Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

What is Rachel’s Vineyard?

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011





Rachel’s Vineyard is a retreat program for women and men who have lost a child by abortion. The retreat provides an opportunity to face the wounds of abortion in a safe, affirming environment of prayer and the support of others who have been through the same experience. Through the use of “Living Scriptures,” participants are invited to place themselves into the parables and other Scriptural events, and encounter Jesus Who heals them.

These retreats, of course, are not meant to substitute for the individual, ongoing counseling that comprises the journey of post-abortion healing, but they are a stepping stone towards making those sessions even more fruitful.

Rachel’s Vineyard is the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, and is a ministry of Priests for Life. Find out more about it at rachelsvineyard.org.

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Rachel’s Vineyard Releases New Retreat Manual as Record-setting Conference Begins

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011





Malvern, PA – Father Frank Pavone, Pastoral Director and Chairman of Rachel’s Vineyard, along with the founders of the ministry, Dr. Theresa and Kevin Burke, released the new version of the Catholic Retreat Manual yesterday to the 250 leaders present for the bi-annual Leadership Training Conference here. Bearing the Imprimatur of the Church, this manual is the official guide on how to conduct a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, and is updated periodically based on input from those who use it.

“We are pleased with the work that was done by so many people over the past year to make the new Catholic manual possible,” Father Pavone said. “As the largest ministry in the world for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard is committed to carrying out its retreats in a way that reflects fidelity to Church teaching as well as the highest therapeutic standards of the mental health profession.

“We are blessed not only with an excellent advisory board of bishops, but with a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other professional counselors who have been carrying out these retreats for many years.”

Workshops continue today, with participants from all over the world. A media training seminar, given by Catholic media expert Teresa Tomeo, will help participants today to utilize the media to spread the Church’s urgent invitation to healing and reconciliation after abortion.

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.

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Largest ever Rachel’s Vineyard conference opened yesterday in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011





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.

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Blest Are They Who Seek Justice

Thursday, July 7th, 2011





Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice; they will be satisfied. This beatitude speaks to the heart of the pro-life movement. We seek justice first of all by seeking to be right with God and in all our relationships, and we seek justice by seeking to protect the rights of all, especially the weakest among us, our brothers and sisters in the womb. We are blessed not merely by believing they have a right to life, but by feeling the hunger and thirst, the longing and yearning, that they be protected and that this right be recognized and secured by law.

We also seek justice by working to extend healing and forgiveness to all who have been involved in abortion, that they, too, will be right with God and know His peace.

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Let Us Pray for All Fathers

Thursday, June 16th, 2011





This weekend we observe Father’s Day. We thank God for faithful fathers who, like God Himself, give and protect life. Let’s also pray for fathers who are afraid to be fathers. Thousands of times a day, children are aborted, not because of a choice of the mother, but because of the choice of a father, who fails to show the faithfulness and willingness to protect the child he has helped conceive. At other times, fathers tried to stop the abortion, but the law excludes them from the final decision about the abortion. Men do suffer grief after the abortion of their child. Healing programs are available for these fathers.

Let us pray today for all fathers. When their child is unexpected, may they welcome that child and encourage the child’s mother to say yes to life.

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Miscarriage

Monday, June 6th, 2011





The wound comes from well-meaning people. “Well, it wasn’t that far along.” “You can always have another child.” “Lots of people go through this.”

Miscarriage is a tragedy that so many people misunderstand. They are not quite sure how to console a friend or relative who has suffered this loss.

While there are no magic formulas, there is one fundamental truth that needs to stay front and center: a miscarriage is the loss of a child who is just as real and has just as much value as any other child of any age. A woman who has a miscarriage is a parent who has lost a child, as is the father of the child as well.

In a society which continues to have a legal and cultural blind spot for the unborn, many suffer from the illusion that miscarriage doesn’t grieve a parent as much as the loss of, well, a “real child,” and that is precisely what hurts so much. We can never console someone in grief if we imply, even remotely, that the person they lost wasn’t real.

Dr. Byron Calhoun, President of the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns, has observed that prior to 1970, the loss of a child before or during birth was often treated in medical literature as a “non-event,” but that now there is a growing awareness of the grief associated with such loss. In fact, Dr. Calhoun has developed a hospice program for unborn children.

As the medical community advances in sensitivity and understanding of these points, so must we all. Our love, our compassion, our sharing in the grief of such losses, can bring healing to the parents who have suffered miscarriage. The naming of these children who have died is one significant way of acknowledging their reality. The counting of these children matters too, so that if a parent is asked how many children he/she has, the child who died before birth is counted as one of them.

I recall the first pro-life billboard that we set up in 1990 here in our community of Staten Island, New York. It depicted a developing unborn child. One of the first phone calls I received about it was from a woman who had lost a child by miscarriage. “I can’t tell you how consoling your billboard is to me. Thank you.” That was all she said.

Perhaps the reason it was consoling was that someone was saying publicly what she knew privately: that was a real child. The life of that child matters, no matter how short it was. The death of that child matters, no matter how many may not cry. And the love I have for that child matters, even if nobody else knows.

Lord, comfort all parents who grieve the loss of their children of any age. Take them into Your loving arms, and give us strength until the day You give them back to us in heaven. Amen.

