Fr. James F. Heyd
Fr. James F. Heyd was born and raised in Chicago and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1989 by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.
Fr. Heyd responded to the call to minister to the needs of the growing Hispanic community and worked as associate pastor at St. Philomena's Parish from 1990-1995 in a largely Puerto Rican and Mexican neighborhood in Chicago.
Working alongside Frs.
Coleman and Lenaghan, S.J., Fr. Heyd
took care of the spiritual and material needs of God's people.
It was during this time that Fr. Heyd
n a local level, Fr. Heyd
organized and promoted the Holy Hour of Life, and brought together many lay associates in Chicago to the work of Priests for Life and assisted pro-lifers with sidewalk counseling and prayer in front of abortuaries.
"These were very exciting though challenging times, trying to galvanize the clergy to speak out and be prophetic on pro-life issues," Fr. Heyd
"in truth, we were supported and encouraged by John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)."
From 1995-1997, Fr. Heyd worked at St. Joseph Seminary of Loyola University as a vocations director and instructor of Theology.
work brought him in contact with pro-life students and seminarians who desired to raise an awareness of the sanctity of life to their confreres.
also began to collaborate and write for Seminarians for Life.
Fr. Heyd states,
"It is my firm belief that the pro-life movement fosters solid vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and strengthens the life and belief of the church."
was one of Cardinal Bernardin's Masters of Ceremonies assisting the Cardinal with liturgical functions.
Fr. Heyd served as an associate pastor of St. Athanasius Parish in Evanston, Illinois directly north of Chicago.
is dedicated to working on community concerns and promoting a culture of life.
He is a member of the Evanston Ecumenical Council working to evangelize youth.
is also the Police Chaplain for the Evanston Police Department
and a Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Edwin Conway.
On Sept. 21, 2008, Father Heyd
was one of the keynote speakers during the archdiocesan "40 Days for Life" prayer rally at the St. Augustine Home for the Aged Chapel
told the pro-life supporters from central and southern Indiana that prayer is crucial in ending abortion and the use of artificial contraception.
"We are going to take this culture [of death] and transform it into a culture of life," Father Heyd
"...Let us build, through our Christian values, a new civilization of [respect for] God and [respect for] life.
led the rosary with pro-life supporters while walking two miles along West 86th Street to the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic at 8590 N. Georgetown Road.
Outside the state's largest abortion facility, Father Heyd
prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary on his
knees in the grass with other pro-life supporters.
During recent pro-life speeches in Terre Haute and other cities, he
love for history by discussing biblical and historical events that affirmed the dignity of all people.
In 2009, Father Heyd
participated in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis'
pro-life pilgrimage to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20-23 as one of the spiritual directors for the high school students along with seven priests from the archdiocese.
The priests traveled to the march by bus with archdiocesan teenagers, adult chaperones and 17 seminarians.
Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo, director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-life Ministry
, invited Father Heyd
to join the archdiocese's pilgrimage to the March for Life because of his
20 years of experience in pro-life work throughout the world."It is a spiritual pilgrimage," Sister Diane said, "and I invited Father Heyd
to participate as a pilgrim leader to help motivate and inspire the young people.
was the homilist for Mass on Jan. 20 at SS.
Peter and Paul Cathedral
in Indianapolis before the youths boarded the buses for their overnight journey to Washington.
had just returned to Chicago after participating in the sixth World Meeting of Families on Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.
Last year, he
visited Tanzania to promote the human rights of impoverished people in Africa.
"God promised Abraham in the covenant that he
would be with his
people no matter what turmoils or trials they went through," Father Heyd
told archdiocesan teenagers during his
"... We are on a journey for freedom, for liberation,"he
We can lose our freedom in this culture of ours today.
Many [people] are doing so with the addictions that plague us and cause despair.
We can lose our freedom very easily, but when we're baptized we know we are children of God.
We must always proclaim that freedom and live that freedom as a people.
"But we must also stand for freedom for others who are voiceless"
explained, "as the prophets did when the law doesn't go quite far enough to protect their dignity and human rights.
And so we stand for the voiceless, for the pre-born, in order to build a new culture of life in this beloved land of ours, the home of the free and the brave.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched for civil rights for African-Americans during the 1960s, Father Heyd
used the words of the prophets and the Christian faith to inspire and encourage others in the fight for freedom for all people."Symbolically, what a victory that was in a country that had shackled people and enslaved them in an oppressive system," Father Heyd
Fr. Heyd is currently Associate Pastor at St. Lambert Parish in Skokie, Illinois and serves on the Pro-Life Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago.