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VINE AND BRANCHES

The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

May 2004

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"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing" John 15:5

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Rachel's Vineyard is on the web at: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org 

Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.

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Rachel's Vineyard Ministries offers weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion. It is a ministry of Priests for Life

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Please feel free to spread the word and pass along this newsletter to friends and colleagues. If you are receiving this newsletter because a friend forwarded it to you, details on subscribing (or unsubscribing) appear at the end.

Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

Editors: Catherine McHugh, Theresa Burke

Comments and questions: tburke@nti4.com 

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Contents

1. The Emmaus Walk

2. International Rachel's Vineyard Leadership Conference

3. Reflections on March for Women's Lives

4. Teen People Publishes the Wrong Story

5. Rachel's Vineyard Article Angers Des Moines Register Reader

6. Pilgrimage to Poland for those post abortive

7. New Rachel's Vineyard Sites in Development

8. Upcoming Rachel's Vineyard Retreat Schedule

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If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Mother Theresa

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THE EMMAUS WALK

By Jean Vanier

To be in communion with someone also means to walk with them. Those of you who have had the privilege of accompanying people in distress and inner pain know that it is not easy to walk with them, without having any answers to their problems or solutions to their pain. For many people in pain there is no solution; for a mother who has just lost her child or for a woman who has just been abandoned by her husband, there is no answer, there is just the pain. What they need is a friend willing to walk with them in all that pain. They do not need someone to tell them to try to forget the pain, because they won't. It is too deep. When a child has experienced rejection, you can say all sorts of nice things to the child, but that will not take away the pain. It will take a long time for that pain to diminish and it will probably never disappear.

Some of the men and women I have been living with for a number of years now are still in quite deep anguish. They are more peaceful than they were, but there are still moments anguish surges up in them. The essential at such moments is to walk with them, accepting them just as they are, to allow them to be themselves, that even though there are wounds, and pain in them, they are loved. It is a liberating experience for them to realize they do not have to conform to any preconceived idea about how they should be.

But this communion is not fusion. Fusion leads to confusion. In a relationship of communion, you are you and I am I; I have my identity and you have yours. I must be myself and you must be yourself. We are called to grow together, each one becoming more fully himself or herself. Communion, in fact, gives the freedom to grow. It is not possessiveness. It entails a deep listening to others, helping them to become more fully themselves.

(Jean Vanier is the founder of L'Arche, an international network of communities for the mentally disabled.)

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When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God helps more than all.

C.S. Lewis

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INTERNATIONAL RACHEL'S VINEYARD LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

Jun 21-24, 2004, Greensboro, North Carolina

This conference is packed with information for anyone involved in or starting up a post-abortion ministry. Hear Dr. Theresa Burke speak on abortion and PTSD, learn about "traumatic reenactment" and learn how the Rachel's Vineyard helps men and women to heal. Panels of experienced Rachel's Vineyard leaders will explain the "nuts and bolts" of running a retreat, while experienced leaders will benefit from a workshop on leading groups effectively. Much of the information presented will be of benefit to anyone involved in post-abortion and pregnancy care ministries. You do not have to be a current Rachel's Vineyard leader to attend.

Georgette Forney of the National Silent No More Awareness Campaign along with Priest's for Life Associate Director Janet Morana will teach you how to run a "Silent No More" event, how to write a testimony, and how to handle media interviews. Several post-abortive women will help give tips on sharing your testimony. Other speaker's training will help with skills to give a high impact presentation about your ministry to a range of audiences.

Clinical topics will range from "Men and Abortion" by Kevin Burke, M.S.S., LSW, to grief and forgiveness issues by grief therapist Celia Ryan, LCSW. Learn from Dr. Richard E. Faulk, Ph.D. how the Myers-Brigg personality types can affect how we work together in team ministry. Continuing education certificates will be provided for some workshops.

Priest's for Life Fr. Frank Pavone will be celebrant for the Thursday evening Mass, with music through the week provided by Greg Magirescu, internationally renowned musician who composed and played for the World Youth Day in Toronto.

The conference involves 16 presenters and over 30 different workshops in a 2-day multi-track teaching conference (June 23-24). A two day pre-conference (June 21-22) will be led by Fr. Bob Faricy (professor emeritus of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.), Dr. Susan Stanford Rue, Ph.D., and Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D. The conference will include opportunities to purchase new books and videos, and time for networking. Those attending full conference would check in on evening of June 20 and leave morning of June 25, but registration for either "half-conference" is possible at a reduced rate.

