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VINE AND BRANCHES

The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

July, 2004

Rachel’s Vineyard is on the web at: 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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"Of all the earthly music, that which reaches farthest into heaven is the beating of a truly loving heart."   

Henry Ward Beecher

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Contents

To All Who Care About Women Being Hurt By Abortion
Individual Healing Equals Collective Gains for Society
New Rachel’s Vineyard Men’s Page
Bring it on life! Is that all you got?
Making Abortion Rare to Air on EWTN
Welcome To New Sites
The Widows Offering
Sharing Our Joys and Tears
Upcoming Training Conferences
Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Schedule

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Prayer and action, therefore, can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows in powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service do indeed lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.

Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), Compassion [1982]

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TO ALL WHO CARE ABOUT WOMEN BEING HURT BY ABORTION:

America’s first major coalition of post-abortion ministries that have served thousands of women hurt by abortion need your help.

Every single day, women are being coerced into unwanted and dangerous abortions. Moreover, abortion is causing major psychological and physical injuries to thousands of women every day. But this is a nearly invisible issue, ignored by both the media and most political leaders.

With the approaching Democratic National Conventions and Republican National Conventions, we can change this. Now is the time to call national attention to the problems, needs, and concerns of women hurt by abortion. To this end, The Elliot Institute has drafted a petition to the chairs of both the Republican and Democratic parties asking for language in each party’s national platform addressing these concerns.

Whether or not you have ever been involved in an abortion, we need your help in calling public attention to the needs of women, men, and families that have been hurt by coerced or dangerous abortions. Please sign this petition today.

You will find the full details, including background information, and the petition at www.afterabortion.info/petition 

Please sign this petition as soon as possible and forward this information on to your friends.

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But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12:24-27

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INDIVIDUAL HEALING EQUALS COLLECTIVE GAINS FOR SOCIETY

The work of healing the wounds after abortion should not be seen simply as healing the wounds of individual people. It is, in fact, the healing of our whole society from the destructive forces of abortion. After all, the wounds that individuals suffer would never have come about if there had not first been a collapse of morals in the culture and a terrible void in the protections offered by the law. Changing hearts and changing laws are not opposites; they are two sides of the same coin. Healing hearts and healing an entire society are, likewise, elements of the very same dynamic.

That is why we owe a debt of gratitude not only to those who offer healing, but to those who have the courage to take steps to avail themselves of it. Each person who comes to a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is, by seeking his/her individual healing, also advancing the healing of the culture. By refusing to allow the pain, deception, and destructive force of abortion to remain masked and hidden in isolation, these individuals stand as an example to the rest of us, whether we have had abortions or not. They teach us all about the proper attitude to take toward this evil: face it head-on, call it what it is, and know that the power of healing, forgiveness, and life are far stronger.

God bless you with continued courage to do precisely that!

Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director

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"The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self"

Whitney Young

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NEW RACHEL’S VINEYARD WEB SECTION FOR MEN

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries is pleased to announce a new section on our website specifically for men: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/men/  We have witnessed a steady increase in the number of men and couples attending the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats. We believe this is part of the next stage of post abortion healing in our culture. Men who experience healing of their abortion pain and reconciliation with their children, are an essential and powerful addition to those forces already working to heal the wounds of abortion in our marriages and families to restore the goodness of relationships, the dignity of women and the gift of sexuality. In response to this growing trend, we have created a special section that looks at some areas of interest to Men who visit our website. We have a number of men who serve as "Email Buddies" in this section. They can be contacted to offer support and encouragement to others who are beginning to reach out for help. You will find testimonies from other men who have struggled with their post abortion pain, how it impacted their lives, and how they found healing. We offer resources, articles and other information that will help men in their search for healing. Please visit the site, and see it as a resource to give to men who are looking for information, support and healing. Please send any comments, additional testimonies or suggestions to Kevin Burke at kburke@nti4.com.

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Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.

Dorothy Thompson

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BRING IT ON LIFE! IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?

by Gordon Frantzich

The following is an excerpt from the new men’s section on the Rachel’s Vineyard website. To read the complete story click here click here 

...Like myself, my wife Deborah was the parent of two aborted children, and she began to feel that she was being called by God to somehow serve in this arena. A few years ago Deborah attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in Richmond, and came back wanting to tell me of her experience, but how can you tell someone of a certain taste, of which they have never tasted? She wanted me to attend a retreat as well. I knew I didn’t really need to; it was an issue I had left in my past, along with so many other things. I was beyond it; why go back and wallow in it? Wouldn’t this be a sign of weakness? But if it was important to her, that was sufficient justification to go.

There are no magic wands at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, no special incantations or potions to create a cure; no explanations or mind games that we can understand or utilize and thereby heal ourselves. It is a process that works through the power of the living Word of God, whereby we are given the opportunity to bring the events of our life that were in darkness to the light of Christ where He can produce healing and change. Only then do we realize that things left in darkness can only produce more darkness, casting a shadow on our relationships and our heritage for generations. Forgiven is not the same as healed, and by bringing them to the light, they can become a force for good. Strong people don’t speak of their troubles? This is nothing less than pride. Prideful people don’t speak of their troubles, and rob their loved ones of the opportunity to learn and be strengthened, so they will not be condemned to walk this same path.

