Alfie Evans of Liverpool, England, who suffered from an undiagnosed degenerative nerve condition, was denied by the British High Court of Appeals the freedom to travel to Rome to be cared for at the Vatican owned Gesu Bambino Hospital for Children. The Italian government had a medically equipped military plane ready to rush Alfie to Italy as soon as the court made its ruling. But, the court’s decision was that the hospital had made its final prognosis and that even after removal of life support and Alfie’s unforeseen ability to breathe on his own, that prognosis did not warrant further life sustaining care or permission to leave the country. He could only be allowed to go home to die. Alfie died on April 28th in the hospital approximately 100 hours after his breathing apparatus was removed.

Alfie was a baptized Catholic, but he and his parents were denied the right to live according to the tenets of their faith which teaches that life should be sustained with the kind of care that they, and the Vatican hospital in Rome, were willing and able to provide, and that God in His providence is the Lord of Life. Many of those who protested the decision of both the hospital and the court believe that it was the evil result of what happens when government health care providers become the ultimate, unemotional, determiners of who lives and who dies, rather than those persons closest to the patient who are better equipped through their love and compassion, and with appropriate medical information, to make such difficult decisions.

Any health care facility providing abortions in Tennessee will no longer receive any government funding, thanks to a new state law. The amount of state-funded health care will not be cut, just transferred to health care organizations that do not kill the unborn. The Governor signed a bill this week that will soon strip Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities of state funding. The state will now request a federal waiver which allows them to bar TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, from giving money to any abortion facility. Instead of directing funding towards abortionists, TennCare money will now be given to legitimate health care providers.

Tennessee had been indirectly funding abortions by giving nearly $1 million in the past six years to abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood, an organization where abortions have accounted for 94% of its pregnancy services. (From an article in

Americans United for Life says at least 24 states have moved to limit the ability of abortion facilities to use family planning funds.

Bishops Disappointed with Congress’ Inaction on Conscience Protection Act

The chairmen of the U.S. Bishops’ pro-life and religious freedom committees said it was “deeply disappointing” that Congress omitted the Conscience Protection Act from the congressional funding bill for fiscal year 2018.“We call on Congress not to give up until this critical legislation is enacted,” said a March 22 joint statement from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E.Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chair of the Committee for Religious Liberty. The Church leaders said the legislation is “an extraordinarily modest bill that proposes almost no change to existing con- science protection laws on abortion laws that receive wide public and bipartisan support.” They also said it aims to “provide victims of discrimination with the ability to defend their rights in court to help ensure that no one is forced to participate in abortion.” The statement added that those “inside and outside of Congress who worked to defeat” this legislation “have placed themselves squarely into the category of extremists who insist that all Americans must be forced to participate in the violent act of abortion”. (

Equally disappointing, Planned Parenthood will continue to receive $500 million in federal funding annually.

While more than 60 million American lives have been lost through abortion in the last 45 years, the latest data indicates that more than 3 in 4 Americans support serious limitations on legal abortion, with restrictions in place at least at the end of the first trimester. Sixty percent oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, and 83 percent are against supporting abortion in other countries. More than half of millennials believe abortion should be illegal in most circumstances. This positive trend has resulted in more than fifty pro life state bills becoming law in 2017. Among them are an Alabama law that allows health care providers to follow their consciences in refusing to perform abortions and Arkansas laws both banning abortions that selectively target baby girls and requiring standard medical care for babies who survive an abortion. Nebraska passed a law requiring that mothers be informed of perinatal hospice care if their unborn babies are diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly and Wyoming passed legislation ensuring that abortionists allow mothers to see their babies on ultrasound. Kentucky and Iowa became the 20th and 21st states to pass legislation at the state level that would end abortions after five months of pregnancy. Ohio banned abortions targeting babies diagnosed with Down syndrome and Texas passed a fetal burial law ensuring the dignity of unborn children. And there are dozens more in the pipe line for 2018. (from an article in dated Feb 5, 2018)

In a recent article in National Review, the writer boldly declared that if she were pregnant and discovered her baby had Down Syndrome, that child would never see the light of day. Today, ninety percent of Down babies are aborted. To blame is societal pressure, agenda-driven genetic counselling, and culture’s disdain for “imperfection.” Bad enough, but the aborting of Down babies raises the specter of other eugenic horrors. With more sophisticated prenatal testing, we are near the point where abortion may soon be a “choice” that eliminates babies who might develop autism or have some “unwanted” characteristic.