For information, contact: Dr. Martha Shuping, MD, mshuping01@sprynet.com or 336-659-1342.

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I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:6

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REFLECTIONS ON WASHINGTON'S MARCH FOR WOMEN'S LIVES

America's pro-choice minority marched in the nation's capital a few weeks ago, protesting what they perceive as attacks on women's reproductive rights.

"We sent a message to Washington today: there is a war on choice in this country, but we're going to win this battle," said Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "If this administration and Congress don't get the message after today, they are deaf to a growing wave of outrage," said Feldt.

Interesting she chose the words "deaf to a growing outrage."

Ironically, a growing number of women involved in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign stood on the sidelines of the March holding up signs like "Women Need Love, Not Abortion, and "I Regret my Abortion." The Silent No More Awareness Campaign represents a growing and powerful voice of truth. A truth that Marcher's did not want to hear as they paraded for "justice" chanting "Pro-Life that's a lie, they don't care if women die."

No one in the march seems to comprehend the disturbing particulars of abortion. They remain deaf to the fact that women continue to be the victims of despair. Many record based studies reveal unmistakable soaring rates of suicide after abortion, higher levels of depression, the development of addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse, eating disorders, skyrocketing rates of lethal breast cancer, infertility, anxiety, increases in heart disease, drastically elevated risk for premature deliveries in the future, and a legion of reproductive infections and complications that can impair a woman's ability to have children in the future. Indeed there is an alarming and growing list of complications, including an ever growing death-toll if women who have lost their lives during supposed safe and legal abortion. And of course there are the emotional and spiritual repercussions on a mother's heart, which can literally destroy her ability to experience joy and love in her closest relationships. Most women submit to unwanted abortion because they feel there is no other choice. Many are pressured, manipulated, and coerced into unwanted abortions and are told this is their "freedom."

Janet A. Morana, Associate Director, Priests for Life and the Co-Founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign shares her experience with one of the protestors:

"Her name is Shirley B. from DC and she came out and marched with the March for Women's Lives. She was holding a sign that said: "Stand Up for Choice."

She came up to me and Cheryl Forbes. We were both holding the new sign the Silent No More Awareness Campaign made for this March, the sign which was a big yellow smile face with the words, "I'm Pro-life". Shirley said I can't hold this sign and march with them anymore. She bent the Planned Parenthood sign on a stick and handed it to me. She then told me that she had lost a child to crib death and with tears in her eyes said, "I can't march with them anymore." I consoled her and she put her arms around me and sobbed. She left proudly holding the smiley face Pro-Life sign and two ladies with the Silent No More Awareness campaign escorted her out to the streets outside of the rally area.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign women and men stood like soldiers of Christ holding their signs in prayerful silence. At one point, the radical pro-abort faction came towards us and stood for about 20 minutes with the police standing in front of us to protect them from harming us. They were screaming and chanting vile comments and gestures.

We saw Whoopi Goldberg marching with hangers in her hand, and Ted Turner sneered at our women. We witnessed women with tears in their eyes as they saw our women holding the "I Regret My Abortion" sign. Mostly, there was chanting and shouting at us for about three hours. I'm sure some hearts changed and others were given something to think about.

I'm glad we were there to witness to the truth that abortion hurts women and we want to make abortion an unthinkable choice for women."

Emily from Tupelo, Mississippi shares:

I can't describe the sadness upon seeing all the media coverage for the march. To see celebrities and other women yelling made me sick to my stomach. How could they be so blind to the truth? As my anger was growing, I wondered what God thought of all these people. How could he love them? I could not get these thoughts out of my head of the ugly things that were being said to the courageous women who went there to defend life. I was getting worked up!

Then I remembered the Good Friday service during Holy Week. Our choir sang a song called "The Seven Last Words from the Cross". I could not get this song out of my head, and the verse that I kept singing all day long was "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." I believe God was trying to show me that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. Think of the "way of the cross" and how Jesus was mocked, spit on, laughed at, cursed, and beaten. For the crowds that yelled "crucify him", Jesus had love and compassion. He asked for forgiveness for them because they certainly weren't going to ask for it themselves. We are also called to say, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do."

Thank you to all who shared the truth in love at the march. I know it wasn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I have to believe that God can change hearts.

