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After nephew's death, Paul Brilliant walks 300 miles for life
By Kevin J. Jones
Paul Brilliant, stands in the back of the Crossroads group he joined, third from right.
Paul Brilliant, stands in the back of the Crossroads group he joined, third from right.

.- The uncle who took the place of his nephew Andrew Kentigern Moore, a pro-life advocate who was killed on a cross-country outreach walk, remembers him as a “gentle soul” who was motivated to work against abortion from an early age.

“Once he understood that babies were being killed and women and families were being hurt in this way, he felt compelled to do something,” Paul Brilliant told CNA Aug 17.

Moore began to pray in front of to the local abortion clinic in his hometown of Concord, Calif. when he was about 13.

“This wasn’t a particularly comfortable thing for him, or something that he did easily,” said Brilliant, who is Moore’s uncle.

Moore’s pro-life advocacy continued until his death on the early morning of July 20, when the 20-year-old Thomas Aquinas College student was hit and killed by a car on a highway outside of Indianapolis.

He had been praying a Rosary alongside the road as part of the Crossroads pro-life walk from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. Investigators believe he might have accidentally stepped into the path of the fast-moving car.

Brilliant said he reacted to his nephew’s death with “surprise and disbelief.”

“I was coming from the perspective that, knowing his intentions were good and his motivations were good, and knowing that he was a good young man, you feel in those situations that he’ll be protected, he’ll be looked after, he’ll be looked over.”

Moore’s family still thinks he was being watched over, “but it wasn’t exactly as we thought or expected.”

“It was as God saw fit. That’s how our family has taken it,” Brilliant said.

Brilliant is a 40-year-old married father of six. He is a California native who now lives in London.

He remembered his nephew as “very bright” young man who had written poetry of “depth and intelligence” despite his youth. Moore, who was considering joining the priesthood, also had a “very strong spiritual life.” He would attend Mass almost daily and pray regularly.

The weekend after Moore’s death, his grieving uncle had the idea that he should finish the cross-country trek in his nephew’s place.

“I was thinking about what we could do as a family to support him, to reaffirm what he had be doing,” he explained. He decided to join the walk to commend his nephew and to support his mother and family.

Brilliant also joined out of concern for Moore’s companions.

“Obviously this would be a very traumatic experience for them,” he said. “I thought that it was important that they know that they were supported and that what they are doing is critically important for our country.”

It is “critical,” Brilliant said, that young pro-life advocates are trying “build a better culture.” Their work  “has reverberations around the world.”

He cited his own experience of the United Kingdom. While the U.K. has a more secular culture and a less developed pro-life movement, he said, “already there are murmurings there based on what is happening in the U.S.”

Brilliant joined Moore’s group in Steubenville, Ohio two weeks before they finished. They continued to speak at various parishes, host pro-life events and pray at abortion clinics along their route, before joining three other groups of cross-country walkers for a closing rally in D.C. on Aug. 11.

He found the young people to be “really impressive” and “inspiring” for their seriousness about their faith and pro-life issues at their young age.

Brilliant thought of the walk as a chance for him to “sacrifice” and “to think of putting others before yourself.”

“I thought it was a good opportunity to reaffirm the need for me to put my wife first. To lay down my life for my wife, for my family, as St. Paul says in Ephesians,” he recalled.

He also found himself able to identify with those dealing with unexpected pregnancies after his experience on the road. Brilliant’s future wife became pregnant with his eldest daughter when they weren’t in a committed relationship.

“What was true for us, and I think in every case, is that the solution is not to kill your child,” he said. “We felt that temptation.”

However, after their daughter’s birth and four more years of discernment, they “finally got married” and had come to recognize “the incredible wisdom of the Church and its teachings about human sexuality.”

“From that point, we’ve gone on to have a really beautiful family,” he said. “If we had not had our first child, none of that would have followed.”

Brilliant also had advice for those who are reacting to an unexpected pregnancy.

“It takes an incredible amount of courage in these situations, but in the end, by taking the slightly more difficult route initially, the fruits and the rewards are much, much greater.”

Tags: Pro-life


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