At the time of Roe, abortion was seen generally as limited to those rare circumstances involving rape, incest, serious health risks for the mother, or precarious psychological effects. It quickly expanded. Now, termination is becoming a tool of the new eugenics, which preaches that not only do we have the right to a baby, regardless of our life circumstance and the type of assistance required —“gestational carriers” or more bluntly “wombs for rent,” but they also preach that we have the right to choose exactly the baby we want. Protecting the threatened Down syndrome child is not only a witness to our love for all life but also a bulwark against the culture of death that ultimately threatens us all.

(Notes are adapted from an article in LifeSite News, March 14, 2018)

Senate Fails to Pass 20 Week Abortion Ban by a Vote of 51-46

On January 29, the Senate failed to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, after Democrats filibustered the bill. In a 51–46 vote, the bill failed to make it out of debate and to a final floor vote.

President Donald Trump said: “The vote by the Senate rejects scientific fact and puts the United States out of the mainstream in the family of nations, in which only 7 out of 198 nations, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish and protect life”. Also commenting was Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life who said, “It is a disgrace that our Senate has once again failed to pass a bill that reflects the hearts and minds of the national pro-life consensus.” Senator Lindsay Graham who sponsored the bill said, “I have not given up this fight and I hope you will not either. Together we must press on and continue pushing for protection of the unborn”.

As tens of thousands of Americans marched for life in Washington D.C. Friday, January 19th, the House of Representatives passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which prohibits health care professionals from refusing to give proper care to babies who survive attempted abortions and requires that abortion practitioners immediately take survivors to hospitals for care. It carries criminal penalties if they fail to do so. Also, recently passed was the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. Both bills have yet to be taken up by the Senate. It is expected that the President will sign any pro-life legislation that reaches his desk. (CBN News)

Love Saves Lives

On January 19th, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life, live, from the White House Rose Garden. The President has declared he is committed to protecting the lives of the unborn and said he was enthusiastic about being part of the 2018 March. Previous Republican presidents have delivered remarks to the March for Life via pre-taped video messages or phone calls. Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life said, “Over the past year, the Trump administration has significantly advanced pro-life policy, and it is with great confidence that, under his leadership, we expect to see other pro-life achievements in the years to come. We welcome our 45th President, Donald Trump, to the 45th annual March for Life.” Last year, President Trump called out the media for giving extensive coverage to a pro-abortion march but not to the March for Life, which is the largest pro-life event in the world. The March for Life gathers hundreds of thousands of people every year to call attention to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to the horror of legalized abortion

A Pro Life Christmas Present


“At least two years after the Center for Medical Progress released explosive undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood profited from aborted baby part harvesting, the Department of Justice has finally announced they will investigate Planned Parenthood. The Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden said in a statement, “Over two years ago, citizen journalists at The Center for Medical Progress first caught Planned Parenthood’s top abortion doctors in a series of undercover videos callously and flippantly negotiating the sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains. Since then, two congressional investigations found even deeper wrong doing and confirmed that Planned Parenthood Federation of America, several of their biggest affiliates, and multiple business partners broke the law in a profit-driven scheme to commodify dismembered baby body parts. It is time for public officials to finally hold Planned Parenthood and their criminal abortion enterprise accountable under the law.”

For full article:

Catholic Days at the Capital

The Florida Catholic Bishops have announced that Catholic Days at the Capital will be held January 30-31, 2018. Join Fellow Catholics from across Florida in Tallahassee to put your faith into action. For registration forms, schedule and diocesan coordinator contact information go to

From the Diocesan Center for Family Life

Young adults who are interested in participating in the 2018 March for life in DC should visit the website marchforlifeya/

If you live in Florida or southern Georgia and would like to take a stand for life in the nation’s oldest city, consider the March of Life in St. Augustine scheduled for January 12th- 13th. For more information visit: .