Victoria Sheppard-LaBrecque, M.D. also participated in the Silent No More Message, She shares:

I felt intense sadness. I was hurt when they said they regret my conception, and also observed that when we looked them in the eyes, they glanced away. We saw two women cry when they read our signs, and multiple women who turned their heads away from us and couldn't look at the signs. I pray our presence opened some hearts. We certainly do have a lot of work to do to improve our image. Many people yelled at us "How many doctors have you killed?" or "At least you had a choice." So much anger when they yelled that they did not regret their abortions. They also acted out sexually in order to shock us. I wish the women there knew that abortion does not free THEM it frees MEN from responsibility.

Annie Banno, the Connecticut State Leader of Operation Outcry: Silent No More, wrote a lengthy account of her experience in Washington entitled "The March, In Three Words"

She begins her story by sharing: " The March, in three words: "viciously, mercilessly abusive." The amount of verbal aggression and abuse hurled at me personally, by women and men, of all ages, for carrying the I REGRET MY ABORTION sign, well, I thought that I was ready for it. I wasn't. Not even close......"

I silently made eye contact with as many people as possible, women and men. The older, middle-aged ones had their eyes glued straight ahead for the most part. But almost all the young women, even of high school age, looked at my sign as they walked by on that sidewalk, laughing among themselves and their boyfriends or girlfriends. When my sign caught their eye, they then reflexively looked to see who was holding it. After our eyes met, a few quickly looked away, not wanting to know, but most just stared at me a long time in shock. A lot of brows furrowed as they walked away, no longer laughing; they'd never even thought it was possible, I suppose, that a woman would think twice about her abortion, could really regret having done it.

One of our men holding the I REGRET LOST FATHERHOOD signs was a lone, 22-year-old college fellow, handsome as a movie star, quiet and reflective. The pain was so evident on his face. He'd come to the group all by himself. Said little to anyone. Perhaps his buddies wouldn't understand or had already laughed at him for missing his little boy or girl who he'd never know. We only learned his story at the very end of the day, walking back to the hotel, as he offered to carry my friend's tripod and camera case. My heart just broke.

To read Annie's full account, it is viewable online at www.AfterAbortion.blogspot.com to access her story you can link to: http://www.afterabortion.blogspot.com/2004_04_25_afterabortion_archive.html#108304137944458162

If you'd like to receive Annie's free email-newsletter, e-mail her at smok22@charternet

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Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience bearing with one other and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

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TEEN PEOPLE PUBLISHES THE WRONG STORY

You may recall that after many years of searching for a teenager to share their abortion story, Teen People Magazine, made a last ditch attempt to salvage their feature.

First Page has pictures of girls with the title: "What do these three girls have in Common?

You won't be able to tell just by looking at them. Turn the page to find out...."

Picture of Kristen: "I HAD AN ABORTION."

I got pregnant last year after having unprotected sex with my boyfriend, Kile. We weren't thinking about birth control. When I missed my period and started throwing up, Kile took me to Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test.

I cried so hard when the nurse told us the results were positive. I wasn't financially or psychologically ready to be a parent, and I knew after carrying a baby for nine months, I couldn't give it up for adoption. Kile and I talked a lot and finally decided that abortion was the best option. (I didn't discuss it with my parents because I thought they'd be upset if they knew I'd gotten pregnant.)

When we went to the abortion clinic, there were protesters outside screaming at me and Kile, saying stuff like "Don't kill your child!" It was scary and really hard to hear that, but I knew I had to go through with it. I didn't cry during the procedure, but as soon as we walked out of the clinic, I fell apart. The whole process was overwhelming. Kile just held me and told me how sorry he was that I had to go through this.

Before I got pregnant, I used to think that I'd never have an abortion. But until you're in the situation and you're scared and not ready to be a mom, you have no idea what it's like. I'm glad I had this choice - it's a woman's right. It was a tough decision, but it was the best one for me and Kile. We're still together, and now we are much more careful about using birth control. I don't want this to happen to me again."

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Unfortunately one of our concerns in working with secular publications like Teen People (who are often hostile to pro life concerns) was realized in this article. The author of the article assured us that information on programs for post-abortion healing, Rachels Vineyard and post- abortion trauma would be included in this article. As anyone can see that reads this vignette, it is an agenda-driven advertisement for Planned Parenthood, the great deceiver of the young, of pregnant women, and destroyer of the unborn. The author of the article says "as told to Michelle Hainer".... Interestingly enough, at the end of Kristen's "story" it notes: additional reporting by Tamara Crockett. This additional reporting is only noted with Kristen's story. I guess the additional reporting is everything Tamara thinks Kristin should have said. This should not surprise us.

