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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

September - 2004

Rachel's Vineyard is on the web at:

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

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Rachel's Vineyard Ministries is a resource for clinical training, education and healing models. Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion are held in over 153 locations throughout the world. Rachel’s Vineyard welcomes, women, men, couples, grandparents and abortion providers. Our retreats are held in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings. It is a ministry of Priests for Life.

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Help us spread the Good News! 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.

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Love cures.

It cures not only those who receive it --

it cures those who give it.

Karl Menninger, MD

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Reflections on September 11 – To Mourn and Remember

Request for Help

A Message from the Pastoral Director

Healing Voices

Rachel’s Vineyard Leadership Training Review

Upcoming Training Conferences

Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Schedule (Sept- October)

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"Let not your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid."

John 14:27

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By Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

Never before has America struggled so deeply to understand its wound and find a way to transform its pain through genuine grieving, sympathy and support for all those who lost loved ones in the tragedy of September 11th. My friend Kathy sent me an e-mail shortly after the disaster struck. She wrote: "As I was watching the prayer service telecast from Washington’s National Cathedral, one pastor spoke and quoted the bible verse from Jeremiah: Rachel mourns for her children, and she refuses to be consoled – because her children are no more."

Kathy found that chillingly appropriate... since that quote is so often used by the pro-life movement and post abortion ministries – regarding the unspeakable sorrow and trauma of countless mothers and fathers who have fallen victim to the lie and deception of abortion.

Television memorials and documentaries replay the events and the sad personal stories of September 11. On this anniversary, the memory is still etched deeply into our collective conscious. Although grass and empty barren space now replaces the powdery smoke stretched rubble of the Twin Towers, we can reflect on the many women and men whose own lives have been struck by an even more personal and intimate terror, and whose structure of self collapsed swiftly in the after shock.

Our nation knows, beyond all doubt, that the horror of September 11, was indeed the height of evil. Completely unaware and innocent people were literally thrown from the exploding buildings, that only moments before held them safely inside. We must work in this political season of upcoming elections to make our nation’s leaders aware of another very insidious terror, which is still occurring every day under the guise of "freedom." Thousands and thousands of innocent children are literally being thrown from the safety of their mother’s womb – and those mothers and fathers are absolutely crumbling in the aftermath of the destruction... needing to be slowly and agonizingly rebuilt. I know," Kathy writes, reflecting on the pain of her own abortion: "because I’ve been there."

As our country engages in the final months of the upcoming election, we must be mindful and vigilant to help government officials become aware of the destruction that has been embraced by our own culture. Abortion has fostered the oppression of women and has targeted the child in the womb for destruction… a sudden, unspeakable loss of life and love.

We understand all too well the threat to the safety of families at a time of unplanned pregnancy. Many of our readers know from first hand experience what it feels like. They had no one to offer a candle of hope to reconcile fears into an alternative plan for life instead of death. In the brief seconds before a woman goes in to abort her child, there is no security checkpoint to ensure that she does not board the jetting flight to disaster and heartache.

Yet the "business" of abortion is given free reign to flourish -- undisturbed by truth. There are no security watchmen. There are no questions asked as you check in.

I have learned that this truth has a vile way of reappearing in the lives of many women who were denied the truth by their community; by the mental health professionals who promote abortion as a simple solution to unplanned pregnancy.

Can you imagine for a moment if after the Attack on America, there was no one that the grieving victims of the World Trade collapse could turn to. My friend Pat, who is very active with Rachel’s Vineyard in the New York area was on the 78th floor of Building One. She escaped. But she had to step over dead bodies and body parts on her path to safety. She lost her shoes and walked through broken glass on the streets of NYC. She was one of the people who had to answer the phone calls in her office from desperate family members looking for their loved ones who never came home. In the loss of precious friends and family we are still grieving. You see, the pain of death lingers with us – and traumatic deaths are even harder to integrate it into our sense of self, our personal and social histories.

We’ve all heard those traumatized tell their stories -- We’ve also read of the extraordinary stories of human compassion from NYC and the surrounding area. We are comforted to know the folks who faced such horror might be healed of their suffering.

To be a witness to death and the form of traumatic and purposeful violence is a shocking experience. Post aborted women and men know all too well this trauma. They know what its like to have their heart ripped out of their chest... suddenly. They know what it’s like to spend years trying to block out the pain... and forget. Yet we must never forget for that’s how we stop history from repeating itself. There is always a path of destruction when a choice is made for death.