Please join members of our Respect life Ministry as they pray to end abortion outside Planned Parenthood and A Women’s Choice in Jacksonville every Tuesday morning. Car pooling is available. For more info contact Don Douglas at:

Abolish the Death Penalty

On November 30th Cities for Life joins the world-wide movement to abolish the death penalty. This event will be held at two locations in our Diocese to bring information and testimonies to support the end of the death penalty. In Gainesville at St. Patrick’s Church and at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine the programs will begin at 6:30 pm, with the ringing of church bells at 7:30 pm in solidarity. Over 2,000 cities around the world have declared themselves Cities for Life.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta dedicated her life to loving and caring for the most vulnerable of God’s children. One of her most life-affirming quotes is:

“How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Please join other parishioners who pray the Rosary to end abortion on Tuesdays between 10-11 a.m. outside A Woman’s Choice, Jacksonville between 10 a.m., and 12 noon outside Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville. For more information contact Don Douglas at:

The Pontifical Academy for Life Based at the Vatican, its members, including many Americans, are leaders in deepening our understanding of life and protecting it from conception until natural death. Here are some quotes from the address that the Pope gave to the assembly in person at its Annual Meeting three weeks ago:

“We need to understand and answer those recent technological developments in the life sciences that can already manipulate life in ways that were until recently unthinkable”

“Sadly, all over the world, men, women and children suffer, with bitterness and sorrow, from the false promises of technocratic materialism. Christian faith prompts us to take back the initiative.”

“The inspiration for taking back this initiative comes from the Word of God, which shines its light on the beginning of life and on its destiny. The biblical account of Creation needs to be read again and again to be able to appreciate all the breadth and depth of God’s loving gesture that entrusts creation and history to the covenant between man and woman. The recent proposals for restoring the dignity of the person by radically eliminating any difference between the sexes, and, as a result, the covenant between man and woman, is not right.”

“We must also rediscover our sensitivity to the different ages of life, especially for children and the elderly. A society in which human qualities can only be bought and sold, bureaucratically regulated and technologically structured, is a society that has already lost the meaning of life. It will not transmit the meaning of life to its young children, it will not recognize it in elderly parents.”

Please Pray for Life – 40 Days for Life September 27th – November 5th Experts interviewed in the controversial film, ‘Hush: the Documentary,’ which investigates the effects of abortion on women, claim that women aren’t being told the truth about the link between abortion and breast cancer, despite studies that show the claim to be true. At the time the film was produced, there were only five states that required women to be told that there is an increased risk of breast cancer from abortion. Dr. Joel Brind, a professor of human biology and endocrinology who has studied the topic extensively, found a ‘30 percent increased risk of breast cancer for women with abortion histories.’ Dr. Brind, along with three other researchers, published these findings in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 1996. Another expert interviewed in the film, Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, pointed to alarming data that shows a drastic increase in breast cancer among young women. Dr. Ian Gentles, a co-author of the book ‘Complications’ described in the film as the ‘world’s most comprehensive investigation of abortion and women’s health.’ A review of the book ‘concludes that abortion is detrimental in all areas of women’s health, and includes substantive evidence demonstrating the link between abortion and a variety of health problems including breast cancer, infertility, autoimmune disease and mental health problems along with a multitude of other complications.’ ( The Respect Life Ministry will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday, October 26th at 4:30 pm in the Cry Room. New members are welcome

St. Maximilian Kolbe – Patron Saint of families, prisoners, journalists, political prisoners, drug addicts and the pro-life movement.

“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

These were the opening words of the papal decree introducing his beatification.

He was born in 1894 in Poland. Around the age of 10, he asked the Mother of God what was to become of him…“Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white and the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said I would accept them both.” Throughout his life he carried a deep devotion to the Immaculata, the Mother of God, through whom he wished to win the whole world for Christ. He entered a Franciscan seminary and was ordained in Rome in 1918.

Returning to Poland, he began to publish a monthly review, the Knight of the Immaculate. In 1927, he established a new friary which was given the name Niepokalanow, the City of the Immaculate. It became one of the largest friaries in the world, adding a radio station in 1938. A campaign against abortion in the columns of the Knight, seemed to awaken the conscience of the nation. In 1930, he established a Niepokalanow in Nagasaki, Japan. Built on the slopes of Mount Kikosan, the Mugenzai no Sono (the Garden of the Immaculate) sustained no more than a few broken window panes when the atomic bomb leveled the city in 1945. He was arrested in Poland in 1941 and sent to the Auschwitz death camp where he eventually laid down his life for another prisoner on August 14th (feast day). On October 10, 1982, St. John Paul II declared him the patron saint of the twentieth century.

