MALVERN, PA – “The Biblical Concept of Healing” was the topic of the keynote speech yesterday morning as the 2011 Rachel’s Vineyard Leadership Retreat got underway at the Malvern Retreat Center. This year’s full-to-capacity retreat, with more than 250 participants attending from all over the world, is the largest ever.
“The Rachel’s Vineyard model for healing after abortion is highly regarded everywhere, including the Vatican,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and the morning’s keynote speaker. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life. Father Pavone noted that Dr. Theresa Burke and Kevin Burke, co-founders of Rachel’s Vineyard, were invited to address the Pontifical Academy for Life this past February.
The Priests for Life pastoral team is attending the weeklong conference, which this year also offers special resources and workshops for regional coordinators of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Campaign co-founders Janet Morana and Georgette Forney will offer classes on public speaking, media and healing workshops. The campaign is for those who have been through post-abortion healing programs and have decided to speak out about their abortion experiences.
Among the highlights of the day’s gathering was a talk by Dr. Burke on “Understanding Repeat Abortions,” and a workshop led by Father Pavone and Mrs. Morana titled “Do Post-Abortion Healing and Pro-Life Activism Mix?”
Rachel’s Vineyard began in 1994 as a unique support group model for counselors treating women who were grieving the loss of their aborted children. Rachel’s Vineyard quickly became a grassroots national outreach. From 18 retreats in 1999, the ministry now offers 700 retreats annually, in 47 states and 25 countries, with many new sites in development.
Several Bishops have attended weekend retreats themselves. Attending this week’s leadership conference is Bishop David Choby of the Diocese of Nashville.
“With this year’s theme, Disciples of Love, Witnesses of Hope, we are sure all conference attendees will be inspired with new ideas, information, and strategies to assist and rejuvenate them in their vocation to do God’s work of healing in post-abortive women and men and building a culture of life,” Dr. Burke said.
Father Benedict Groeschel, founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, has had high praise for Rachel’s Vineyard. “I cannot think of another work of this kind so well done. A most difficult and painful human problem is engaged with faith, psychological insight and trust.”
Visit www.rachelsvineyard.org to learn more about the ministry and to view the conference schedule.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.