“A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world.” Saint Pope John Paul II called for this prayer in his great encyclical letter “Evangelium Vitae”.
The fulfilment of this request happens in a very special way during Lent, as people throughout the world gather outside abortion facilities in their local communities to pray for an end to abortion and to stand in witness to the grave crime that happens every day in our midst.
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was a wife, mother and physician. She lived her life believing wholeheartedly in Divine Providence and with a fervent desire to carry out God’s will even when that required great sacrifice.
As the family comes under attack in so many different ways, as the importance of self is elevated and the maternal instinct is squashed, Saint Gianna’s virtuous life is a reminder of the truth about the dignity of the human person and of marriage and family life.
Recently, Father Linus Clovis, our Spiritual Director, addressed the pro-life and pro-family leaders gathered for the Rome Life Forum. His talk was entitled “The Francis Effect”.
The Rome Life Forum was organised by Voice of the Family and the focus of the meetings was the Synod of the Family.
Father Clovis is the director of the Secretariat for Family and Life in St Lucia. He has a doctorate in Mathematics and degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Latin Literature. He was ordained by St John Paul II in 1983.
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
These words of great trust in God, and self-giving, were those of Mary as the Angel Gabriel came to her, and announced the conception of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Today we, in the Catholic Church, celebrate that moment. A moment where Mary put aside all her fear and her wondering and offered herself totally to the will of God and to the gift of life.
While the summer sun keeps shining and the children are playing and enjoying their break from school, the seemingly endless days of summer with limited commitments and a generally slow start to each day, is coming to a close for most.
And it needs to!
This year – 2015 – is an important year for all those who work to restore the culture.
Over 500 people traveled to Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin to hear the powerful and inspiring story of Abby Johnson over the last week.
Abby is a former clinic director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas. She worked there out of a great desire to help women in need. However, after eight years, Abby realised that she had been duped; that Planned Parenthood were only about the acquisition of money and that their services weren’t really as comprehensive as they liked to let on.
After viewing an ultrasound guided abortion of a 13-week-old little boy, Abby’s view of abortion changed and she came to understand over the coming days that she could no longer work at Planned Parenthood.
Abby was invited to come to New Zealand by Family Life International. The time available was limited, so the decision was made to have presentations in the three city centres where Family Life International has a presence with their John Paul II Centres for Life. It was hoped that Abby would convey how urgent it is to act, the best way to reach abortion workers, and to give encouragement to those who work so tirelessly for life.
Here are just some of the points that came through from the four talks Abby gave throughout New Zealand:
We must act Babies are dying, women are being hurt from abortion. It is horrific. If the government were setting up facilities where women could bring their already born children to be killed, what would you do? Society would (hopefully) be outraged. We must be outraged that babies are being torn apart or poisoned in their mother’s wombs.
Each one of us needs to do more Abby asked for each person to think about what they could do to help make abortion unthinkable. “If you are not doing anything at all then do something, if you are already doing something, then do more”was an important point that came through every talk. Prayer is important – vital. But prayer should lead us to act.
Christians need to start worrying about offending the heart of God
This statement cuts to the very centre of the issue. We Christians are afraid of offending people. But we need to worry about offending the heart of God. Nothing must offend God more than the destruction through abortion of His little ones, made in His image and likeness – and our inaction, our apathy.
There are many ways to act
Every person has gifts to bring the pro-life movement. Here are just some of the ways you might be able to make a difference:
Volunteer at your local pregnancy centre – counselling, answering phones, cleaning, gardening, office administration, fundraising, sorting clothes and baby equipment, teaching classes to mothers, pampering the mothers with beauty treatments… Medical professionals are also needed: doctors, nurses, midwives, ultrasound technicians…
Reforming the law around abortion. It concerned Abby that while there is a big push for abortion to come out of the Crimes Act, New Zealand pro-lifer’s were not working on legislation to promote life (that I am aware of – MK).
Social Media. Use social media to our advantage, to speak the truth about the humanity of the preborn child and to speak of the reality of abortion.
Education is vitally important. Some people are born teachers and we have important teaching to do!
Presence outside abortion facilities. We need pray-ers and people to counsel women who are going into the abortion facilities.
Our presence outside abortion facilities is vital
It was noted that most of the abortions in New Zealand occur in public hospitals and this can pose a problem. However this is a brilliant opportunity to educate the general public about what is going on in our hospitals and what abortion actually is!
When we stand outside of abortion facilities we are not there to protest! It is a powerful witness to what is occurring within the walls of the building. Sidewalk counsellors have an opportunity to talk to those who are going into the facility for an abortion. They are able to listen and offer real alternatives and practical support to women who are facing their greatest hour of need at that time. Those present are also able to reach out to abortion workers, to be a friendly face. We are not there to condemn, we are there to offer hope and to serve.
Abby encouraged those present at the talks to try praying outside an abortion facility – especially the youth and priests, bishops and pastors of other denominations. 40 Days for Life is a great opportunity to do this. It was encouraging for those present to hear that it is normal for those who go outside the facilities to feel nervous and “weird” about it.
It was an honour to meet so many wonderful people throughout the country as I travelled with Abby and Heather. So many of you are doing many wonderful things to promote life and you genuinely want to do more. It was encouraging for me to see that. For more information about what you can do to help Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centres in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin or in the other regions of New Zealand, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email here.
Together we will make abortion unthinkable in this land!