For more information on St. Maximilian Kolbe and the 100th anniversary of his founding of the Militia of the Immaculata, go to


 Jose Arturo Castellanos was a Catholic from El Salvador who, during the Second World War, was sent as a diplomat to Germany and Switzerland. After his country denied his numerous requests to rescue Jews in occupied countries who were facing massive persecution at the hands of the Nazis, he took matters into his own hands. Through courage and cunning, Castellanos helped save 40,000 Jewish people from the Holocaust.

May 3, 2010 Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, recognized Jose Arturo Castellanos as a Righteous Gentile.

In late June 2017, the embassies of Israel and El Salvador to the Holy See held an event in Rome to honor the memory and the work of Jose Arturo Castellanos.

In a press release announcing this event, it was said of Castellanos: “in a time when many remained indifferent to human suffering, he was one of the few heroes who opposed an absolute evil in order to save the lives of thousands of Jews.”

 Today, let us pray for all those men and women who, at great risk to themselves, work throughout the world to end all forms of persecution, suffering and violence perpetrated upon any human being beginning with the most innocent in the womb.

The Church is recognizing that  we all need to give greater  attention to the needs of the  elderly, out of respect for their  inherent dignity.  Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the  UN, made this appeal during a United Nations working group meeting  on Aging, entitled “Measures to Enhance the Contribution of Older  Persons to Social Development”. He said, “A greater focus on the  contribution of older persons should be combined with an enhanced  attention to their needs. Elders among us are disproportionately  susceptible to poverty, ill health, disability, social isolation, violence,  abandonment, abuse, and a lack of access to adequate food, dignified  shelter, quality health care, reliable means of communication, and  nourishing companionship.”

The Respect Life Ministry of St. Francis will begin visiting and spending  time with the elderly in our parish who are homebound, or reside  in assisted living facilities, to pray the Rosary, read with them, particularly  the Bible, or just talk and listen.  If you know of anyone who would welcome such a visit, please contact  Beverly Crowley at: or call Julie in  the office at 904-849-1256.

The Pope’s Tweet: “To defend human life, especially when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.” Charlie Gard (born 4 August 2016) is an English baby with a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which is said to affect only 16 children in the world.

His parents campaigned to keep him alive on life support, despite doctors and judges saying it would cause him “significant harm.” His parents had raised over £1.3 million on the internet to take their son to the United States for treatment.

A legal dispute between Charlie’s parents and the hospital that is treating him resulted in the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights ruling in favor of the hospital and against the parents. The courts decided that it was in Charlie’s best interest that he be given only palliative care and be allowed to die.

On July 3, President Trump tweeted that, “If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

The Vatican issued a statement saying that the Holy Father expressed his closeness to the parents and was praying and “hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their child until the end not be ignored.”

In tragic situations like this, our Catholic faith, and our own understanding of the value of every human life and of the family as the basis of society, makes it clear that the family, those closest to the situation, should be the ones who understand the situation best and who have the primary and final right to make healthcare decisions for those who cannot speak for themselves.

At a Mass to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ordination as an Auxiliary Bishop, Pope Francis said the older generation should not stop striving in their spiritual lives, but that God calls them to be spiritual ‘grandparents’ to young people, who can learn from their experience.

For his homily, Francis preached on the day ’s first reading, which contains the continuation of a dialogue between God and the now elderly Abraham. In this dialogue we hear three imperatives, the Pope said: “Get up! Look! Hope!”

“He was going to go into retirement, in retirement to rest. He started at that age. An old man, with the weight of old age, old age that brings pain, illness. But you, as if you were a young man, get up, go, go!”

“And to us today the Lord says the same: Get up! Look! Hope! He tells us that it’s not time to put our life in closure, not to close our story, not to compile our story. The Lord tells us that our story is open, still: It is open until the end, it is open with a mission. And with these three
imperatives tells us the mission: ‘Get up! Look! Hope!”

The pope reflected that there are some people who might not want the older people around, maybe calling them a “gerontocracy of the Church. ” These people don’t know what they are saying, he explained: “we’re not geriatrics, we’re grandparents.”

( )

Silent No More Awareness is a Campaign whereby Christians make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women and men. The campaign seeks to expose and heal the secrecy and silence surrounding the emotional and physical pain of abortion.

