Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Acton, in West London, was packed to bursting last Tuesday, 15 May with over 400 in the congregation for the Funeral Mass of global pro-life leader, Phyllis Bowman DSG, the Founder and Director of Right to Life.
The main celebrant, Fr John Leahy, was joined by four concelebrants who had known Phyllis during her remarkable life, and eulogies were given by members of Phyllis' family, and the Anglican Priest, Fr Alan Rabjohns, who serves as a Trustee of the Right to Life Charitable Trust.
Highlighting the remarkable way in which Phyllis opened society's eyes to prolife issues, Fr Rabjohns said: "I have seen, through Phyllis' eyes that every child, from the moment of conception, is a unique being created in the image and likeness of God. I have seen, through her eyes, that however handicapped or disabled a person may be they are still precious. I have seen, through her eyes, the terrible toll of abortion on women and men which may last for years. I have seen, through her eyes, the threat of euthanasia and the clamour for genetic manipulation."
And he went on to highlight the visionary way in which Phyllis had taken "forward on three fronts the battle to reverse the culture of death: through political campaigning, through education and through prayer."
The Mass was attended by many key Parliamentarians including Jim Dobbin MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-life Group; David Amess MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, and Catholic peer Lord David Alton.
Representatives of many Christian denominations packed into the crowded church along with representatives of the Muslim and Jewish communities by whom Phyllis was also held in high esteem.
A Papal Knight, Chris Whitehouse, attended the funeral in full uniform to pay his respects "to a magnificent woman who was not only a mother to me, but will also be receiving a rapturous welcome in Heaven from the millions of Holy Innocents in defence of whom she dedicated her adult life."
Speaking today, Jim Dobbin MP says: "Phyllis was a truly iconic example of love in action, a visionary leader and a determined campaigner; we will not see her like again soon."
And, in a letter to members and supporters of Right to Life, its Chairman, Ken Hargeaves OBE, adds: "I have worked with Phyllis in the prolife fight for over 40 years. Her knowledge of all pro-life issues was immense as was her courage in speaking out to a world that is largely hostile. Her tireless work, despite her life of ill health is an inspiration to all who knew her."
The family have asked that donations in memory of Phyllis be sent to: Right to Life Charitable Trust, PO Box 26264, London W3 9WF.
It has also been announced that The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, will offer Mass for the repose of the soul of Phyllis Bowman DSG and to give thanks to God for her remarkable contribution to the pro-life cause. The Mass will be held on Tuesday 3 July, 5.30pm, Westminster Cathedral. Arrangements for those hoping to attend will be announced shortly.
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