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As 2018 draws to a close and we pause to reflect on and celebrate the greatest birth of all time, we give thanks to Almighty God for all that He has permitted to occur in this year as we work to defend and serve life, faith and family.

Thanks must also go to you.  Because of your dedication, support, courage and most importantly, prayer, many hearts have changed and many lives have been saved:

  • babies whose lives were threatened by abortion now live,
  • mothers who regret their abortions have found a path to healing,
  • youth have been exposed to the truth about their own dignity, made in the image and likeness of God, and the peace that the virtue of chastity brings,
  • consciences have been awakened to the humanity of pre-born children and to the horror of abortion,
  • euthanasia and assisted suicide campaigners have once again seen an immense pushback against their murderous plans for our nation,
  • People all throughout New Zealand have been formed in Catholic teaching on life and family issues.

In 1995, in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae, Saint John Paul II made an appeal “… that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.” (EV #6)

Thank you for working alongside the team of Family Life International!  Together we have worked tirelessly in 2018 in defense of life and family, without becoming wary despite the increasing tsunami of anti-life, anti-family and anti-God practices and beliefs.  The following are some of the courageous, purposeful and life-saving prayer, education and service activities you have been involved in over this year in partnership with Family Life International NZ.

Prayer

“We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend upon material success… but on Jesus alone.”  Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Hundreds of people participated in the 40 Days for Life vigils outside Wellington Regional Hospital and Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC) during Lent.  This peaceful, prayerful, visible witness to the atrocity of abortion awakens within souls the truth written on every person’s heart.  We know that because of your prayers, sacrifices and peaceful presence outside of AMAC in 2018, two babies, scheduled to be aborted, are alive today!

In addition to 40 Days for Life during Lent, Clare McClean and her team in Wellington held monthly prayer vigils outside Wellington Regional Hospital.  In Auckland Jean Simpson and her dedicated group continued weekly Wednesday morning prayer and witness outside AMAC.  While in Dunedin, a Rosary for Life was prayed in the Octagon’s Moran Chapel every Monday and Friday.

Education

“Closely connected with the formation of conscience is the work of education, which helps individuals to be ever more human, leads them ever more fully to the truth, instils in them growing respect for life, and trains them in right interpersonal relationships.”  (EV #97)

Many opportunities have arisen this year to present to various groups, schools and conferences.  Father Clovis joined us in June and not only provided for our spiritual needs, but gave many inspiring talks in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

The highlight of the year was the week of pro-life activities at the beginning of October!  This week included the fabulous LifeFest Youth Conference which attracted more than 100 youth from all over the country, and the Living the Splendour of Truth Conference, both held in Auckland.  Raymond Cardinal Burke’s address on living the splendour of truth was an outstanding teaching on the moral life and each of the speakers inspired and informed on the critical life and family issues facing society today. 

Each educational event has been important both for people hearing the pro-life, pro-family message for the first time and for those of us already active in the movement to be further formed and to connect with like-minded individuals.

The following Conference presentations (along with talks from past conferences) are available on FLI’s YouTube Channel with more to come:

Homily of Cardinal Burke at the Opening Mass
Prioritising the Most Vulnerable – Dr Colin Harte, PhD
Flexible Genders and the Flight from Reason – Dr Wanda Skowronska
The Family Under Siege – Dr Brian Clowes, PhD
The Greatest Work on Earth – Father Shenan Boquet

Activities such as 40 Days for Life and the March for Life, held in Wellington, can also be seen as educational pursuits.  Through witnessing to life in a public manner, consciences are awakened to truth, giving people an opportunity to seriously examine their position.  With greater numbers we can make a further impact in drawing people’s attention away from the anti-life rhetoric and to truth and freedom – therefore saving even more lives!

Service

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:12

Through FLI’s Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support, the team has been able to serve a great number of women seeking pregnancy tests, information about options, emergency accommodation and practical needs such as clothes and baby equipment.

Because of your generosity, both through financial means and gifts of baby clothes and equipment, we have been able to support those in most need at a vulnerable time in their lives.  Thank you!  

The year ahead

The biggest challenges in our work to defend and protect life, faith and family are lying in wait for 2019. 

With abortion law reform on the agenda and euthanasia/assisted suicide legislation being considered in parliament there is an urgent need to educate on these issues and provide concrete life-affirming solutions to the difficulties that people face which lead them to want to advocate for and choose death.

The ideologues, pushing their sinister agenda confusing children and young people about their inviolable dignity, sexuality and gender, are hard at work wreaking havoc by gaining ever-increasing ground in almost every aspect of society.

There is much work to be done.  But we should not feel defeated.  Nor should we be afraid.

Saint John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae that “the challenge facing us is an arduous one:  only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization.” (EV #91)

Today is the eve of the greatest birth of all time.  In the humble birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we find hope, joy and peace.  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his Christmas Eve Mass of 2016 explained how we can learn from his humble birth

“God makes himself small for us.  This is how he reigns.  He does not come with power and outward splendour.  He comes as a baby, defenceless and in need of our help.  In this way God teaches us to love the little ones.  In this way he teaches us to love the weak.  In this way he teaches us respect for children.” 

In Our Lord’s smallness we learn how to love and be humble servants willing to do all that is required out of love for God and neighbour.  This we must cling to as we fight the good fight, defending, protecting, loving and serving life, faith and family, every day of the year.

On this Christmas Eve, may the Christ Child bless each of you!

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