by Donna Sue Berry
Orémus Press visited with Lisa O’Hare of Human Life International Ireland about the huge push by the Irish government to legalize abortion there.
Orémus Press: Basically, could you share with us what is happening with this issue in Ireland with the government?
HLI Ireland: The Irish Government is making a HUGE push to legalize abortion in Ireland, supported by all the major political parties and the entire mainstream media establishment. They have called a referendum for May 25th in which they are calling for the Irish people to remove/repeal the ‘8th Amendment’ from our Constitution. The 8th Amendment recognizes the EQUAL right to life of the mother and the unborn child. If it is removed, the Government will be free (without any further public consultation) to introduce ANY abortion regime it chooses. They are already preparing legislation, based on recommendations from a farcical ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ that will leave Ireland with some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world.
This is not all, however. The Government is also on a ‘mission’ to close down Pro-Life Pregnancy Care Centres. Our own service ‘Ask Majella’ is one of the agencies threatened with closure, (See Link to LifeSite News article https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/irish-pregnancy-center-hit-with-smear-campaign.-health-minister-vows-to-shu ) and there is legislation on the way to making IVF treatment widely available, legalizing experimentation on human embryos, as well as a nationwide contraception and sex-education program for our young people. We, at HLI, are unafraid, however in the face of such attacks. We believe that the Lord is giving us scriptures that indicate that those who oppress us will fail.
OP: We understand that you have a wonderful Human Life Ireland organization, and the people involved, can you tell us a little about who is involved and the response you are receiving from around the country?
HLI Ireland: There is little doubt that this is a spiritual battle of EPIC proportions. We are fighting for the very soul of our nation. The prayerful fervor of people of faith in response to this crisis is increasing by the day. HLI Ireland operates with a small core staff team but we have a large, and growing, band of very passionate, generous and prayerful supporters. There is a powerful cry of the faithful here in Ireland, seeking Divine Intervention at this critical moment in our history. We are extremely heartened by the response of people of faith here in Ireland. Whilst, on one hand, there is bewilderment at how far our nation has sank, on the other there is a stoic confidence that the Lord has defended us from many evil forces throughout our history, and that ‘He will put his arm forward in strength and scatter the proud-hearted’ once again.
OP: Here in our town of Edmond, Oklahoma, USA, the Holy Face devotion has been growing the last couple of years, can you tell us how it came about HLI Ireland has adopted the Devotion for this campaign, and what all you are doing through the Holy Face to reach people?
HLI Ireland: Patrick McCrystal, our Executive Director gave a very comprehensive interview on Lifesite news that you can view here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMtn7dmRhq0#action=share
In 2016 we launched a national billboard campaign all over Ireland during Lent, up to the end of Easter Week. It was a tremendous success, so we have continued this campaign annually.
This year we sponsored 50 billboards around the country, with the image of the Holy Face and the text “Let the light of your face shine upon us O Lord”. Full details of the campaign, (including lots of fab images!) can be seen on our website https://theholyface.com
We also had Holy Face images placed in the interior of 200 Dublin buses and have the website together with a Facebook Page. Blessed holy face medals have been distributed, via our website, to many parts of the world incl. Britain, France, USA, Canada, Mexico, The Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil.
This was all accompanied by assembling an ‘army’ of people for all-Ireland prayer vigils of public reparation for Ireland’s apostasy. These prayers of reparation started at 12 noon on Good Friday at 85 locations across each of the 32 counties of Ireland. There was an 8-foot banner of the Holy Face at each of these vigils of reparation.
Our estimates are that the Holy Face of Jesus has been seen in Ireland by up to a million people over the last 2 weeks and our Facebook campaign has reached 7 million views across the world incl in China, Turkey, South America and the Philippines.
OP: What all is happening to stop the referendum? Prayer groups? Organized Rosaries? Can you tell us about the response from Clergy? From the Laity?
HLI Ireland: I heard a priest locally say in recent weeks that “a fire has been lit in Ireland”. The response from individuals and groups all over Ireland is building to a crescendo in advance of the referendum.
As well as our Holy Face campaign, we, at HLI are also organizing a National Day of Reparation on May 13th (Feast of Our Lady of Fatima).
Please see Photo – an advertisement of our campaign that was printed this week in the National Catholic Newspaper ‘Alive’. It gives a comprehensive outline of our Reparation & Repentance campaign (and the thoughts behind it) for these challenging times.
Our supporters are also part of a national spiritual crusade, saying rosaries, fasting, making acts of penance and having Masses offered for the protection of the unborn in Ireland.
Our efforts are part of, what appears to be, a very powerful laity-led response throughout the country. There have been events such as a National Coastal Rosary, Masses at ‘Mass Rocks’, very many Eucharistic Adoration Vigils, Novenas and Collective Consecrations of the country to Jesus, through Mary. We are supported, of course, by our clergy, incl our Bishops who have been releasing pastoral letters and have also set up a national ‘Choose Life’ website.
There are, of course, also very many ‘secular’ campaigns who are seeking to defend the human rights of the unborn. We are grateful to all our brothers and sisters who are working tirelessly to canvas, campaign, provide information and engage the media, but, it is increasingly clear to us at HLI, that human effort alone will not win Ireland for Christ and for life – such is the level of spiritual darkness that pervades. The abortion issue we are facing is a symptom, a gruesome climax, of years of rejection of God and his teachings in this country. We have been witnessing a breakdown of morality and a slow slide into this ‘culture of death’ for years so we MUST now call upon the power of God, get on our knees in repentance for the sins of our nation, and be ready to play our part in the great revival and re-ignition of the fire of faith in Ireland!
OP: What would you like our OREMUS PRESS readers and the American people to know about the campaign, and what can we do to help Ireland in this fight to save the unborn?
HLI Ireland: Pray for us and with us! Please! Visit our websites and Facebook pages (theholyface.com and humanlife.ie) and see how you can get involved. It is a tremendous source of encouragement when we hear of our Brothers & Sisters in Christ from all over the world praying with and for our small nation.
Your readers might also be interested in organizing a Holy Face Campaign or a Holy Face prayer group in their own town. This year we have people from South Carolina, USA, and Newfoundland, Canada, get together and sponsor billboards in their own town (See the website for photos).
We also now have our first PERMANENT billboard in Ireland, on a famous stretch of road called the ‘Glenshane Pass’ (t’s the main road between the cities of Derry & Belfast)! This billboard was sponsored by a local private supporter who obtained permission from a farmer who owned a field on the roadside (doesn’t that all sound very ‘Irish’ lol!!).
In all seriousness, we hope that these efforts will inspire thousands around the world to join us in this Divine Campaign!
We are One Body in Christ. The problems of widespread rejection of Christ and his teachings, face us all, no matter where we are in the world. But so too do we share in the JOY of being His faithful followers … we delight in the universal truths of the Gospel and we seek to share this joy with the most broken souls of our world.