This year of 2019 has been one where the stench of death has risen in unprecedented ways in our nation of New Zealand, supposedly God’s Own. Many of those who govern, have chosen to turn their back on their responsibility to protect the weakest members of our society, instead pandering to the progressive agendas of the age. Agendas which originate with, and are funded by, powerful international elites.
As we look around us and try and take in all that is happening in our families, communities, nation and world it can be overwhelming. A sampling of some of the issues at hand reveals a frightening reality:
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
New Zealand now has the End of Life Choice Act in place and awaiting the approval of the people in a referendum.
An extreme law is on the table. A law which would legalise abortion up to birth for any reason with the only so-called test being after 20 weeks where a woman’s doctor must take into consideration her “wellbeing”. We await the report of the Abortion Legislation Committee on February 14, 2020.
The government has recently funded two hormonal IUDs – Mirena and Jaydess. Both these devices act as an abortifacient as they prevent the newly conceived human from implanting in the womb. Unborn children are still dying on mass. The true numbers are hidden as it is impossible to know how many babies are conceived and never make it because of artificial hormones and devices in a woman’s body. Family Planning boasts of an increase in uptake for these devices in the first six weeks of their availability for free.
The Transgender and Homosexual agenda
These have both taken the world by storm to the point where ordinary businesses have special policies and schools, even primary schools, must have policies and facilities or risk being labelled as ‘transphobic’. Rather than caring for the person, the militant proponents of the LGBT movement use people to enforce societal change in favour of their lifestyle and behaviours.
Protecting their children from secular and progressive ideas about sexuality is an ongoing struggle for families who wish to teach their children to remain chaste, develop wholesome friendships and to love purely. No longer reserved to one subject, it is impossible to remove children from all classes where the topic may come up. Many school libraries have on their shelves books which reinforce the various sexual agendas of the day and with the militant LGBT agenda fast becoming entrenched in schools, there is no escaping.
Sadly, approval of these evils isn’t just among the secular world. It is now seen as unmerciful in many Christian circles to proclaim the truth boldly and with true charity and compassion about many of these matters.
There is much more of course, and every day, heroic people throughout the country are fighting many battles to maintain some sanity and keep the truth alive in their own communities.
Courage begets Courage
It is said that courage begets courage. When we see others take a stand, we feel less alone in our desire to make things right and resist all the evils and disordered movements of the times. That’s why we must tell our stories to encourage others. The more we are courageous, the stronger we become – individually and collectively.
FLI’s Story in 2019
The team at FLI has worked hard all year to try and hold back the anti-life, anti-faith and anti-family tsunami and to serve at the coalface.
Our mission to build a culture of life by defending the dignity of human life from conception to natural death and upholding the natural family, all in the context of Catholic morality is a very wide mission but each aspect interconnects.
We achieve our mission through prayer, education and service. Mobilising, encouraging and equipping people so that together we can truly make a difference. Here are a few highlights from this year:
Service: Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support
- This month of December we have celebrated the birth of two babies and we await the birth of four more in the coming weeks!
- Throughout the year, we have assisted 170 mums and their babies all around New Zealand.
- We’ve continued to support women (and men) who come to us after abortion (often many years later).
- Offered information on fertility awareness and methods of Natural Fertility Regulation to those wanting to learn more.
Education: Publications and Presentations
- We’ve visited numerous parishes throughout the North Island this year. Around the time of submissions for the Abortion Legislation Bill we were busy encouraging people to make submissions and provided important information in order to make intelligent and persuasive arguments. The Gianna’s Choice Mobile Life Centre has played a huge role in drawing attention to the practical support available to women who may be tempted to abortion because of their particular circumstances.
- In July we hosted events in Auckland and Christchurch with John-Henry Westen from LifeSiteNews.
- Our comments and articles have reached tens of thousands of people through both national and international media.
- We gave a strong oral submission to the Abortion Legislation Committee in opposition to the proposed radical abortion law.
- Together with the Missionaries of Charity, we presented a Theology of the Body course for teens in Porirua.
- We hosted four screenings of the UnPlanned movie, the story of Abby Johnson a former Planned Parenthood clinic director. Abby is now a pro-life advocate, founder of And Then There Were None and a beautiful mother of 8. We were blessed to host Abby in December of 2014 and hear her story first hand, so to be able to share her story with an even wider audience was a great joy and had a massive impact on viewers.
- We worked with our friends at Voice for Life, Family First and Focus on the Family, as well as other groups, to organise the third National March for Life. An event that saw 2400 New Zealander’s from all over the country come together to be a voice for the unborn and their mothers, with a plea to our politicians to love them both.
- Throughout Lent a nationwide Lenten Prayer for Life took place to pray for an end to abortion in New Zealand, for pregnant mothers and the conversion of all those who participate in or promote abortion. Many prayed from home and every Wednesday a prayerful presence was kept outside the Auckland Medical Aid Centre and Wellington Hospital.
- A beautiful prayer booklet – Prayers to Protect Human Life – was produced and distributed throughout New Zealand to supporters and Catholic parishes.
- In September a Pilgrimage for Life took place beginning in the Far North and deep South, culminating in Wellington. The Pilgrimage was in response to the Abortion Legislation Bill.
- Vigils for Life were held in Wellington from June to November. These Vigils begin with Holy Mass after which a procession to the local abortion centre takes place. There, participants pray in reparation and for an end to abortion as well as for all those involved.
- Weekly Mass and the Daily Rosary takes place in our Chapel of the Annunciation in Auckland.
Moving into 2020 the challenges are great, but we will face them with a steadfast resolve to do all we can to be a light in what has now become a post-Christian world. Our plans up until Easter include:
- Continuing to assist mothers and families in their greatest hour of need by providing support and practical help so that they may give life to their babies.
- Providing ongoing training to our new and established Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support volunteers so they can be even more effective in their work with abortion-vulnerable mothers and families.
- Having a nurse join the team who can operate the ultrasound machine and provide a window to the womb. Our newest team member will also be able to extend to our mums medical care and appropriate advice.
- Facilitating two 40 Days for Life vigils – one in Auckland and another in Wellington. This life-saving effort which is all about handing everything over to God, brings all people of faith together to pray for an end to abortion and be a witness at the site where pre-born children are being brutally killed.
- Providing educational materials about abortion and euthanasia so that people are fully informed and equipped to fight for truth and lives.
Do not lose heart
Things are pretty bleak out there. However, as Saint James reminds us we “must be patient and do not lose heart” (James 5:8).
There is much hope. So many people are rising up to work together to make a difference. Every time a life is saved, every time a heart changes to embrace truth, every time a person steps out of what is comfortable… all of these are signs of hope.
And as Simon O’Connor so eloquently stated in one of the most moving speeches of 2019, “that which is right will always win, for the light will never be extinguished. And as history shows that when those who promote and celebrate death think they’ve won, life triumphs.”