After 9/11 there was a multi-billion dollar effort to locate the bodies of those who perished beneath the concrete and iron rubble of the World Trade Towers. Why all this effort and expense? As a society we recognize the need to draw closure to traumatic situations. We recognize that apart from the clues to discover how all this could have happened, the families need a body to bury, a corpse to honor, a figure to emphasize the finality of the loss, a means to focus their grief.

Women and men who have aborted have the same need. The decision to abort is often made in fear and crisis, or it is forced by circumstances as a casualty of the situation. Like a bomb, it explodes abruptly - and there are few who want to help them sift through the wreckage. The mother who carries a baby beneath her heart, a heart that breaks when she suffers the loss of her child through abortion, needs our love and compassion. The rebuilding of the emotional, physical and spiritual destruction caused by abortion will go on for many years, however, in the midst of this passion lies HOPE.

Rachel’s Vineyard offers a very profound process of grief work, with rituals and exercises which allow the soul to speak its pain – to experience Christ in an intimate and undeniable way as we enter the paschal mystery of our own lives. By uniting our suffering with the passion of Christ – we travel the very path of Calvary. We reveal the buried feelings of grief and loss and experience the pain, the agony, the passion -- and Journey with Christ into the agony of our own gardens. We remember Good Friday when we lost children to abortion after betrayals and abandonment, left to suffer a crucifixion experience – the tragic and violent death of a child; And in this process we recognize the loss and grieve fully ... struggling to find meaning.

When this journey is embraced – the path leads us directly to the foot of the Cross, where the redemptive blood of Christ was spilled forth to redeem the sins of the world and promise everlasting life. By Sunday – everyone in Rachel’s Vineyard experiences the mystery and joy of resurrection. Healing happens on the voice of forgiveness from God, self, and one’s aborted child. We find meaning by reenacting the scriptures with our own history and pain. Once the grief has been emptied, there is room for grace.

On this anniversary of 9/11, we pray for all those in our country and throughout the world at war, whose lives have been shattered by violence. And we also pray today for all those who have lost a child to abortion, for those who have lost a grandchild, and for those who lost a brother or sister to an abortion. We lift up the abortion providers in our communities -- that they might use their gifts and talents to support non-violent solutions to unplanned pregnancy, and surrender their crusade for death. And we pray for all of those who work in post abortion ministries.... that they may persevere, in the slums of the soul, to offer comfort, compassion, and reconciliation for those who live in shame, fear, despair and guilt.... that they may experience the restoration of human dignity and authentic forgiveness that comes only from God.

Let us not become overwhelmed or discouraged by the politics, the institutions, and the laws that perpetrate this damage. For love reveals truth. Let us show God’s mercy, let us reflect his forgiveness, and let us reach out to those who mourn. Let us expend our energy with courage over the next two months to elect candidates and judges who will affirm the dignity and the protection of human life.

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Please prayerfully consider joining Rachel's Vineyard in assisting mothers and fathers grieving over the traumatic deaths of their unborn children. Your financial contribution will bring us one step closer to eradicating the terror that has insidiously permeated our culture. Let’s combat this oppressor, shrouded in false respectability, with truth and courage. Just click here: or send an e-mail directly to me at and I will forward a postage-paid envelope. ! I hope to hear from you!

Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
Founding Director, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
PO Box 195
Bridgeport, Pa. 19405

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In Scripture, we read St. Paul boasting of his weaknesses, precisely because through those weaknesses the power of Christ manifested itself. One way we can understand this is when we see how the wounds of those hurt by abortion become the means by which others are awakened to how evil abortion is. Our own woundedness becomes a witness, if we allow that to happen.

For decades, pro-abortion groups have brought women who had abortions to speak with legislators, Church leaders, media representatives, and other influential people, to convince them that abortion had to remain "safe and legal." This kind of personal witness works, and many of these leaders were deceived into a "pro-choice" position as a result.

Do not be afraid to bring the wounds of abortion and the power of personal testimony to our clergy, media, and political candidates and office-holders. Let them see the bitter fruits of "choice!" Let’s pray in particular that voters will not be oblivious to the harm they inflict on women and families if they put pro-abortion candidates in office.

On another note, I want you to know that I have recently sent an updated report to the Vatican on the work of Rachel’s Vineyard, with special emphasis on its international expansion. The bishops and Cardinals I worked with when I served there some years ago are excited about the progress of this ministry and intend to make others aware of it as well.

God bless you!

Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

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Inform your friends of Candidates' positions through Another non-partisan voting resource:

If you’d like to volunteer some time to help elect candidates who will affirm the dignity of mother and the child in her womb visit

We invite you to sign up for an election prayer novena at

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Happy people seldom think of happiness.

