It appears the long hot, really hot, Texas summer is over. Can’t believe we have had nearly two weeks of near continuous rain. Pat and I have done our best to establish a few traditions during our 12 years of marriage to each other. One of those is providing funds for summer camp to each of the 16 grandchildren instead of toys or other presents at Christmas or birthdays that are quickly forgotten once the wrapping comes off.
We hope summer camp has created positive, lasting memories and enabled our grandchildren to make some friendships that can last a lifetime. Also, as the grandchildren finish high school, we take them on a trip to our beautiful National Parks. (We took our first grandchild, Morgan, to London and it was great fun with her, but we realized what beauty we have right here in America). We now have eight of the 16 out of high school and into college.
This summer we had three high school graduates and we took them to Denali National Park in Alaska. Along the way we stopped off by the float plane at Winterlake Lodge, right on the Iditarod trail, and went by helicopter up to the top of a glacier where Cate, Gentry and Hunter got to mush a dog sled (Pat and me, too!). Lots of great adventures before taking a float plane to Talkeetna (the check-in location for climbers to Mt. Denali) and then on to Denali National Park.
In addition to all the activities, I got to do my favorite “Walk Talk” with each of the grandchildren separately. Here’s how it goes: You decide on how long you are going to walk, divide the time in half, then one talks and the other only speaks if answering a question. When half the time is up, you switch roles. Sometimes is it very quiet. There is no question that is off limits. Great conversations. A great way to learn what is most on each grandchild’s mind. Also, to share what is hopefully wisdom from me and for them as they enter the adult phase of their life.
Since last November, after the Board of the St. John Paul II Life Center had its Strategic Planning Retreat, we have been conducting a nationwide search for our first CEO who will be responsible for overseeing the continued development of the Pregnancy Resource Center and the Ob/Gyn medical clinic – the Vitae Clinic. Thanks to a very talented Board member, Paul Stone – a CPA who focuses on business financial planning and organizational transition, we have accomplished a great deal.
In April, our Executive Director, Kim Speirs, decided to move closer to her family in Fort Worth. She is now working as development director in the same school where her sister teaches and her son Michael now attends. Kim was a dedicated leader and did much to advance the growth and success of the St. John Paul II Life Center. We appreciate her years of dedicated work at the Center.
Paul Stone put together a Business Plan to expand the practice of our two NaPro TECHNOLOGY-trained physicians by bringing patient training in-house on how to chart, and to increase the focus on infertility. The Clinic also is completing transition to a new electronic medical record (EMR) system.
Additionally, Paul completed a Business Plan to grow the number of women served for Pregnancy Resource Services. Using the Clinic’s state-of-the-art 3D/4D sonogram machine, we expect to double and even triple the number of women served and babies lives saved.
This is all in conjunction with an updated Strategic Plan. We have completed our search for our new CEO and found him right here in Austin. Mark Fair began his work as CEO of the St John Paul II Life Center on Monday, September 24th. Mark and his wife Ann Marie are members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Austin. Mark will be ordained to the Deaconate in 2019.
This has been a long process completed in God’s time, not ours. We are confident that we are now on our way to many more successes as we seek to accomplish our Mission, Vision and Goals.
One of the most exciting things that will be happening soon will be our 8th “Life Is Beautiful Gala” to be held November 13, 2018, at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas. We are fortunate to have as our speaker Terry Beatley, author of the incredible book “What If We’ve Been Wrong,” which exposes how Dr. Bernard Nathanson, in his own words, shares how there was a distinct plan worked out by he and Larry Lader, the founders of NARAL, to achieve getting unrestricted abortions allowed in America. Then they implemented the plan. However, Dr. Nathanson later saw the error of his ways, and then completely embraced, spoke on behalf of, testified as a medical doctor and defended the lives of the innocent unborn and, ultimaely, became Catholic. Before he died, Dr. Nathanson shared the entire story with Terry Beatley, who promised him she would share his story across America. The result is “What If We’ve Been Wrong,” a five-star Amazon-rated book I highly recommend reading.
July 25, 2018, was the anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s issuance of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (the Regulation of Birth). To say it was controversial is an understatement. For all of us who have read and considered its content, we cannot help but see his wisdom and agree with Pope Paul VI’s decision.
In his encyclical, Pope Paul VI made a group of predictions if contraception was to become an accepted practice. Each of these predictions has in fact occurred. The predictions of Pope Paul VI are worth reviewing:
- What would happen to a society freely accepting contraception?
- Widespread use of contraception would lead to marital infidelity and the general lowering of morality.
- Expect men to lose respect for women and revert to a level of greater concern for base-level satisfaction.
- Foretold of a time when governments would use contraception as a dangerous weapon and as a means to institute forced family planning programs, and
- Contraception would lead both men and women to think that they have unlimited dominion over their own bodies.
Clearly Pope Paul VI understood human nature. He knew what would happen with widespread use of contraception.
Today, we find ourselves in even more turbulent times than we would have expected for America and the Catholic Church. We will save those topics for future articles, but you know to what I refer. We must remember as Catholic business men and women each of us has an obligation to witness (experience, reflect and share) to others about our Catholic faith, particularly that abortion is an intrinsic evil.
In closing I am reminded of three Bible verses:
- “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say” – Proverbs 16:33
- “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21
- “For he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plans.” – Ephesians 1:11
May God guide our President, and may God bless America.
- BOOK: What If We’ve Been Wrong, by Terry Beatley
- ENCYCLICAL: Humanae Vitae, encyclical by Pope Paul VI
Tim Von Dohlen is founder and president of St. John Paul II Life Center in Austin, Texas. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
View Articles If you’ve met Tim, you know that his life was shaped by good values that were imparted to him by his parents and he... MORE »