I used to be a man of pride, like the hero of the poem "Invictus"; "Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody but unbowed ... I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul" (bring it on life, is that all you got?). But I was useful only unto myself. Now, through the grace of God and attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat, my heart has been softened and unbound by pride so that I can discover God’s will for my life.

Physical death is not an event, but a slow degeneration of the cellular structure until the body is no longer viable. Miracles can restore for a time, but death has not yet been vanquished. Spiritual death is also not a single event in time, but a slow degeneration of our spirit. But spiritual death has been overcome, and we can have the victory. It is therefore painful for me to see so many of us men blinded by our pride, often rooted in our fear of re opening up a very painful part of our lives..."what good can that do?" we tell ourselves. It can seem safer to ignore the buried wound or stay in the dark. But this comes at a high price. Those other persons in our life are deeply affected by our hearts not being fully available to them. We can subtly (and not so subtly) inhibit the healing of our spouses and families in our struggle to respond to our own need for healing.

It has been Deborah’s and my experience that the dark areas in our life polarize us and keep us from truly integrating and becoming a one-flesh marriage. Only when we can truly bless the Lord with our whole hearts (Psalm 103: 1), with no area locked away, can we come into the fullness of what God desires for us and our loved ones.

Gordon and Deborah Frantzich have now formed a Rachel’s Vineyard team in Fredericksburg, Virginia, through Grace Church of Fredericksburg. The first retreat is scheduled for May 6 through 8, 2005. For confidential inquiry or information, contact Gordon or Deborah Frantzich at Frantzich@msn.com, or call at 1-540-775-5147.

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It is characteristic of the thinking of our time that the problem of guilt and forgiveness has been pushed into the background and seems to disappear more and more. Modern thought is impersonal. There are, even today, a great many people who understand that man needs salvation, but there are very few who are convinced that he needs forgiveness and redemption... Sin is understood as imperfection, sensuality, worldliness—but not as guilt.

Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World [1931]

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MAKING ABORTION RARE TO AIR IN JULY ON EWTN TELEVISION NETWORK

A six part mini-series will air on EWTN from July 19-23 and July 26 with hosts Theresa Burke, Ph.D. and David Reardon, Ph.D. Check your guide for local program times and schedules. You can also check the EWTN website at http://www.ewtn.com/tv/G1Rgrid1.htm

Episodes include:

1. Understanding the Keys to Ending Abortion
2. Mercy Is More Powerful than Shame
3. Psychological and Spiritual Costs of Abortion
4. Holding Abortionists Accountable
5. Abortion Politics: the Problem and the Solution
6. Making Abortion Unthinkable

For anyone who wishes to order a copy of the 6-part videotape, please contact Katie@rachelsvineyard.org

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"Greater than the Tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come."

Victor Hugo

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WELCOME TO NEW RACHEL’S VINEYARD SITES IN DEVELOPMENT

Iowa City, Iowa—Maria J. Shores

Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada—Scott Miller

Temple, Texas - Linda Tamez Hope Pregnancy Center

Stockton, Ca - Nancy Bonnet; Respect Life Office; Diocese of Stockton

Canberra, Australia - Camille Corson

Melbourne, Australia - Anne Neville

Lafayette, Indiana - Jennie Hack

Baltimore, Maryland - Denise Douglas

Nashville, Tennessee - Susan Garant

Lodi, California - Janet Thompson

New Zealand - Eileen Taffard

Liverpool, England - Paula Tipping

Troy, Illinois - Karen LeClerc

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Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.

George Sand

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THE WIDOW’S OFFERING

By Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Jesus is going to do great things with you if you let him do it and if you don’t try to interfere with him. We interfere with God’s plans when we push in someone or something else not suitable for us. Be very strict with yourself, and then be very strict with what you are receiving from outside. People may come with wonderful ideas, with beautiful things, but anything that takes you away from the reality of what you had given to God must remain outside.

Be faithful in little things, for in them our strength lies. To the good God nothing is little, because he is so great and we so small. That is why he stoops down and takes the trouble to make those little things for us - to give us a chance to prove our love for him. Because He makes them, they are very great. He cannot make anything small; they are infinite. Yes, my dear children, be faithful in little practices of love, in little fidelities which will build in you the life of holiness and make you Christ like.

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He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11 (KJV)

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SHARING OUR JOYS AND TEARS

New Babies:

Congratulations to Julie Kelly from Down-Under in Australia over the exciting news of three new grandbabies!!! Julie shares:

"In the last 2 months we have increased our grandchildren count from 6 to 9, with the arrival on 2nd April of identical twin girls, Tatjana and Stefania Olivo, to my eldest daugther and a baby boy, Hunter Hosking, to my youngest on 16th March!! They are so gorgeous and my heart is overflowing with the wonder and bounty of God!"

