Mike Stack, Site Leader for the Detroit Rachel’s Vineyard ministry, and former Regional Coordinator with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign passed away on August 14th. Mike was a Missionary of the Gospel of Life and served as a Coordinator of the Southfield 40 Days for Life Campaign.
Mike died on the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe, the great Polish priest who gave his life for a fellow prisoner at Auschwitz-a married man with children. His death also falls on the Vigil of the Assumption of our Blessed Lady. How fitting as Mike had a beautiful and fatherly heart of faith and love for Christ, his Blessed Mother and the Church that he shared so generously in his life. Anyone blessed to be touched by his ministry to vulnerable young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, or those wounded by abortion loss, can attest to the faith, courage and gentle love of this man of God.
Below I share two articles by Mike that will reveal some of the beautiful ministry of this man. The first reveals the relationship of his vocation as an ultra-sound technician at a Pregnancy Resource Center and his ministry in Rachel’s Vineyard. This is an extremely important testimony as it points to the level of grief for those who are intimately involved in the death of the unborn, well beyond the immediate impact on the parents. Even front-line pro lifers trying to prevent these tragic deaths, naturally suffer complicated grief from this experience.
The second article is an excellent piece on the need for awareness and healing for men who suffer after participating in the death of their unborn child:
A little piece of my heart
By Mike Stack
[Mike served as an Ultrasound Technician at a Local Pregnancy Resource Center since 2003 and was employed since 1976 as an Ultrasound Technician.-KB ]
A little piece of my heart is wounded each time we are unable to help a woman turn from her plan to abort the tiny human life within her womb. As an Ultrasound Technician for the past 35 years, I have had the honor of witnessing the work of the Lord, in the womb. “I knit you together in your Mother’s womb…” Psalm 139:13…
Many Post Abortion women have commented that a piece of their heart died with their aborted child, just like any parent that looses a child. It doesn’t matter what stage of development. What matters is that those that have lost a child have a deep grief. Grief that is made worse when it is a secret…
I found myself in a similar, secret (hidden) grieving place and didn’t know where to turn for help.
I found the place to turn to when I attended a Post-abortion recovery weekend retreat (Rachael’s Vineyard). To my surprise the grief I had been carrying came forth in uncontrolled, sobbing tears. I was grieving the loss of so many children I had come to know…. Read the whole article here
Getting the Word Out to Men
By Mike Stack
I was excited to be invited to speak at a Men’s Fellowship retreat earlier this year by the leader of this Men’s ministry group at our former parish. He knew of my involvement with Rachel’s Vineyard and thought it would be a good topic for the after dinner talk to the (40) guys on this annual retreat. Some men’s ministries arereluctant to address the issue of abortion loss on a men’s retreat, thinking it is not the place, so I was especially grateful for the opportunity.
However Public speaking is not exactly in my ‘comfort zone’ and so when I found out that I had a 90 minute time slot to fill I was a bit concerned. The Lord inspired me with a simple program that included the Dear Children video that we use on Friday evening of our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, and the personal testimony of some former retreatants. We had one couple and two men who have experienced abortion loss each give a short testimony.
I gave some introductory comments about the history of Rachel’s Vineyard and that the retreats were open to both men and women (grandparents, siblings and former abortion providers.) We offered time for questions at the end. It was a simple program that planted seeds for this group of men who, for the most part, were not aware of Rachel’s Vineyard or the need for men’s healing after abortion.
During the video I sat near the back of the room and from that viewpoint I could observe the guys’ reactions to the video. There were several handkerchiefs pulled out and some tears wiped away. I feel confident that we ‘planted seeds’ for some of these men to learn more about abortion loss and healing in Rachel’s Vineyard.
It seems to me the best thing for us to do is to plant seeds, to prepare people with knowledge of this healing resource. For some it will be for themselves, for others it’s to share in a future conversation or situation with a friend, family member or spouse.
In this case we also had the benefit of men receiving the knowledge that abortion hurts women, men and relationships. I think the simple program worked well and is probably something that could be easily repeated or expanded upon. I include parts of the thank you note from Gerry:
Hi Mike… the presentation was outstanding… thank you for being there.
There was a very positive response from the guys for the depth of sharing … heck even the topic … one guy admitted that he was skeptical when he heard the topic and wondered why it should be at a men’s retreat, but by the end of the video, was convicted by his doubt. I’m hoping we have more involvement in the fight against abortion from what the guys experienced … your group certainly raised the consciousness of the issues surrounding it…Be sure to thank the volunteers for their courage in witnessing to us … I know it can’t be easy, even though it is giving testimony to the love of God.
God bless, Gerry
In my own life and ministry I am seeing a growing awareness of the need of healing for the men that have been involved in abortion. It’s seems that more of these fathers are finding their way to the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats. I think many of us have experienced the huge blessings that occur both to the men and to the women that attend a given retreat (with men present.)
My take on the retreat process is that the main healer is Christ, who is present in a special way through the Living Scripture exercises (and the Sacraments in the Catholic model). Christ, the healer, is also present and working through the participants. The stories of pain and healing that are shared during the weekend work to help facilitate Christ’s love and healing. Obviously women and men experience the pain of abortion in different ways. The richness of the mix of men’s and women’s sharing always seems to be a critical part of the healing on any given weekend retreat.