Steve Costantino’s life was a study in contradictions. Born with birth defects that often claimed children at a young age, he lived a relatively long, yet challenging, but unquestionably full life.
Doctors told his parents that young Steve should take it easy, but he was an active, “rough and tumble child.” He endured physical setbacks but was strong in spirit.
And while he could never father a child in life, in death he may give life to “thousands of babies,” thanks to a song that he wrote, but credited to the Divine Creator.
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Stephen J. Costantino was born on October 24, 1958, the third child of Barbara and Roger Costantino of Crafton Heights. When the doctor gently handed the newborn to his mother, he took care to cover his protruding abdominal area as to not upset her. Something was wrong.
Doctors set to work to save little Steve’s life. He had two badly deformed kidneys, a ureter (the tube connecting the kidneys to the bladder) that was about nine times longer than normal, and he had almost no stomach muscles.
Steve underwent seven major surgeries before the age of three, with more later, according to his youngest brother, Bob Costantino. Life would not be easy, but it was also never boring in a family that grew to nine children.
Steve’s sister Maria White described her big brother as “high energy, always on the go.”
“He had a love for people,” she said. “In spite of all his health issues, he was happy to be alive. He cherished life. He was a gift to us.”
He was a born salesman—that was Steve’s profession for many years—but his avocation was music. Without a teacher he learned how to play guitar, keyboards and drums, and wrote about 30 songs. Throughout his life he used his musical talents playing in various bands and at church venues.
One day in 1990, his mother was approached by a pregnant co-worker, whose prenatal test pointed to an abnormality. Should she keep the baby?
Barbara Costantino told her about Steve, and the woman decided not to have an abortion.
Soon after, Steve saw a videotaped sonogram of his sister’s expected child. Then it hit him.
“As I watched the little baby on the video, I suddenly realized that today, if it were me in the womb, I could be a candidate for abortion,” he told The Pittsburgh Catholic in 1995. “Although my parents would never consider something like that, this suddenly burdened me immensely because, even with all my problems, I would rather be here, alive.”
Steve’s emotions burst forth. He went home, sat down at the piano, and the words and melody began to flow:
In the early days of my early life
I’m in the womb and crying out
“Please Momma let me stay here!”
Let me have a chance to sing my song with you,
And I’ll show you what the Lord has made and
Make you proud He’s given me to you.
Steve said he finished the song in 15 minutes, but knew he didn’t write it. “I just held the pen,” he said. “God wrote it.”
Steve and a good friend, Ken Seretti, formed a production company and released the song under the title, “Point of View: the Pro-Life Anthem,” with parts of the proceeds going to groups that backed alternatives to abortion.
A supporter once came up to him, asked for his autograph, and said he might not be a dad, but because of the song, “you’re going to father thousands of babies.”
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Fast forward about 30 years, to Saint Philip Church in Crafton, on a cold February day, 2021. After suffering, scrapping, and singing his way through 62 years, Steve Costantino’s remarkable earthly life was over.
“All of us can say with confidence that Steve was this Faithful Servant,” brother John Costantino said in his eulogy, as Steve’s wife Michelle, family and friends listened. “His grace to us, his gift, (was) constantly engaging us, poking us, not allowing us to be isolated or be passive. He forced and taught us that we needed to have a zest for life, a robust and vibrant relationship with the world around us.”
Steve is gone physically, but his sacred song is not silenced, its purpose more vital today than ever. That’s why Maria reached out to Oscar-winning composer and producer Tom Bajoras, who re-recorded the song and is hoping to get it published and into streaming services.
Steve’s siblings are convinced his pro-life message will live on and help save the unborn.
“Absolutely,” said Bob Costantino. “We all believe in the power of the song. Steve is now more powerful in heaven, and God’s grace will help to see it so.”