A mother’s difficult but courageous choices inspired her son to become a Catholic priest and advocate for life.
Father Alfar Antonio Vélez recently honored his mother by sharing publicly about the sacrifices that she made for him after being raped as a young, unwed woman in Colombia, according to Aleteia.
“My mother’s greatest pride was having defended life,” Vélez said.
When his mother was 27 years old, she was drugged and then raped at a party by several co-workers, he said. Though she was urged to have an abortion, she rejected the idea of sacrificing her unborn baby because of his father’s crime, he said.
Due to the stigma of being unmarried and pregnant, her family forced her to marry an abusive man, he continued. After Vélez was born, she sent him to live with his grandmother to protect him from the abuse, he said.
When he was 10 years old, he said his mother confided in him about how she was raped and became pregnant.
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“My mother told me what had happened,” Vélez said. “She said that many people wanted her to have an abortion. Others suggested that she should sell me or give me up for adoption. She said some people were interested in taking me in … For me, [discovering all of this] was very hard.”
Later, he said he went to a church to pray about the situation. He described it as more of a complaint than a prayer. He asked God “why this had happened” to him.
“Since I was shouting at God, a priest came up to me and told me that I was asking the wrong question: ‘Don’t ask why, but rather, to what end,’ he said. He said that precisely because of my situation, God was calling me to do great things,” Vélez remembered.
The priest’s encouragement made a deep impression on the young man, and the two became close. Eventually, Vélez said he decided to become a priest, too.
Today, he serves as a missionary priest in Argentina. Several years ago, he decided to begin sharing his story publicly as Central America began to face intense pressure to legalize abortion, according to the report.
“My mother was a woman of great faith, very faithful and very holy,” he said. “She used to say that, despite the terrible circumstances, she was carrying in her womb the miracle of a new life, a life which God had given her and which, because of her convictions, she could not abort. She said that if God had given it to her, she had to discover the reason.”