Goals of the Campaign:

• Reach out to people hurt after abortion, encouraging them to attend abortion after-care programs
• Educate the public that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually to women, men and families
• Share personal testimonies of hurt and healing to help others avoid the pain of abortion.

Many women and men are realizing the abortions they were involved in years ago are the source of the physical and emotional problems they have today. The Campaign gives them a forum to help others by sharing the painful consequences of abortion.

The Campaign is a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life.

For more information go to:


From remarks by Vice President Mike Pence at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on June 6, 2017:


“My friends, life is winning in America. Life is winning through the steady advance of science that continues to illuminate more and more when life begins.

Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families, who open their hearts and their homes to children in need.

Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations, like Project Rachel, that give hope and healing to women in cities and towns across America.

And life is winning in America because all of you have stood with those who stand — from the Congress, to the White House, to statehouses across the land — for the sanctity of human life.”


Living in the Image and Likeness of God: Human Dignity and Divine Designs

In accordance with Papal teachings, the bishops of Alaska have released a pastoral letter affirming that all Catholic moral teachings stem from the fundamental belief in the dignity and sanctity of every human life from which flows the Church’s emphasis on the importance of upholding marriage as between one man and one woman, the rational behind robust religious freedom, the role of chastity in human relationships and the Church’s teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. The growing number of social issues today need to be addressed from a faith perspective and require more than a sound byte to adequately outline the theological principles which underpin these beliefs. At the heart of each issue is the need for a proper understanding of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God and is why every human life is sacred, has inherent dignity and why the sanctity of every life must be upheld from conception to natural death. God’s design for the human family and Truth as revealed by Jesus Christ, is something to be discovered by reason – not defined by choice.

The letter may be read in English and Spanish at:

We create homemade “comfort” items which are provided to members of our parish who are home bound or residing in assisted living facilities.  Everyone is welcome and instruction will be provided  for beginners. We meet in the cry room after Mass every Friday from 9:30-11:30 am. For further information, please contact Frances McKee at:

Deacon Brian blessing the beautiful blankets and shawls knitted and crocheted by the Respect Life ladies.


The Respect Life Ministry visits and spends time with the elderly in our parish who are home bound or reside in assisted living facilities to pray the Rosary, read the Bible or just talk and listen. If you know of anyone who would welcome such a visit, please contact Beverly Crowley or Bunny Smithson at: 


The Bishop has created the Office of Human Life and Dignity to advocate for the populations and address the issues that traditionally come under the banner of Respect Life. The director of this new office is May Oliver, formerly the Respect Life Coordinator for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine and a Pregnancy Counselor for Catholic Charities, Caring Choices Program.

Project Isobel  for St. Gerard’s  was started five years ago in honor of a parishioner’s grandmother.  St. Gerard’s is a non-profit maternity home and Christian high school in St. Augustine for young, unwed girls who have made the decision to have their babies. The facility makes sure they receive the proper medical attention they need as well as making sure they attend classes on campus and receive their high school diploma. 

This year the  Women’s Activities made gift bags for the girls for Mother’s Day. Some of the items included are socks, nail polish, shampoo, etc. – nice things to make these ladies feel special for Mother’s Day.  A separate gift of hand crafted baby blanket made by the members of our St. Francis Respect Life Needlework group were also given to the girls. Earlier, the women worked on creating unique flip flops for the girls. Many very generous people have donated items for the girls and their babies.

Our Project Isobel for 2018 was completed on Friday, May 11th, when  a group from St. Francis took 15 Mother’s Day Gift bags, 15 Baby Gift bags and a check for $3000 from the Baby Bottle Campaign to the St. Gerard’s campus. Thank you all for your help in providing a place for these ladies and their babies.

A Message from St. Gerard’s Campus:

A Message from St. Gerard’s Campus: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Mission Parish sponsors Project Isobel through its Respect Life Committee each year. The goal of Project Isobel is to offer the young mothers at St.  Gerard’s a short time of pampering just for themselves. It all happens on the Friday before Mother’s Day each year and it deeply touches the hearts of all who take the pilgrimage all the way out to St. Augustine. For those who support this event with small items and gift cards we thank you. This past week a very special thank you message came from Miss Carol (Caroline Wolff ),the charismatic founder and director of St. Gerard’s. I share this with you now. Project Isobel delivers its gifts two weeks before these young women, some as young as 14 years of age, graduate from the high school program at St. Gerard’s. The graduation is a full throated celebration of success and life. But, this year, that graduation was in financial peril. The Director, staff and young mothers decided to pool all of the gift certificates from St.Francis and lo and behold, they had enough to make this graduation ceremony take place!! Over 300 family and friends gathered to watch 14 young women with their babies in their arms receive their diplomas and then throw their caps in the air. For many families this was the first high school graduation they had ever celebrated. Culminating this ceremony: a young father went up on the stage and proposed to his lady and their child!
These young women were leaving the safe sanctuary that had sheltered them to return to often perilous situations. They were leaving knowing they were loved by a small mission Parish way out in a corner of Yulee. A small mission Parish that reached out from their corner all the way to an unassuming cluster of buildings called St. Gerard’s in a corner of St. Augustine whose soul indeed Magnifies the Lord.
This is the fifth year of Project Isobel. It is my honor to have founded it five years ago in the name of my Grandmother as a tribute to her own courage for Life. I am deeply touched as others come forward to do the work now. Next year, Project Isobel will go parish wide and offer everyone the chance to participate in this moment of Grace. We here at St. Francis have a big wide open heart. Naysayers for Life often criticize those who work to protect LIFE saying there is no real reaching out but rather only noise. We know that not to be true, we at St. Francis, we of the big, wide open heart.
God’s blessing for the support of so many including those outside of St. Francis whose generosity has been there year after year. We thank, also, those who gave to the Baby Bottle Campaign which gifted St. Gerard’s generously this year.

Sandy Pineault- Founder of Project Isobel
Diane Shipper – 2018 Chair for Project Isobel
Beverly Crowley and Bunny Smithson- 2018 Chairs of the Respect Life Ministry at St. Francis Mission Parish.

This story of practical love for life was presented last week at the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life in the Vatican to encourage members and the Holy See in their effort to make life welcomed, nurtured and protected always and everywhere and by everyone.

Many of you know that Project Isobel is near and dear to me and is named for my grandmother. It benefits St.Gerard’s Campus each year for Mother’s Day. This is its fifth year and it is sponsored by the Respect Life Ministry at our parish: St. Francis of Assisi Mission Church in Yulee, Florida. Each year we gift the group of brave young mothers at St. Gerard’s with pampering gifts just for them. We meet them and often their babies in a grace-filled moment. St. Gerard’s is in St. Augustine and is unique in that it provides a Christian high school as well as shepherding these young women through their pregnancies. This year it turns out that with the gift cards we included we were able to sponsor their very special high school graduation. Pictured here are Jim Crowley,a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican (and a member of our Parish and husband of our Parish Respect Life Committee Co-Chair Beverly Crowley) ) presenting a summary of a letter which details Project Isobel and its work. Jim said that the Commission really likes hearing about grass roots endeavors for Life such as St.Gerard’s and Project Isobel. For me, it was the grace that this little Parish project could reach all the way to the hallowed halls of the Vatican. Here is Pope Francis blessing that letter.

Sandra Souza Pineaut


St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Feast Day: April 28th Patron of Mothers, Physicians

and Unborn Children Canonized: May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II

Saint Gianna was a pediatrician and surgeon. During her fourth pregnancy, Gianna developed a condition which doctors said would require an abortion to save her life. She refused and seven days after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, she died. At her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II called Gianna a “significant messenger of divine love”. St. Gianna through your intercession we pray that the world be freed from the culture of death which destroys the life of God’s most vulnerable people!

There were 5400 abortions in Jacksonville in 2017. Let’s pray the Novena to the Holy Innocents to end abortion in 2018.

Pray this novena for 9 consecutive days any time of the year.

Heavenly Father,

“By their wordless profession of faith in your Son, the holy innocents were crowned with life at his birth.” Knowing how precious they are to you and how similar they are to the millions of innocent lives lost through abortion, we call on them to join in our prayer:

1. That all our elected leaders, legislators, and judges may come to acknowledge the humanity of every child in the womb and enact laws and policies to defend them, we pray: Lord, hear our prayer.

2. That everyone throughout the world may be given the light to see beyond all doubt the uniqueness and full humanity of every child who has ever been conceived, we pray: Lord, hear our prayer.

For these intentions and in union with the Holy Innocents, we pray as the Lord Jesus taught us:

“Our Father, who art in heaven…

My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.

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