New Jobs:

Best wishes to Angela Maupin, who has been serving as the Rachel’s Vineyard coordinator in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She just moved to Central America to take up a new job as a teacher! Angela says: "Thank you for many rewarding experiences in the Vineyard. God has certainly drawn me deeper into his Heart through this retreat process." We extend Angela our warmest wishes and prayers as she embarks on this exciting new adventure. We also thank her for her many years of loving service in Rachel’s Vineyard. We extend a heartfelt welcome to Mary Lee Ingram along with Dean and Toni Wersal as the new coordinators/facilitators for the retreats in Tulsa.

New Prayers Needed:

One of the difficult challenges we face as people reaching out to help others who struggle with the emotional and spiritual trauma of abortion, is knowing that help sometimes does not arrive in time. Please pray for another young woman who took her life last week following an abortion. We grieve with her family and loved ones that she did not obtain the hope and healing she was desperate to find.

We also pray for another young girl in Oklahoma who died five days following her abortion due to a serious infection. We ask for God to strengthen her family and all those who were trying to help her find non-violent alternatives to her unplanned pregnancy.

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Charity sees the need not the cause.

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CONFERENCE AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

August 9-13, 2004 Spiritual Direction 2004
Guiding the Faithful into Deeper Intimacy with the Trinity
Dominican Retreat House, Elkins Park, Pa.

Father Thomas Dubay, SM and Dr. Theresa Burke and John Harvey OSFS present this unique Catholic-centered program designed to assist spiritual directors and pastoral counselors in their sacred ministry. This is not an introductory course, rather one developed for priests, deacons, religious, and trained lay directors. Seminarians are also welcome. Space is limited.

Topics will include:
Universal Call to Contemplative Prayer
Intimacy with the Trinity
John of the Cross and the Prayer of Purification
Understanding and Coping with Difficult Prayer
Expectations in Prayer
The relationship of work and leisure to prayer
A Divided Will: based on the writings of Augustine
Post Abortion Trauma and healing

For more information visit www.CarmeliteHermitage.com or write CarmeliteProgram@aol.com 
(732) 672-7212

August 13-15, 2004 Foundation of a Sacred Ministry:
Key Issues in Spiritual Direction Weekend Conference
Dominican Retreat House, Elkins Park, Pa

Fr. Dubay and Dr. Theresa Burke will present a weekend conference. This training will focus on foundational issues of spiritual direction (formation, the director, discernment, and primary guides of the director.

For more information visit www.CarmeliteHermitage.com or write CarmeliteProgram@aol.com 
(732) 672-7212

Aug 12-13, 2004 Annual Summer Conference for Seminarian Life Link
Contact: Stephen Imbarrato
Seminarian Life Link
718-979-5228
director@seminarianlifelink.org 

August 20-22, 2004 Living Forgiven Retreat for Rachel’s Vineyard Alumni
Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edie at EdieG2@aol.com 

CATHOLIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
73RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE
September 23-25, 2004
Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World
Orlando, Florida
"The Vocation of Medicine in the Third Millennium
Visit: www.CathMed.org

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But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

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UPCOMING RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREAT SCHEDULE: (July-August)

July 2-4, 2004 -- Wichita, Kansas
Local host: Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, Diocese of Wichita
Contact: John McCormick 316 269 4673 (in Wichita); 888 456 HOPE (toll-free state wide)

July 9-11, 2004 -- Amarillo, Texas
Contact: Gwen Johns 806 678-4673

July 9-11, 2004 -- Tupelo, Mississippi
Contact: Maria Steele 662 255 9636
Contact: Barb Baumann 662 231 1983

July 23-25, 2004 -- Atlanta, Georgia
Contact: Mary Ann McNeal 404 896 6521
Contact: Rachel’s Vineyard Atlanta

July 23-25, 2004 -- Lubbock, Texas
Contact: Cynthia Wynn 806 793 1235

July 23-25, 2004 -- Fresno, California
Contact: Jennifer 559 277 9771 or 559 709 4279

July 23-25, 2004 -- Allentown, Pennsylvania
Contact: Maryann Dunn M.S. 866 372 2435

August 6-8, 2004 -- Clearwater, Florida
Marian Servants of Our Lady of Divine Providence Retreat House
Contact: Emma Boe 813 631 4370

August 6-8, 2004 -- Cedar Falls, Iowa
Contact: Maria Shores 319 530 2597 (mobile)

August 13-15, 2004 -- Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota
Contact: Nancy Blom
Contact: Gail Checco 888 329 3773

August 13-15, 2004 -- Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky
Contact: Gloria Santoro 513 588 9669

August 20-22, 2004 -- Auburn, Washington
Contact: Valerie Jacobs 800 822 HOPE

August 27-29, 2004 -- Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: Betsy Kopor 817 923 4757

August 27-29, 2004 -- Mendham, New Jersey
Contact: Linda Trignano 973-722-9961 (Mobile)
Contact: Lori 973-670-8885 (Mobile)

August 27-29, 2004 -- Gaylord, Michigan
Contact: Beth Bauer 800 727 5147 ext 3533 or 989 705 3533
Contact: Diocese of Gaylord

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Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Psalms 139:7-10

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