As I wrote about in September, Edel Finnegan left the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia after more than 12 years as Executive Director.

I’m now in my seventh year on the board of the Pro-Life Union, and proud of a lot of what we’ve accomplished, particularly the acquisition and build-out of Guiding Star maternity home. I’ll stay on the board through sometime later this year, but likely will rotate off depending on how quickly it takes Tom Stevens, our new President & CEO, to get comfortable in his new role.

The Pro-Life Union’s Executive Committee, which I’m a part of, interviewed many good people for this role, but Tom was the right fit for a number of reasons. CatholicPhilly.com’s recent profile of him explains a few of those reasons:

Tom Stevens.jpgTom Stevens, who became president and CEO of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia and of the related Guiding Star Ministries in December, has pro-life credentials tracing way back to his days as a Villanova University student.

As a matter of fact that’s where he met his wife Ann, who was also a Villanova student. He was an economics major and she was a religious studies major. He asked her out for their first date after both attended a prayer rally outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility near 11th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia.

They married in 1995 and have five children ranging in age from 20 to 10 – Tommy, John Paul, Megan, Kellan and Andrew. It would be eight if you count the three babies lost to miscarriage. Because they truly believe life begins at conception, they mourn their lost babies.

Concern for the unborn apparently is being passed on. “John Paul is vice president of the pro-life club at Roman Catholic High School,” Stevens said. Also, his children have joined their parents in prayer before abortion clinics and for the annual March for Life in Washington, this year set for Jan. 19.

Stevens is originally from Basking Ridge, New Jersey where he was active in Antioch Retreat programs at St. James Parish. For the past 25 years the family have been members of St. Colman Parish in Ardmore where he and Ann have taught PREP classes, led the Alpha Catholic program and contributed to the music ministry.

He also is part of the core team for a dynamic men’s program at St. Denis Parish in Havertown, “That Man is You.”

Stevens also leads the House of God’s Light Christian Community, which is nondenominational but mostly Catholic. “Its mission is to make whole-hearted disciples of Jesus Christ by worshipping, loving, growing and serving together,” he said.

Professionally, Stevens has had a successful career in sales, marketing and non-profit management. Ann, who formerly taught in a Catholic school, most recently has been homeschooling their younger children.

Through it all, being actively pro-life has been on the front burner of life. Sometimes it is subtle, just attending Mass as a family, but life is always part of the equation.

I’m enthusiastic about Tom, and hopeful that he can significantly improve the Pro-Life Union’s position as a permanent feature of building Greater Philadelphia’s life-affirming approach to vulnerable persons.