They are too busy losing their lives

in the meaningful sacrifices of service.

David Augsburger

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By Susan Swander

I am a post-abortive woman in rural Oregon who has just begun my healing journey. I went on a Rachel's Vineyard retreat in April 2004. At my retreat, I made the following promise to my dead children, "I promise you that I will no longer be silent about you. I will not hide in shame or guilt. I commit to turning our pain and sorrow into something good and positive. I will find a way to honor your existence and your deaths. I will let Jesus guide me in memory of you."

Well, Jesus isn't just guiding me; He's got the Holy Spirit driving me. Opportunities to keep my promise are coming at me from all directions - writing, speaking out, radio & even TV. Oh my!

All of this is new - exciting and sometimes scary. In the short time that I've been doing this, I've already had two friends "avoid" me and one friend tell me outright to leave her alone. This has been hurtful.

I belong to the aftercare email group for Rachel’s Vineyard called Oaktrees. This has been an absolutely wonderful part of my healing journey. The sharing, honesty, love & support are terrific! One of the things that I've discovered is that not everyone is in the same place about sharing their stories. There are some folks that are struggling with the decision to tell family and friends and to speak out.

Rather than share about my "speaking out" struggles on that list, I decided to start the HealingVoices email group (with some prompting from my friend, Leslie Graves). This e-group is intended to be for ALL of us who are choosing to speak out about our abortions and our healing. This e-group will hopefully be a way that we can connect with and encourage each other.

If you are interested in joining this e-group, just send an email to and I will add you to the group.

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By Maureen Barry

The 2004 Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry’s (RV) International Leadership Conference was held in North Carolina during the third week of June. It had been advertised as being "packed with information for anyone involved in or starting up a post-abortion ministry", well this was no false advertising – if anything it was an understatement; it was jam-packed to say the least.

One hundred twenty people participated in the four-day conference and drew many from outside the RV "regulars", including a number from pregnancy care centers, giving them a venue for common ground discussions. The conference provided a setting for all branches to intertwine and strengthen each other. Special sessions, held specifically for Hispanic and Non-denominational retreat teams ensured that the entire vineyard was well tended.

Staying in the dorms, of the historic Greensboro College, brought special gifts of camaraderie to the conference; the childlike freedom, that the Holy Spirit brings so joyfully, could be heard in the halls till the wee hours (and in a ‘special’ way at a "Hoe-down" led by none other than Teresa and Kevin Burke, on banjo and ‘geetar’). One can only imagine the depths God brought to the quieted bonding of smaller, more intimate meetings and discussions.

Surely many personal insights and side discussions were inspired as the conference was gifted with the first two days being focused on prayer and spiritual teachings; the group was opened to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit on a level that was absolutely palpable. Being guided in song, a form of prayer that allowed no room for anything but the Spirit, by noted musician, Greg Magirescu, who shared his abundant gifts through which, one could hear the angles join in lifting God on high! This could have been gift enough to the souls in attendance, yet God brought so much more.

The speaking of both Fr. Bob Faricy, and Dr. Susan Stanford Rue, whose sharing of themselves so intimately and knowledgeably, enlightened those gathered with encouragement to "…listen for His voice, and be ware of the voice of evil" and a reminder that "We all need to be fed." The first two days were truly a feast at the table of the Lord. Dr. Rue stated, "The love of Christ is our work in the Vineyard. We are blessed to be called to carry on the message of His mercy and forgiveness, " in essence, torchbearer’s of what Fr. Faricy recalled as God’s work above all His others, "His mercy."

As torchbearer’s to His mercy we were invited into a new Living Scripture exercise, (designed for use in "after-care" follow up to RV retreats), led by the author Debbie Woodhams, MA, LPC. The exercise asked the participants to again look inward to what may be blocking any abilities to Magnify the Lord, as a magnifying glass can ignite others, shining more light on His works, we were called to cleanse ourselves to let His light shine.

And as if the first two days hadn’t brought blazing light enough, the last two days were overflowing with additional knowledge to sustain His flames. Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D., our gracious hostess, presented a study confirming what so many Rachel’s Vineyard leaders have seen and experienced on retreats, that people are receiving substantial help through the retreats and that the good effects we’ve seen are of lasting benefit, not temporary. Dr. Shuping then offered, through many gifted presenters, forty-five different workshops, offering training in the following areas:

Public speaking - to help equip leaders of ministries to speak to groups and to prepare those interested in speaking publicly about their abortions.

Clinical - continuing education for therapists and professionals who are involved in post-abortion ministry; to help them learn new skills and new information including up to date research on abortion and post-abortion trauma.

