A peek into the Yes to Life! prolife conference held in Rome from May 23 to 25 by our prolifers Dino Paul and Naveen John

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life organized an international conference on the defence of nascent human life in extremely frail conditions. The aim was to “enable families, professional health care operators and pastoral caregivers  to cooperate in a true and proper  ecclesial ‘mission’ to safeguard nascent human  life in fragile conditions,” creating that “therapeutic alliance” representing one of the most beautiful  aspects of the Church, “like the Good Samaritan  involved in the care and service of the weak.”

Prof. Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, explained, “Today, it’s important to learn about the new technologies available in perinatal medicine that can provide an answer to the pain afflicting parents faced with an unfavourable prenatal diagnosis. Therefore, the goal of the Conference is to show that it is possible to accompany the parents of an unborn baby affected by a serious disability or condition, perhaps including a diagnosis of incompatibility with life and rescue them from the solitude in which they often find themselves owing to lack of guidance.”

This Conference was attended by over 300 people from all over the world. Dino Raj Paul (India), Soumya Paul (India), Dr. Naveen John (UK), Diny Peter (UK) and Dr. Ginto Pottackal (USA) represented Jesus Youth International at the conference. “Recently, I was feeling a bit alone, standing for life in my workplace and this conference has given me the confidence in taking care of frail babies and children and how to explain it to colleagues and parents with conviction. When I told some of the British doctors that I am going for a catholic prolife conference, a psychiatrist and a palliative care consultant already expressed their interest in forming a prolife group in the hospital,” shares Dr Naveen John.

Here, Dino Raj Paul shares some of the key points of the conference.

The conference elaborated on various medical techniques, intra-uterine surgeries on the baby in the womb, post delivery palliative care, accompaniment of the parents and family before and after delivery, all with respect to saving the unborn babies with serious illness who are usually forced to succumb to the culture of death via abortion in the current era. We had presentations from  eminent, doctors, OBGYN`s, neonatologist’s, genetist’s, and philosophers. We also listened to the testimonies of a few parents who stood for the life of their kids amidst family and society pressure to abort, some who still has their babies with them, for some the babies left peacefully to their creator after being born. Through their sharing it was clear that there is a great peace which these families enjoy today in accompanying their babies to last breath with all love and care, and they cherish the memories with their babies though it may have been for only a few days or months.

On the final day when the Holy Father himself addressed the gathering, it was so evident in his speech the love and care which He has for the most frail of our society. There was a couple who came to the conference with their six-month-old baby, who was crying aloud during the papal address. It disturbed a few participants and Pope stopped at this point and said, “The cry of this child should sound like music to our ears. In our churches and parishes, we should not send children out during Holy Mass even if they are crying.” Holy Father was generous enough to meet each of us and shook hands with us. That was an unforgettable moment. And all that he asked each one of us was to, “Pray for me.” This has inspired me to pray for Him regularly from now, and yes, He needs a lot of our prayers.

Apart from the conference, all five of us had an amazing time of love and fellowship. Though we were all meeting for the first time, we interacted like we all have been together for many years. This is the beauty of Jesus Youth movement and the fellowship which we share across the globe, amidst our different culture and context.

We don’t want to leave all of it at the conference, we want to take it back to our movement and implement and inspire what we got from the church and spread it across our Jesus Youth and also to people outside our own countries. We are thinking of training a few of our OBGYN`s in the intra-uterine surgery and implement it in our countries. We also now understand how better we can take care of these situations when we face these challenges in our own countries. We are also planning to have a discussion with the main sponsor of the conference an Italian NGO ‘II Cuore in una Goccia’ in English ‘Heart in a drop’, the possibilities of them opening a service-oriented hospital for children in developing countries like India.

Dr Navin John lives in UK with wife Maria and daughter Maryann. He is Jesus Youth UK National council member.

Dino Paul lives in Bangalore, India with his wife Soumya and three sons Mighael , Raphael and Gabriel. He is the cordinator of the Jesus Youth Prolife ministry in India.