Welcome Friends!

A Catholic blog about faith, social issues, economics, culture, politics and poetry -- powered by Daily Mass & Rosary

If you like us, share us! Social media buttons are available at the end of each post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Test of Courage in a Man: Choose Life

by Susan Fox

“Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is praised as “uniquely holy,” loved the Church as His bride, delivering Himself up for her. He did this that He might sanctify her. He united her to Himself as His own body and brought it to perfection by the gift of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (Vatican II, Chapter V, The Universal Call to Holiness, #39)

Fred Jaramillo, @chooseliferacer on Twitter gearing up
for his first race Friday July 24, 2015 at Bandimere
Speedway, Denver (photo by Susan Fox)
The test of courage in a man is not whether he undertakes great things without fear.

No. Courage is exercised in the face of fear.

So it is with @chooseliferacer, aka Fred Jaramillo, of Bosque Farms, New Mexico. Raised to love drag racing from the age of 5, and a drag racer since the age of 16, he perhaps could be called courageous because he engages in a dangerous sport. Twice before, violent accidents have taken place right behind the one-time National Champion of the Mopar Mile-High Races in Denver (Super Gas Class) involving his opponent – both times just barely missing him.

But in 2002, Jaramillo decided to marry two of his passions: drag racing and his Catholic faith. This took true grit.

For Fred admits he feared his opponents: people who support abortion. He feared their reaction to a message of life printed large on the side of his cars. He feared unpleasant encounters, sabotage of his autos, blasphemy and persecution.

As a pro-life Catholic, he put a small bumper sticker on his dragster that said, “Every 4th Baby is Aborted.” 

“Somebody saw it and asked if it was true,” Fred said in a break between racing at the 36th Annual Mopar Mile-High National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals on Friday July 24, “The only reason he saw it was because he was close.”

This started Fred and his family – his crew chief and sister, Jenn Green, and fellow racer and father, Phil Jaramillo – to start thinking about the name on their dragsters. (They had four racing regularly until five years ago when they dropped to two. Crew chief Jenn Green was pregnant, and choose to stay at home with her child, another life affirming decision in an overwhelmingly Catholic pro-life family.)

“So we prayed about the name,” Fred said. And they picked the name “Choose Life.” Fred and his family had decided to live more closely for eternity -- exactly as Vatican II said a Catholic layman should.

“But by reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will. They live in the world, that is, they are engaged in each and every work and business of the earth and in the ordinary circumstances of social and family life, which, as it were, constitute their very existence. There they are called by God that, being led by the spirit to the Gospel, they may contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven, by fulfilling their own particular duties. Thus, especially by the witness of their life, resplendent in faith, hope and charity they must manifest Christ to others.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium.)
Uncle Fred Jaramillo sleeping with
his infant niece. Fred has five children,
five nieces & four nephews.

Photo courtesy of Jaramillo Family

Whew. That’s a lot of words to describe the fact that whatever a person’s vocation, the call to holiness is universal. In the Catholic Church, it was sometimes erroneously thought that the call to holiness was only for priests and nuns, not laity. But our understanding changed dramatically with Vatican II. Now the world is the oyster where the laity hopefully manifest Christ to others, as wives, husbands, fathers, car mechanics, newspaper reporters, and yes, even drag racers.

“We are to go out into the world and spread the good news. Our lives may be the only Bible some people ever read,” Fred said, “Our talent and our treasure is to be used for
Fred Jaramillo before the start of races Friday.
His T-shirt reads "Unborn babies feel pain."

Photo by Susan Fox
God’s glory, everything we have is ultimately His.”

In 2002, when they changed the name on the dragsters to “Choose Life,” the response was surprisingly positive. Indeed, I experienced the same thing on Friday. One woman seeing me intensely taking pictures of the Choose Life racecar said something really happy and positive. I don’t know exactly what she said (and she repeated it three times) because we were on the starting line, and it’s impossible to hear anything there. She did ask if Choose Life was my car, and I nodded vigorously, saying yes. Then she said, “......” -- a bunch of stuff I couldn’t hear. But her facial expressions showed happiness and good will. I didn’t leave the track with a black eye.

But one year, Fred met a man at the track who saw the name of the cars, and his reaction was violently negative. Fred said his childhood was so rough he thought he should have been aborted.  But Fred and his family all spoke to him. The next year when he ran into the same man he was friendly. He hadn’t changed his position, but he was a much more gentler person. That was a sign of God’s healing.

In another case of persecution, a man walked up to Fred and demanded to know if he gave all the profits from his races to orphanages. Fred didn’t understand what he was getting at, and he said, “No.” The man argued, “You should.”

