September 29, 2017 (Priests for Life) — Long before the first Christmas, the prophets foretold of the coming of Emmanuel — God with us. When Christ walked the earth among the people, He was with us. When He ascended into heaven, He sent to the church at Pentecost the Holy Spirit, who dwells inside all those who have been baptized. God is with us. Matthew 28:20 ends with this promise from Jesus, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We should never feel alone. Nor should those who face a pregnancy they feel they cannot handle. From a pro-life perspective, as long as there are Christians in this world, no woman should ever face those fears alone. As the body of Christ, we will be ever present to her and her family. The body has been endowed with every spiritual gift. How does that manifest itself? Beyond the tabernacle, we are his hands, and feet, and heart to the world.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Saving a life from abortion and a heart from despair can be as easy as memorizing a phone number and a website and passing it on. And that is how Priests for Life is urging parishes to observe October’s Respect Life Month, through a special project in partnership with Heartbeat International and Good Counsel Homes.
Heartbeat International is the largest network of life-affirming pregnancy help organizations in the world. Their message is, “Every woman should be loved and supported during her pregnancy. Help someone with an unintended pregnancy connect to local life-affirming pregnancy help quickly at Heartbeat's OptionLine.org, or by calling our 24/7 emergency helpline 800-712-HELP (4357).” This hotline will connect people with the help available closest to where they live. Confidential guidance is offered, both in English and in Spanish.
Respect Life Month offers a perfect opportunity for churches to start to put such life-saving information in parish bulletins and on websites. Priests for Life has been urging pastors for decades to make information about these services a permanent aspect of their parish bulletin and website. There is simply no good reason for any church, Catholic or otherwise, not to offer this life-saving information, which is the most basic of resources.
For many years, Priests for Life has collaborated with Heartbeat International, Good Counsel Homes, and other similar service organizations to promote awareness of alternatives to abortion and healing after abortion. Sometimes these alternatives simply consist in a listening ear and encouraging word; or else they meet wider needs like counseling, a place to stay, medical services, legal advice, adoption services, parenting classes or guidance in seeking employment.
Good Counsel offers homes for any pregnant, homeless mother in need. Mothers, with or without other children, including those struggling with addiction or mental health challenges, may live in a Good Counsel home for a year or longer, return to school, begin a vocational training program or find a job. Visit www.goodcounselhomes.org or call 800-723-8331 any time of any day for help or to offer help. More information may be found at Good Counsel Homes on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.
All three organizations sponsoring this project also offer resources for healing after abortion. Many of the pregnancy centers have post-abortion healing programs, as does Good Counsel. Moreover, Priests for Life oversees the world's largest ministry of healing after abortion, Rachel's Vineyard.
Priests for Life has set up the website AbortionForgiveness.com at which one can enter a ZIP code and find the ministries for healing after abortion closest to home. These include pregnancy centers, special ministries and Rachel's Vineyard retreat sites.
The three groups are making a simple plea to Churches of all denominations: Let your people know that help is available! Place on your parish bulletin and website one or more of the hotline numbers and websites that we provide.
There are many hotlines, websites and services available, but the ones we are promoting, we believe, are the most comprehensive. Pastors willing to make this information readily accessible will reach so many who need this help while also equipping parishioners to provide such help to people they might encounter in their own lives.
And to all, the true face of the pro-life movement and the Church will become clearer. We do not point fingers of condemnation but rather extend hands of mercy and help and hope. Let's utilize these concrete tools to replace despair with hope and save many lives.
Reprinted with permission from Priests for Life.