FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 14, 2011
Contact: Andre Kim
Fr. Frank Pavone, Pastoral Director of Rachel’s Vineyard, issued the following statement today after Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Galveston-Houston), Cardinal Sean O’Malley (Boston), and Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Washington, DC) addressed this morning’s meeting of the United States Catholic Bishops regarding the topic of healing after abortion:
We at Rachel’s Vineyard and Priests for Life are grateful for the strong affirmation today, on the part of the bishops, that nobody who has committed abortion should be afraid to approach God and the Church for reconciliation and healing.
As the largest ministry in the Catholic Church for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, which operates under the umbrella of Priests for Life, is a key resource for the Church’s Project Rachel ministry. Some 70 dioceses in the United States alone utilize Rachel’s Vineyard as part of (or in some cases their only) ministry of healing after abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard, as an interdenominational ministry, also serves other Christian Churches with its retreat program.
This year, Rachel’s Vineyard will have completed close to a thousand retreats worldwide for both women and men who have suffered from abortion.
In the year ahead, we look forward to continued growth, not only with retreats but with training for priests, counselors, and other professionals based on the research and teaching of Rachel’s Vineyard founder Dr. Theresa Burke and her husband Kevin, and the other pastoral resources provided by Priests for Life.
Along with more training, the bishops have also called for increased efforts to get the word out to the tens of millions of people in need of this healing. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign (a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life), the world’s largest mobilization of men and women who have experienced healing after abortion, is one of the ways to do this. Their testimonies, shared in Churches, at public rallies, and in the media, evoke in the hearts of those who are alienated from the Church the confidence that they can return and find the peace for which they long. The Campaign is gearing up for a large public gathering in conjunction with the January March for Life in Washington and Walk for Life in San Francisco.
In addition to this statement, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries also issued a statement clarifying the distinction and complementarity between “Rachel’s Vineyard” and “Project Rachel.” That statement accompanies this release.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.
Rachel’s Vineyard: A Healing Gift to the Church
By Fr Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director and Chairman of the Board of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
A voice was heard in Ramah: wailing and great mourning. Rachel was crying for her children. She refused to be comforted, because they no longer existed. –Matthew 2:18
Many post abortion ministries have a reference to “Rachel” in their title which points to a biblical passage from Jeremiah concerning the exile of God’s people and later found in Matthew’s Gospel in the tragic account of the slaughter of the first born males in Bethlehem by Herod’s soldiers. For those ministering to mothers and fathers after abortion, this reference to the loud cries of wailing and grief at the loss of the innocent children of Bethlehem became a powerful biblical metaphor calling the Christian community to offer the healing of Christ for all who have participated in the death of the unborn.
Two prominent post abortion ministries share the name Rachel. Project Rachel is a name of the official post abortion outreach of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a number of Dioceses use this umbrella term as the name of their offices that offer post abortion services. There are other post abortion ministries that operate in other Diocesan offices, such as Family Life or Respect Life, or as part of the Catholic Charities outreach. There are countless independent post abortion ministries operating with varying degrees of collaboration with their local diocese. Within the interdenominational community, we find a similar diversity of post abortion ministries and programs.
Rachel’s Vineyard: A Ministry of Service to God’s People
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people. – Matthew 20:28
Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries (RVM) features a weekend healing retreat for post abortion healing found in 33 countries with the retreat manual translated into 14 languages. In addition RVM, drawing from its extensive experience of 15 years in international post abortion ministry, offers the latest in training and resources to those ministering to anyone wounded by abortion. At the heart of the mission of RVM is being at the service to those churches, faith communities and ministries called to bring the healing of Christ to those wounded by abortion.
Whether a Project Rachel ministry in a US diocese or an interdenominational community overseas, the heart of the mission of Rachel’s Vineyard is one of service offering our experience, programs and resources to empower post abortion ministries to better serve God’s people.