Several months ago we told you about Franciscan Student, Neal Rylatt who was dying of cancer. Tonight I received word from Franciscan Students for Life President, Victor that Neal has gone home to be with our Lord. Here is a short statement from Victor:
A few months back I wrote an article asking for prayers for Neal Rylatt. He was a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville who was very devoted to the pro-life movement. He was diagnosed with leukemia and at 7:00PM, on Friday May 4th, 2012, Neal Rylatt passed away with his family at his side.
I want to thank everyone who prayed so much for Neal, and to ask that you continue to pray for his Family. It is a very sad night for students at Franciscan University, and we will never forget this young man who has touched our lives in so many ways. He will not be forgotten.
Your prayers meant so much to Neal and his family. I know Neal will be watching over us as we continue working to build a culture of life. Neal was never afraid to stand up for the truth, and he’s an example for all of the pro-life youth across the globe. Again, please take some time to pray for his family and his loved ones.
Victor Bermudez – President of Franciscan University Students for Life
“As we have prayed for Neal in life, so now we pray for him in death. The meaning of a life isn’t measured in years, but in the love given and received, and Neil showed special love for the weakest among us. Now we honor him by imitating his example. By what he said and did, he reminded us that towering above all the other needs and concerns of our times is the priority, urgent issue of abortion, and our call to end it. May our own lives reflect that truth.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
“While my heart is broken for Neal and his family and friends, I am confident this young man is now in praying for us and for the pro-life movement he loved and served so diligently. We at Stand True and Priests for Life are so grateful that God allowed us to have Neal for the time we did on this Earth, he was truly someone that young people can look up to.”
Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director, Priests for Life
Here is the original story we released about Neal:
Dear Pro-life Family
This is one of the most important prayer requests I have ever sent out. A young, dedicated and fearless pro-life student from Franciscan University is dying of Leukemia. Neal Rylatt is a Franciscan Student that is devoted to the pro-life movement. Neal has leukemia and based on the progressing disease, Neal is not eligible for the haplo transplant, and the only possible curative treatment is a very high risk experimental phase I treatment in Minnesota with little chance of success, and a large chance of very harsh side effects. They decided to do palliative chemotherapy to give him the most time and best life quality of the time he has left.
We are not sure how long Neal has left depending on how he responds to his chemotherapy. He was told 3-5 months and we hope and pray he lives long enough to go to Lourdes, a dream of his. We will continue to pray for a miracle.
Neal has been a pro-life warrior for years and always sacrificed for the cause of life. Neal would wear pro-life t-shirts to school constantly even when the school questioned him about them offending others.
In 7th grade he said what he wanted for his birthday was more Catholic and pro-life shirts to wear to his school.
He prayed in front of planned parenthoods, went on face the truth tours, and he would cover many, many 40 Days for Life shifts when people wouldn’t show up.
He has never been afraid to be involved in the pro-life movement, and he has been harassed and assaulted for standing up for his beliefs.
He has had many sufferings including a headache that kept him awake for 3 straight days.
He has always offered up his sufferings for the unborn and mothers and fathers affected by abortion.
Neal has two sisters and a brother who will also need our prayers along with the rest of his family.
“Friends, as we begin this Lenten season, let’s join together with intense prayers for Neal…for his healing, and that in his illness he may be a sign among us of the suffering of Christ, and also of a profound commitment to defend life.” — Fr Frank Pavone, Priests for Life.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Neal, I and my family will be praying for all of them in this rough time. We in the pro-life movement are so grateful for such a pro-life warrior as Neal.” – Abby Johnson, Pro-life Activist
“I have always said that Franciscan University of Steubenville is my favorite school to speak at and that is because of students like Neal. He is a hero for the cause of life and I am proud to serve in the pro-life movement with such a warrior. Our prayers are with Neal and his family; for God’s love to fill their lives right now.” — Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director of Priests for Life
“Students for Life of America is so thankful for continued dedication of Neal and for the lives he has saved, the women, men, and families his work has touched. We are so thankful to know him and are so proud of him. We keeping Neal and his entire family in our thoughts and prayers and look forward to standing beside him as he walks through this difficult journey.” — Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America
“The 40 Days for Life team is honored to have such an amazing young man like Neal as part of our pro-life outreach; he is an inspiration for all young people. We are praying for Neal, his family and friends; we are thankful to have had the opportunity to stand for life with Neal.” — David Bereit, 40 Days for Life
We have set up a Facebook and e-mail account for people to send their thoughts and prayers.
President of Students for Life Franciscan University of Steubenville