“The Power of One” was the 2017 March for Life theme. That theme was made manifest in a gentle man with a giant heart, who showered his gifts on the pro-life movement. Today I had the privilege of attending the funeral of Deacon Mark Gallagher, a man, who, in the words of Congressman Chris Smith, was a “pro-life unsung hero,” working tirelessly as a pro-life lobbyist for the United States Catholic Bishops for 33 years. (Click HERE or the Congressional Record image to read the full statement from Congressman Smith.)
He passed away last week at the age of 75. He was a beloved husband to Kathy and father to Mark, Kim, Andrew, Lillian, David, Judy, Charles, Kate, and John. He was selfless, a “rock”, and a font of wisdom, as described to the packed church, including dozens of priests and a bishop.
While his family and friends are painfully grieving Mark’s sudden loss, there was overwhelming peace during the mass and a profound sense of the fruitfulness of his life.
One of his most significant legislative accomplishments was contributing to the enactment of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, which prohibits taxpayer dollars paying for most abortions. The Hyde Amendment is undoubtedly the single most effective pro-life public policy in the history of the United States; a study published in 2016 by Dr. Michael New showed that the Hyde Amendment has saved at least two million lives in its time.
Such an impact on our culture often comes at personal cost. Mark had war wounds from striving daily to fight the culture of darkness with a culture of life, love, light. He loved the Lord and lived his life totally centered on Him. His life and his sufferings bore inestimable fruit, much like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies in order to bear fruit.
Mark Gallagher lived a beautiful life, centered on love. He perfectly embodied “the power of one.” May we all be inspired by his story to respond generously to God’s call and be the instrument that seeks the good of all.