The Helpers Worldwide
Msgr. Philip J. Reilly, who holds a degree in Philosophy from Cathedral College, a degree in Theology from the Catholic University of America, D.C., a Masters in the Classics from Fordham University, N.Y.C., and an Honorary Doctor of Science from the School of Medicine of Tinava State University in Slovakia, has served the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, as Parish Priest for 5 years, and for 26 years at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary as Seminary Professor, Prefect of Discipline, Academic Dean, Basketball & Chess Coach and Rector and for the past twelve years as Spiritual Chaplain to the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood at Precious Blood Monastery.
During this time, Msgr. has been involved in many programs such as the setting up of educational programs to insure minority leadership, The Father Troike leadership Program; establishing groups to provide help and guidance for widows and widowers; beginning and coordinating a Diocesan wide Natural Family Planning programme for engaged and married couples; working with various agencies to alleviate world hunger. However, the overriding issue for the past 36 years has been the defence of the Sanctity of Life. In the late 60’s he was involved in lobbying efforts in New York State to prevent the legalisation of abortion. When in 1970 a law passed legalising abortion through 24 weeks in New York State, Msgr. spent the next two years in organising pickets, demonstrations, and lobbying efforts to repeal the law. In 1972 the New York Abortion law was repealed but unfortunately Governor Rockefeller negated this effort by his veto.
In 1973 when the US Supreme Court Decision, Roe v. Wade, negated all the State Laws outlawing abortion, the struggle for life shifted to the Federal level. Thus starting in 1973, Msgr. publicly withheld a percentage of his Federal Income Taxes to protest the Federal Government paying for abortion with taxpayers’ monies. After Judge Dooling issued his injunction against the Hyde Amendment, which stopped taxpayer’s monies from being used to pay for abortions, Msgr. Reilly’s tax forms and testimony were sent as part of the appeal material to the Supreme Court. In June of 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment. In January of 1974 he helped coordinate transportation for more than a thousand people to the First March for Life in Washington, D.C. where his good friend, Dr. Ada Ryan, gave the first keynote speech on the steps of the Capitol Building. For a number of years starting in 1975, Msgr. conducted monthly all night prayer vigils for life.
In 1978, he took part in the original Hundred Mile Walk for Life through the desert in Death Valley, California. Msgr. helped to organise the first rescue in New York City on January 6, 1978. From May 1988 to September 1989 he participated in the National Rescue Movement twenty times, in four different states, being arrested more than once. On the Feast of the Rosary, October 1989, Msgr. started the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, whose goal is not only to offer help to women coming to the abortion mills, but also to maintain a prayerful presence, large and small, at these sites to pray for the conversion of hearts. Every month, since June of 1990, Bishop Daily has led the Helpers large Prayer Vigil in the Diocese of Brooklyn. In October of 2003 Bishop DiMarzio led the Helpers Prayer Vigil. The results have been blessed.
At least twenty clinics have closed in the Diocese of Brooklyn and more than twenty thousand women have left the abortion mills choosing life. The Helpers’ approach is now being used in at least 40 States, more than 100 Bishops and 7 Cardinals have participated. By the grace of God the Helpers’ apostolate has now spread not only throughout the United States and parts of Canada and Western and Eastern Europe but even as far away as Australia, New Zealand and parts of Africa.
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