A Mass commemorating “Terri’s Day,” the sixth anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death, will take place on March 31 at the chapel of Ave Maria University in Florida.
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, will be the main celebrant for the Mass. His organization and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, formerly known as the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, established the commemorative day in 2007. The event’s full name is the International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters.
The day is intended to foster education, prayer and activism concerning discrimination against the cognitively disabled. It also encourages advocacy for those in situations similar to Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled woman who died after a court order allowed her husband to have her nutrition and hydration removed.
“We must continue to raise the awareness of the potential threat of hospital 'ethics committees' across the country that are seeking to remove basic care, food and water even from those who are not terminally ill,” commented Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother.
Schindler said that in all but 10 states, doctors and hospitals have been empowered to disregard advance directives even in cases when they call for treatment with food and water.
“With the growing concern of health care rationing and the government wanting to get involved in our health care decisions, this issue will get much worse,” he predicted.
Terri’s Network has supported more than 1,000 families in its efforts to help protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities.
More information about the event and about the defense of the medically vulnerable is available at the organization’s website, www.TerrisFight.org.