Excerpts from Calvary in Pinellas Park

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Calvary in Pinellas Park

By Fredi D'Alessio

I will never forget my pilgrimage to 'calvary' in Pinellas Park, Florida on behalf of my sister Terri and her family. I was so very blessed to have been able to be there to support them and to advocate for Terri's right to life. I cherish them and the people who stood in solidarity with them, mostly having come from long distances. Of the many fine people I was privileged to meet, I remember with special fondness a young family of eight from Ohio who put aside every other concern and without much planning hurriedly loaded their van with bare essentials and began the long drive to Pinellas Park.

Along with harboring warm feelings for the Schindler family and their supporters, my heart grieves Terri's cold-blooded murder. Being present at the scene of that crime - in the midst of or close by the victims, the intervenors, the perpetrators, the politicians, the police, and the news media - subjected my whole being to a rivalry of emotions and a variety of experiences and encounters. But rather than reflect on what being there was like, I have chosen to reflect on what being there was about.

So many, if not most, of those who have spoken or written about Terri's plight have missed the point. It matters not in the least what Terri's physical condition was. No justification could be made for taking her life no matter who the 'experts' are or how many words they spout.


I do not agree with those who have proposed that our role, as non-Floridians, was to support Terri and all those concerned for her well being with our prayers. Yes, of course we should have supported them with prayers, but not merely with prayers of petition. God wants to communicate with us when we pray. The petition He wants most from us is that we may obtain the graces and virtues that are necessary to not only know his will, but also to actively abide by it. He wants us to be his instruments of love, mercy, justice and peace.

Terri is sister to each and every person on earth. God entrusts each and every human life, not only to parents, but also to each and every one of us. To be an authentic disciple of Christ Jesus each of us must accept that responsibility.

The universal Church must be united in the acceptance of that responsibility. Neither borders nor domains, even if they exist within Her own structure (as in dioceses, provinces and regions), can excuse Her (us) from actively reaching out - not merely speaking out. This is particularly so when the 'local Church' has been negligent in Her duties and discipleship (as it was in Terri's case). Supporting those who are in error is not unifying; it is destructive.

When bishops, priests, deacons and laity neglect to intervene on behalf of those at risk and fail to boldly, emphatically and persistently preach the Gospel of Life and correct and admonish those in error about grave issues such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryo production and destruction for any reason, or any other crime against humanity, the stage is set for all of these tragedies to occur. We have been stagehands for decades now, having embraced a disregard for human life and even become desensitized to millions of murders of unborn babies.

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