Having been there throughout the day, I know for a fact that Kristin told in detail what being "overwhelmed" following her abortion meant. She cut herself many times over and thought about suicide. She continues to miss her child, and she struggled as she watched the single mother (also being interviewed) interact with her baby. We were both reassured that there was no agenda to promote abortion, but to let women who hurt know there is help.

As Dr Bernard Nathanson has pointed out, the history of abortion rights is founded on lies-on deliberately distorted facts and information. Truth, and the lives of women and their unborn children are sacrificed because to those that promote abortion rights -- the right to abort is more important than the truth of what abortion really means to millions of women and men, and their unborn children.

We saw the article as an opportunity to reach out to young people that need healing. That's our mission. God will bring good out of it somehow, someway.

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RACHEL'S VINEYARD ARTICLE ANGERS DES MOINES REGISTER READER

The message that abortion hurts "some" women is an unwelcome headline. That fact that millions of women regret their abortions is also a threatening one. This reality inevitably causes high reactivity and defensiveness.

A reader of the Des Moines Register in Iowa contends that not all women are traumatized by abortion. Beth Younger writes:

"Regarding the article about the Rachel's Vineyard retreats for women who have had an abortion: While I applaud the idea of a supportive environment for women who might have been traumatized by having an abortion, I was angered by the lack of balance presented in the article. The article assumes women who have had an abortion are traumatized. Nowhere does it consider the idea that women who have had an abortion might not need therapy or counseling. The article quotes a facilitator of the retreats as arguing that a traumatic response is "typical". This is simply wrong. While anti-abortion activists would like the nation to believe abortion is indeed always traumatic and a decision one regrets, the opposite is just as often true. Many women have had abortions and not experienced major "grief" and "unspoken pain" as the author implies."

Indeed Beth, lots of people smoke and don't develop lung cancer. So when help is offered for people who want to quit smoking or for cancer patients, would Beth also be angered at the lack of balance if the writer did not interview smokers who are happy with the fact that they smoke and never developed cancer yet?

This issue raises so many emotional issues of justification and defensiveness. We really appreciate the efforts of so many beautiful ministries and post aborted men and women who are sharing their grief in efforts Like Silent No More, to reach out to those who identify with grief and pain after an abortion so they can get the help they need. Such outreach must continue, despite the resistance of many others who are trying to protect themselves from the reality of their own inner misery -- even if they don't know that's why they are reacting so strongly.

Annie Banno shares a similar insight observing what she refers to as the "Death March" in Washington:

Then I realized I wasn't crying so much for me as I was for them. I felt they were fighting to hide their loss because to come to grips with it, after being so fervently pro-choice, would bring upon them the same kind of abuse I was getting. I felt so crushingly sad for them. The cold, angry hearts, the screaming remorselessness, the relentless cruelty they seemed capable of, toward me and toward another living human being, their own flesh and blood. I realized that they don't see those living human beings as the gifts they are, because if they did, the façade could no longer justify their "choice". Just as I one day, stopped hiding the truth of my choice.

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Strong people are made by opposition; like kites that go up against the wind. Frank Harris

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PILGRIMAGE TO POLAND FOR THOSE POST-ABORTIVE

A Pilgrimage to Poland and the shrines of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Czestochowa will take place from October 25-Nov 2, 2004 for those who have lost a child by abortion.

Father Mariusz Koch, CFR, who has worked with both Rachel's Vineyard and The Sisters of Life, will be spiritual director of the pilgrimage. All reservations will be made through Lumina to ensure the confidentiality of those participating. The cost is $1715 per person double occupancy from NY (other cities at low ad don fare). For further information call Lumina at 1-877-586-4621. For more information:

Click here: A spiritual and reflective journey to our lady in Poland

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"There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to do good for evil." Leo Tolstoy

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NEW RACHEL VINEYARD SITES IN DEVELOPMENT

By Theresa Burke

In the past year, in the countries of Ireland, Africa, New Zealand and Russia, Rachel Vineyard Retreats were held for the first time, just last month we published 13 new sites in development. This month we add another 5 locations. The interesting thing about Rachel's Vineyard is that we make no efforts in any kind of recruitment. Dynamic and enthusiastic individuals are being called and gifted from all parts of the world to help in this beautiful movement of the spirit.

We have been blessed by the organizational efforts of our New Retreat Site Coordinator, Michelle Krystofik. Michelle has been doing a fantastic job of assisting and keeping track of new teams as well as assigning training mentors to each site.

