FRONT ROYAL, Virginia (CWN) - Human Life International announced on Thursday that Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R., had been elected as president of the pro-life organization by its board of directors.

      The announcement was made by founder Father Paul Marx, O.S.B. Father Welch, 44, is a Redemptorist priest who was ordained in 1980. Soon after his ordination, Father Welch was assigned to Puerto Rico where he served as a missionary parish priest for 12 years. In 1987 he was named rector of the cathedral parish, where he helped defeat a euthanasia bill in the Puerto Rican Legislature and worked with the poor and building country chapels in the tropical mountains. Father Welch also organized a now famous teen pro-life group, whose members have given hundreds of talks throughout the island and distributed thousands of copies of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae at both public and Catholic universities.

      Father Welch holds the distinction of being the first priest arrested for protesting abortion in the United States, chronicling the events of his activism in the book, "Blood of the Martyrs," published in 1994.

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January 9, 1998 volume 9, no. 7          DAILY CATHOLIC