Father Stephen Imbarrato is a native of New Jersey who was ordained to the priesthood after studying at Holy Apostles Seminary in Connecticut. But before that, he had a brush with abortion in an event that caused him to develop a passion for ending abortion in the United States.
“Father Imbarrato’s passion for ending abortion stems from an experience he had as a young man when a girlfriend aborted their twins,” said Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. “His testimony with Silent No More at the March for Life in D.C. in 2004 was the first time a post-abortive dad joined the campaign to say he regretted his lost fatherhood. Many courageous men have followed his example.”
As a single father, he adopted a son from Colombia in 1987, but years before that, he was complicit in his girlfriend’s abortion. Later they would learn she had been carrying their twins.
In 1974, he said, “I did not stand up for my girlfriend when I got her pregnant,” and today he counts himself as sharing the guilt for her decision to abort. It wasn’t until years later as a seminarian that he learned she had been carrying twins.
Shortly after the Silent No More Awareness Campaign was founded in 2003 to give post-abortive women a public platform to talk about how abortion had harmed them, Father Imbarrato, then a seminarian, contacted co-founders Janet Morana and Georgette Forney and described his own remorse and regret.
“So, with permission from the seminary, at the 2004 gathering, he was the first man to give testimony,” recalled Morana. “I remember how powerful his statement was: ‘How small of a man was I that I put pressure on my girlfriend to have an abortion.’ It was the first time a man had publicly apologized to the women, and the reception of his testimony was tremendous.”
That pro-life passion led Imbarrato to found two pro-life groups in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And, now, he is joining the pro-life team at Priests for Life as a full time priest working to end abortion. Father Imbarrato has been released by Archbishop Michael Sheehan to do full-time pro-life ministry with Priests for Life
“For the last 10 years I have been blessed to be in parish ministry as well as pro-life ministry. I believe the time is right to answer Our Lord’s call of full time ministry dedicated to end pre-born child killing,” Father Imbarrato said.”What better means to do this than with Father Frank Pavone and the Priests for Life team? I am very blessed.”
Father Frank Pavone said is he delighted to have a man of Ibbarrato’s passion and dedication on his team.
“Father Imbarrato will be a powerful addition to an already powerful Priests for Life team,” Father Pavone said. “The growth of this diverse team of leaders over the years has been organic. Leaders have come onto the team after years of collaboration with us and the development of a relationship of communication and trust. The case of Father Imbarrato is no exception. I have known him and worked with him in the pro-life trenches from before he entered the seminary. He thinks clearly about the tragedy of abortion and responds courageously to it.”
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Since his ordination in 2005, Father Imbarrato has been doing parish ministry in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which encompasses Albuquerque, the late-term abortion hub of the nation. He founded Project Defending Life there and then later started Protest ABQ to ensure that everyone who lives, works or visits Albuquerque understands that babies are aborted there through all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason.
Although he will continue to live in Albuquerque, he has handed over the reins of those organizations to new leadership to allow him to travel nationally and internationally for Priests for Life.