Together with Michelle, we extend a warm welcome to all the new Rachel's Vineyard retreat sites preparing for development. We are blessed to have so many workers in Rachel's Vineyard, and so many individuals who are willing to serve as trainers and mentors. Real faith and real religion is always redemption in the here and now. Everyone working in Rachel's Vineyard can attest that we witness and serve as conduits for the spirit of the Living God. We have experienced first-hand that God forgives and restores. He has blessed us with a strongly based hope for the future and hereafter, and our vocation is to share that reality with others. The presence of faith, hope, and love makes each and every opportunity to incarnate the Living Christ in our ministries an exciting adventure!

I heard once that there were four steps to achievement: to plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, and pursue persistently. Please keep these leaders in your thoughts and prayers as they begin tilling the soil and planting the seeds for fruitful vineyards in the future.

Vinnitsa, Ukraine - Sr. Monica Augustine

Winnepeg, Manitoba Canada -Scott Miller

Yakima, WA - Jane Villanueva

Des Moines, Iowa - Dave Prenger

Rio Rancho, NM - Kathleen Neumann

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Here I am Lord, Send me! Isaiah 6:8

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UPCOMING RACHEL'S VINEYARD RETREAT SCHEDULE: (May - June)

May 4-6, 2004 -- Juneau, Alaska
Contact Mary Horton 907 789 9222

May 7-9, 2004 -- Youngstown, Ohio
Contact: Brenda Dama 330 519 8838
Contact: Br. Vit Fiala 330 799 1888

May 7-9, 2004 -- Birmingham, AL
Contact: Susan Wood 205 566 6736 or 1 888 343 4992

May 7-9, 2004 -- Rapid City, South Dakota
Contact: Carol Kling 605 374 5639

May 14-16, 2004 -- Janesville, Wisconsin
Local host: Pregnancy Helpline of Janesville
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Cheryl Ryan 608 754 0309

May 14-16, 2004 -- Richmond, Virginia
Contact: Kay Marie Geiger 804 330 3137

May 14-16, 2004 -- Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 7531

May 21-23, 2004 -- Mt. Arlington, New Jersey
Contact: Marie Ryan 973 777 8818 ext. 264, fax -973 473 3353

May 21-23, 2004 -- Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: Betsy Kopor 817 923 4757

May 21-23, 2004 -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Contact: Mary Alice 877 HOPE 4 ME

May 21-23, 2004 -- Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edith Gutierrez 303 682 9185

May 21-23, 2004 -- Tipton, Indiana
Local host: Family Life Ministries, Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana
Contact: Jennie 765 477 7706
Contact: Carolyn 219 374 5193

May 21-23, 2004 -- Independence, Missouri
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Sherrie Stanley 816 690 8549
Contact: Rachel's Vineyard Kansas City

May 21-23, 2004 -- Portland, Maine
Contact: Jeanne Bull 207 879 1130 ext 770 or 771 or toll-free 800 CARE 002


May 21-23, 2004 -- Ada, Oklahoma
Contact Rachel Miller 580 332 4199

May 28-30, 2004 -- Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
Contact: Project Rachel Australia

June 1-5, 2004 (evenings plus Saturday) -- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Contact: Susan Lepak 405 721 5651 ext 107

June 4-6, 2004 -- Billings, Montana
Contact: Susan Gliko 406 846 3509

June 4-6, 2004 -- Sonoma County, California
Contact: Monika 925 798 7054

June 11-13, 2004 -- Fargo, North Dakota
Local host: Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota
Local host: Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota
Local host: LifeCare Center of Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Contact: Shelly Stone 218 689 5454 or 500 241 5454

June 11-13, 2004 -- Tulsa, Oklahoma
Contact: Angela Maupin 918 585 8167

June 11-13, 2004 -- Staten Island, New York
Local Host: Priests for Life
Contact: Cheryl or Mary

June 18-20, 2004 -- Portland, Oregon
Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186

June 25-27, 2004 -- Jacksonville, Florida
Contact: Donna 904 221 3232

June 25-27, 2004 -- Long Island, New York
Contact: Frank and Lorraine Gariboldi 516 523 0586

June 25-27, 2004 -- Sacramento, California
Contact: Kathy Conner 916 733 0140

June 25-27, 2004 -- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Contact: Joy Crimmins 717 993 5450

June 25-27, 2004 -- Westcliffe, Colorado
Contact: Deb Jackson 719 783 9168

June 25-27, 2004 -- Birmingham, Alabama
Contact: Susan Wood 205 566 6736 or 1 888 343 4992

June 28-30, 2004 -- Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
Contact: Project Rachel Australia

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(c) 2004

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org