New team training - for those just learning about Rachel’s Vineyard and are getting their teams up and running.

Team building - for those in experienced teams wanting to learn about working more effectively with other team members; and for those wanting to mentor new teams in other areas.

Making choices in which to attend was difficult as presenters brought their own unique reflection of God’s light to the vineyard. Fortunately, Dr. Shuping, who brought so much for growth in her tending her fellow laborers, was insightful enough to arrange to have several of the workshops video taped, as well as the presentations of Dr.Sue and Fr.Bob. (They can be purchased, and the report of findings mentioned above can be had, by contacting Dr. Shuping at:

The Let Your Light Shine conference was also gifted by a few other special events: a mid-week concert, by Greg Magirescu, (along with a touching tribute to his wife on their anniversary); a Praise and Worship dance concert featuring Kasha Johns and Jennie Shuping, two beautiful dancing lights for Christ; and an evening reception hosted by the Diocese of Charlotte. Yes this was jam-packed conference, but what else could be expected from a ministry so bright in His light. Let it Shine On!

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Next years International Leadership Trainings for Rachel’s Vineyard will be held the week of June 25=29th 2005 in Michigan. The West Coast will offer a second Leadership Training the week of November 14th 2005 in Oakland, California. Vine and Branches will carry more information on these events in upcoming issues.

We’d like to get a tentative headcount for planning. Could you please e-mail Beth Bauer at and let her know which conference you would attend – California or Michigan.

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Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to him; but our neighbors we can always see, and we can do to them what, if we saw him, we would like to do to Christ. Here in the slums, in the broken body, in the children, we see Christ and we touch him.

Mother Teresa

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Sept 17, 2004 Conference Diocese of Fargo
Post-Abortion Care for Professionals: CEU credits available
Contact: Rachelle Sauvageau, Director
Respect Life Office

Sept 23, 2004 Delaware Right to Life Banquet
Theresa Burke will be giving a keynote on post abortion healing
Contact Moria Sheridan 478-5469

Sept 24, 2004 Clinical Training for Archdiocese of Newark
Newark, NJKevin and Theresa will be presenting
Contact: Michelle Krystofik (732) 388-8211

Sept 29, 2004 Seminar on Post-Abortion Trauma and Healing with Fr. Shane Tharp
Catholic Charities Maine is sponsoring an educational training day for clergy and parish ministers in Augusta on September 29, 2004. This workshop is offered to help enrich parish ministry and outreach to the post-abortive and their families. For more information take a look at our brochure "Come Back To Me" at (link at bottom of first page)
Contact: Jeanne Bull

Oct 19, 2004 Diocese of Peoria, Illinois – Full Day Clinical Training (for Clergy Only)
Contact: Jean Whelan: 309-671-1550

Nov 4-6, 2004 Rochester Clinical Training (Theresa & Kevin)
CUE credits available
Contact: Amy Crossed: 585-461-1541

Project Rachel: Diocese of Rochester

November 11, 2004 Presenter: Martha Shuping MD – "Healing After Abortion"
Sponsored by The Alton Deanery - St. Jerome Catholic Church, Troy,IL. Contact: Karen LeClerc (618-667-6571 ext 20 or

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September - October 2004

September 3-5, 2004 -- Sonoma County, California
Note: Retreat may be offered in Spanish
Contact: Monika 925 798 7054

September 3-5, 2004 -- Cork City, Ireland
Contact: Bernadette 087 859 2877
Contact: Dr. Rita O'Connor 061 468 570

September 3-5, 2004 --Lisbon, Portugal
Contact: Claudia Muller 91 735 4602

September 10-12, 2004 -- St. Roberts, Missouri
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Sherrie Stanley 816 690 8549
Contact: Rachel's Vineyard Kansas City

September 17-19, 2004 -- Dallas, Texas
Note: in Spanish
Contact: Jackie 972 679 4760

September 17-19, 2004 -- Fairfield County, Connecticut
Contact: Clarissa Cincotta 203 218 0291

September 17-19, 2004 -- Janesville, Wisconsin
Local host: Pregnancy Helpline of Janesville
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Cheryl Ryan 608 754 0309

September 17-19, 2004 -- Youngstown, Ohio
Contact: Brenda Dama 330 519 8838
Contact: Br. Vit Fiala 330 799 1888

September 17-19, 2004 -- Richmond, Virginia
Contact: Kay Marie Geiger 804 330 3137

September 17-19, 2004 -- Newark, New Jersey
Contact: Michelle Krystofik 732 388 8211

September 17-19, 2004 -- Portland, Oregon
Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186