This is a common tactic of pro-abortionists. They attack pro-lifers by saying they should be doing the charity that they think would make abortion less frequent – instead of witnessing against the murder of unborn children. Actually, there is a shortage of children available to adopt and the help needed is at the starting line to make sure children are born. That is where Fred and his family are already thoroughly involved.

Through their involvement in the Catholic Knights of Columbus, the Jaramillos raise money for the non-profit Gabriel House Project, which helps pregnant women in need with spiritual, material and emotional support.  The charity provides housing, medical care, job training, parenting classes and jobs for pregnant women in need, married or unmarried -- it doesn’t matter.

The man with the orphanage question also was changed by his encounter with the Jaramillo family. He met them the next year, and cheerfully helped with the air compression on their tires. They had made another friend.

Fred Jaramillo has another passion. It’s called the Internet. He met his wife of 13 years, Deanna, on America Online. He’s on Facebook where he has long witnessed to the pro-life cause. But he resisted joining Twitter until 2013 when Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of murdering three children born alive in a late term abortion procedure.

Then Fred entered the Twitterverse to join pro-life tweet fests as @chooseliferacer. Now his Twitter page has almost 7,000 followers and proudly promotes “Defund Planned Parenthood.” It’s not uncommon to see the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts (Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts) in his tweets since the Center for Medical Progress earlier this month began releasing undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the sale of human organs derived from children who are killed in abortions.

Once on Twitter, he naturally found a case that needed his help. A rape victim living in another city was pregnant with triplets and needed medical assistance and food. He sent food, money and baby items. One child died in the womb when she became dehydrated. A second child died after birth. But she had a healthy son, who was adopted by her cousins. “She sent us pictures of the ultrasound,” Fred said.

Drag racing is a funny sport. They don’t try to beat each other to the finish line. They try to stick to the index – 9.5 seconds in the Super Gas Class, which is amateur drag racing. So on Friday Fred won both of his qualifying races coming in at 9.59 seconds and 9.541 seconds. His opponents were alternately too fast and then too slow.

No one has a watch or any way to tell how fast they are going while they are racing, and the race is over literally in seconds! This was a great surprise to me. I started to climb the horrific steps to my seat to watch the race, and realized I couldn’t see the race, which I imagined must go on past the curve in the road to my left.

I started asking questions of a white haired man sitting next to me with orange plugs in his ears. Without taking his earplugs out, and after I repeated the questions numerous times, I finally discovered that the finish line was in my sight. It was those orange cones everyone went through seconds after they left the start! They race one quarter mile.

Choose Life Crew Chief Jenn Green watching as her brother Fred crosses the finish line on the left.
He won. His score is 9.541. His opponent was too slow at 9.583 seconds.  Susan Fox took the successful photo.
Now the actions of Fred’s Crew Chief Jenn Green, his sister, made sense. After both Fred and Phil, his father, took off, she anxiously stood in the middle of the start up line to watch the end of the race, and make sure her father and brother made it safely. The starting line is the best view of the finish.

She said she watched the race where Fred's opponent crashed into a wall. It looked like he dove right into her brother’s dragster, but actually he hit the wall right behind Fred. She found out later, the driver was telling himself, “I’m going to nail him to the tree,” meaning he was psyching himself out to do better than Fred. He emerged unhurt. The dragster was totaled.

Then on Saturday Fred lost his first qualifying race, coming in at an incredible 9.509 seconds. His opponent won by five hundredths of a second, coming in at 9.502.

Phil Jaramillo, however, won his first race on Saturday at 9.522 seconds. He qualified as 13th in his class. But Phil lost his second race. His time wasn’t bad but he finished off by three feet, according to Jenn. Oh well, done early, they came to my house for dinner, which turned into the finish line.

I think I’m hooked. Fred said I would be.

You called it, Bro!

“It pertains to them (the laity) in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are so closely associated that these may be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium.)

Would you like to read another post about a pro-life business? Pro-Life Coffee: A Lifeboat Tendered to Those Drowning in the Great Sea of the Culture of Death


  1. When the world seems as though it falls down around us, God and Heaven lifts up Holy Living Saints behind satan's back, under the protection of the mantle of Our Lady, Queen of the Universe. Phil is one of these. Thank you, Susan, for this beautifully masculine story.

  2. Great piece and good work.

  3. What a beautiful way to witness to the world! Go, go, go, and godspeed!

  4. Dear OCD WE PUBLISH CONTRADICTORY COMMENTS ALL THE TIME ON THIS BLOG, BUT NOT IF THEY ARE VICIOUS, NASTY AND NON-PRODUCTIVE! Frame your response politely, make a reasonable argument, and we will publish. Can you do that? God bless you. Susan Fox