First, I want to thank all who have been so generous with your prayers, cards and gifts at the time of Christmas! Your generosity and kindness has been truly wonderful!
Second, I want to the thank all who helped in any way to make our Christmas liturgies so beautiful! I know there are many who sacrificed your time and efforts to help in a variety of ways. Many of you work ‘behind the scenes’ and I want you to know of my gratitude. May God reward you!
On January 22, our nation will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the fateful Roe v. Wade United States Supreme Court decision that permits the practice of abortion in our country. The act of abortion is contrary to will and law of God. Our good Lord gives human life to individual persons, beginning at conception, and only He has the authority to determine the timing of death for a human person.
The practice of abortion in our country and world puts our society and culture against God and His plan for the human family. In light of this reality, we are called to lend our voice to our unborn brothers and sisters and to all in our world whose lives are rejected.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are sponsoring ‘9 Days for Life’ prayer and action effort beginning January 18 and going through January 26. In the bulletin this weekend I have included a ‘Novena to Three American Saints for Building the Culture of Life’. Let us join in prayer for healing in our country.
Finally, let us especially remember those who have been wounded by abortion: aborted children, and mothers and fathers who have chosen abortion. Our good Lord’s mercy seeks to heal the wounds of abortion, especially those who have been most affected by abortion. Jesus de-sires that we all work with Him to help hearts receive His love and mercy after abortion. He desires to forgive – which will stop the cycle of misery and death that surrounds abortion.
I include this week a message from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled:
A Nationwide Call for Healing after Abortion
“During the recent meeting of all Catholic Bishops in the United States, Cardinals Daniel DiNardo, Seán O'Malley, and Donald Wuerl made an historic presentation calling for increased outreach in the Church's post-abortion healing ministry, known as Project Rachel. Never before have three cardinals taken the podium together to deliver such a message to their brother bishops.
Cardinal DiNardo reminded his brothers that: "We know that God's mercy and his healing grace are freely available to every repentant heart. Yet those who have been involved in abortion bear such awful wounds that many despair of ever being forgiven by God. How often we hear it said, regarding a past abortion: 'I have committed an unforgivable sin'?"
Cardinal DiNardo also pointed out that: "Many in our culture wrongly claim that, just as the Church condemns the act of abortion, it also condemns individuals who have been involved in abortion. Such mischaracterizations are not only false, they are dangerous, because they discourage women and men in need of God's forgiveness from seeking Sacramental Reconciliation and pastoral care."
Cardinal O'Malley described the Church's long history of reaching out to mothers, fathers, and families of aborted children, and the Church's open invitation to "Come back to God who is Love and Mercy." Cardinal Wuerl emphasized the commitment of the bishops' Conference to expand its efforts to draw all to reconciliation and healing through the many new materials developed by the Conference for diocesan use.
Why this message at this time? As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's fateful decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the death toll from abortion is over 53 million children in the United States alone. Taking repeat abortions into account, the number of women who have lost one or more children in abortions could be 35 million or more.
Twenty-eight percent of women who have abortions identify them-selves as Catholic. This means that perhaps 10 million Catholic women have been involved in abortion in the past 40 years, along with a roughly equal number of men who fathered an aborted child. Many other family members and friends are seriously affected as well. Not only the broader culture but the members of our Church are gravely wounded by abortion.
Yet out of this suffering, our Lord can bring great healing. As we reflect on nearly 40 years of legalized abortion in our country, let us acknowledge our woundedness and dedicate ourselves to efforts of prayer, reparation, and evangelization to usher in a new Culture of Life. In his concluding remarks, Cardinal DiNardo stated that the Project Rachel Ministry of the Church should be at the center of our efforts in the New Evangelization. Each of us is uniquely called to participate in this evangelization. If you know of anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, who is suffering from a past abortion, you can be of tremendous assistance by lovingly encouraging them to seek non-judgmental & confidential help at 888-456-HOPE or HopeAfterAbortion.org.” (taken from www.usccb.org) Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may Jesus grant His mercy and healing to our country and the whole world!