September 17-19, 2004 -- Westcliffe, Colorado
Note: Catholic Retreat
Contact: Deb Jackson 719 783 9168

September 17-19, 2004 -- Asheville, North Carolina
Local host: St. Banabas Respect Life Committee
Contact: Shelley Glanton 828 684 4330

September 17-19, 2004 -- Tulsa, Oklahoma
Contact: Toni
Contact: Mary Lee or Dean 918 585 8167

September 17-19, 2004 -- Sacramento, California
Contact: Kathy Conner 916 733 0140

September 24-26, 2004 -- Willimantic, Connecticut
Local host: Immaculata Retreat House
Contact: Mary Hayden 203 882 1326

September 24-26, 2004 -- Providence, Rhode Island
Local host: Life & Family Ministry
Contact: Donna Warner 401 421 7833 ext 115 days / 401 785 9625 evenings

September 24-26, 2004 -- Temecula, California
English Retreat: Contact: Jeanette Kristensen 951 693 9477
Spanish Retreat: Contact: Ruth Delgado 951 672 1067 Se Habla Espanol

September 24-26, 2004 -- Portland, Maine
Contact: Jeanne Bull 207 879 1130 ext 770 or 771 or toll-free 800 CARE 002

September 24-26, 2004 -- Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Contact: Mary Alice 877 467 3463

October 1-3, 2004 -- Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
Contact: Project Rachel Australia

October 1-3, 2004 -- Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Contact: Lucie Tettamente 780 741 3863
Contact: Mary Laurene Bradley 780 424 4538 or 1 877 579 3223

October 1-3, 2004 -- Rock Hill, South Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina
Contact: Shelley Glanton 828 684 4330
Next retreat: October 1-2, 2004

October 1-3, 2004 -- Bridgman, Michigan
Contact: Sue Brazo 269-683-7831 or 269-687-1581

October 8-10, 2004 -- Independence, Missouri
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Sherrie Stanley 816 690 8549
Contact: Rachel's Vineyard Kansas City

October 8-10, 2004 -- Juneau, Alaska
Contact Mary Horton 907 789 9222

October 8-10, 2004 -- Ada, Oklahoma
Contact: Rachel Miller 580 332 4199

October 15-17, 2004-Jacksonville, Florida
Contact: Donna 904 221 3232

October 15-17, 2004 -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Contact: Mary Alice 877 HOPE 4 ME

October 15-17, 2004 -- Portland, Maine
Contact: Jeanne Bull 207 879 1130 ext 770 or 771 or toll-free 800 CARE 002

October 15-17, 2004 -- Canberra, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
Contact: Project Rachel Australia

October 22-24, 2004 -- Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edith Gutierrez 303 682 9185

October 22-24, 2004 -- Monroe, Connecticut
Local host: Archdiocese of Hartford Project Rachel
Contact: Mary Hayden 203 882 1326

October 22-24, 2004 -- Lubbock, Texas
Contact: Cynthia Wynn 806 793 1235

October 22-24, 2004 -- Rockford, Illinois
Contact: Catherine Rennert 815 968 1157
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Location: Stronghold Retreat and Conference Center in Oregon, Illinois

October 22-24, 2004 -- Casper, Wyoming
Contact: Sharie Cundall 800 823 5923
Local host: Diocese of Cheyene

October 22-24, 2004 -- Arlington, N. Virginia
Contact: Myriam 703 729 7998
Local host: Diocese of Arlington

October 22-24, 2004 -- Michigan City, Indiana
Local host: Rachel's Hope, Diocese of Gary
Contact: Carolyn Kenning 219 374 5193

October 22-24, 2004 -- Birmingham area, Alabama
Contact: Project Rachel 205-447-9644 or 1 888 343 4992

October 29-31, 2004 -- Mendham, New Jersey
Contact: Marie Ryan 973 777 8818 ext. 264, fax - 973 473 3353

October 29-31, 2004 -- Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 7531

October 29-31, 2004 -- Temple, Texas
Local host: Hope Pregnancy Center, Inc.
Contact: Linda Tamez 254 773 2453

October 29-31, 2004 -- Long Island, New York
Contact: Frank and Lorraine Gariboldi 516 523 0586

October 2004 -- New Orleans, Louisiana
Retreat location: St. Augustine's Retreat House, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Contact: Melanie Baglow 504 889 2431

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To subscribe to this newsletter: Send an e-mail to

Type SUBSCRIBE VINE & BRANCHES in the subject line or body of your e-mail.

Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

Editor: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

Comments and questions:

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Rachel's Vineyard ® All rights reserved. © 2004

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •