Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

A Hero Goes to His Reward

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Last week, a great man passed from this life into eternal life. JJ Hanson, devoted husband and father, and staunch advocate against the legalization of assisted suicide, finally succumbed to the deadly brain cancer he had fought so courageously.

If you wanted to build a model of a Catholic gentleman, you could have used JJ as the template. He was a veteran of the Marine Corps and served in state and local government. He was athletic, handsome, and a good Catholic. He had a beautiful wife and a wonderful child. But in 2014 he was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma, an aggressive and deadly kind of brain cancer. At first the doctors essentially gave up on him and told him to go home and die. But he didn’t listen to them, and instead with the help of his wonderful wife Kris, he fought back.

He became an outstanding spokesman against assisted suicide, and because of his personal story he had enormous credibility. In fact, his story was particularly important, because he had the same kind of cancer that led to the well-known suicide of Brittany Maynard in 2014. He led the fight here in New York and became a national spokesman for the Patient Rights Action Fund. I once shared a platform with JJ at a debate against suicide advocates, and he was a powerful witness for the cause of life.

To get a flavor of JJ’s optimism and strength, here is a video that he made for the Patient Rights Action Fund. It is a powerful video, and we have used over and over to help educate people about the threat of assisted suicide. His motto was “Every day is a gift, and you can’t ever let that go”. That is the ultimate argument against assisted suicide. JJ’s life and his legacy are a tribute to that principle.

Every so often, when the need is greatest, God chooses and calls a person to lead the fight. That is what happened with JJ. He was a modern-day Gideon, raised up by God to do battle on His behalf, with a small band of valiant allies, against seemingly hopeless odds. And God gave him the strength he needed to triumph.

JJ has now gone on to his reward in eternal life with God. Inspired by him, we carry on the fight.

Another Great Priest Returns Home to God

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I was deeply affected yesterday upon reading of the death, at age 92, of Fr. John Harvey, OSFS.  He was a great priest, and a hero for Christ.

Fr. Harvey is best known as the founder and leader of Courage, the apostolate to those who are experiencing same-sex attraction.  This important work of the Church has helped lead uncounted numbers to live holy chaste lives.  He is also the author of some of the most influential and insightful books about same-sex attraction, especially his essential work, The Homosexual Person.  A short obituary of Fr. Harvey can be found here.

To say that Fr. Harvey met with opposition and resistance to his work would be an understatement.  But he persevered, confident that he was doing God’s will to help men and women be more fully human in their sexuality and their ability to love.

I had the privilege of meeting Fr. Harvey, and I remember him as a kindly, humble, gentle man, with a sharp mind and an engaging smile.  I also recall thinking how honored I was to be in the presence of a man I consider to be a saint.

The important work of Courage will go on without Fr. Harvey.  But I believe that we can have confidence that it will enjoy the intercessory prayers of this holy priest of Jesus Christ, as he celebrates the heavenly liturgy in the presence of the Lord he loved and served so well.