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Healing is the First Priority

Friday, June 3rd, 2011





Hundreds of people in our nation have worked in the abortion industry, whether in Planned Parenthood or in any of the many independent killing centers, and have stopped doing so because of a moral conversion. We at Priests for Life minister to many of them. And what is the first thing that they need? They need healing. The guided effort to face what they have done and to find spiritual and psychological wholeness must be their first activity and responsibility. Only after this crucial process and careful discernment with the help of the pro-life community should those who so desire begin to share their story on the speaking circuit. Let’s pray for all those who have performed abortion, and for their healing and peace. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.

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Steven Tyler’s Former Girlfriend Tells the Story of their Abortion

Thursday, May 26th, 2011





Aerosmith singer and “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler has written and spoken about the son he lost to abortion in the 1970s. The baby’s mother was Julia Holcomb, a young woman who was 16 years old when she became Tyler’s legal ward and went to live with him in Boston.

After Kevin Burke, full-time pastoral associate of Priests for Life and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, wrote about Tyler’s abortion experience in a piece published May 4th in National Review Online, Julia contacted Burke to say that for years, she has been looking for a way to respond to the many published accounts of their relationship, most recently in Tyler’s autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? The compassion with which Burke wrote about Tyler as a post-abortive father prompted her to entrust her own story to his care.

On May 24th, in an essay published on LifeSiteNews.com, the former Julia Holcomb gives a behind-the-scenes look at life with a rock legend, including a harrowing account of a near-fatal apartment fire and the abortion.

“My National Review article on post-abortive father Steven Tyler and his high visibility as an Idol judge, with a new autobiography and song just released, provide a providential opportunity for Julia to share her experience of the dramatic events that took place during her three-year, live-in relationship with Tyler,” Burke said. “This is an intense and at times frightening and disturbing journey…but in the end it is an inspirational story of hope and healing. Julia is a woman of great courage and faith and it has truly been a blessing and a privilege to be entrusted with her story.”

Father Frank Pavone said, “Julia’s story of redemption and the incredible turnaround she has seen in her life should serve as a powerful witness to women who are still struggling with their own abortions.”

“Forgiveness and healing are available for all women and men who have had their children aborted, for every abortionist, for every abortion clinic worker,” Father Pavone said. “Julia’s story should serve as an invitation for each one of them to face the truth about abortion, and to seek healing.”

Read Julia’s incredible story at:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/the-light-of-the-world-the-steve-tyler-and-julia-holcomb-story

Burke’s original story on Steven Tyler can be found at:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/266316/post-abortion-trauma-kevin-burke

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The Pope’s Bioethics Council

Monday, April 18th, 2011





At the end of February I was privileged to be welcomed at the Vatican as a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Established in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, this body has “the specific task to study and provide information and training about the principal problems of law and biomedicine pertaining to the promotion and protection of life, especially in the direct relationship they have with Christian morality.”

In our General Assembly meeting this year, we addressed in depth the theme of post-abortion healing. Two other members of our Priests for Life team were also invited: Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and Dr. Theresa Burke, who founded Rachel’s Vineyard.

The group met with Pope Benedict, who said in his address, “It is necessary to provide the necessary help to women who sadly have already taken recourse to abortion, and who now experience all its moral and existential tragedy. There are many initiatives, at the diocesan level or through individual volunteer entities, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a complete human recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community cannot give up this type of co-responsibility.”

He also had strong words about the responsibilities of doctors:

“Doctors cannot fail to defend against the deception of the conscience of many women who think they will find in abortion the solution to family, economic, social difficulties or to the problems of health of their children. Especially in this last situation, the woman is convinced, often by the doctors themselves, that abortion represents not only a licit moral choice, but that in addition it is a necessary “therapeutic” act”.

He also said doctors are to “Continue affirming that abortion does not resolve anything, but that it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child’s father, often ruining family life.”

The Pope expanded on the idea of fathers by saying:

“It would be useful to focus attention on the fathers of the children, who often abandon pregnant women. It is the duty of the moral conscience to discern good from evil in the different situations of existence.”

While men can’t have abortions, they do commit the sin of abortion. The “abandonment” of which the Pope speaks often consists in the man saying it is the woman’s choice. This makes her feel alone and desperate, and increases the temptation to abort. The man, instead, is called to stand with the woman and the baby and say, “we can do the right thing.”

Finally, the Pope reminded us all that “It is necessary that the whole of society defend the right to life of the conceived and the true good of the woman, who never, under any circumstance, will be fulfilled in the choice of abortion.”

As one of many entities of the Vatican – essentially a bioethics council for the Pope and the Church — the Academy for Life represents a key concern of the Church. You can follow its activities and publications at www.AcademiaVita.org.

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Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Joseph

Friday, March 18th, 2011





On March 19th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Her patron, St. Joseph. Though not the biological father of Jesus, Who was born of a virgin, Joseph was His protector and the faithful husband of Mary. Joseph is a model for all fathers today. Essential to fatherhood is the protection of one’s children. One of the main reasons for abortion is that the mother does not experience the supportive, faithful encouragement of the baby’s father. Often, the only “choice” in the matter is the abortion that the father forces on the mother. At other times, fathers tried to stop the abortion, but the law excludes them from the final decision about the abortion.

Men do suffer grief after the abortion of their child. Healing programs are available for these fathers. Contact priestsforlife.org for more information.

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