I've been thinking about Covid-Lemonade lately. WHAT?!? You know, "when life gives you lemons...." I've been considering how I've grown and changed because of the pandemic and all the changes it has necessitated in my life.
Back in the spring, I thought that by summer or at least by the fall, we'd all be back to ministry as usual. When I realized that this wasn't going to happen, there was definitely the temptation to throw up my hands and just keep everything on hold. After all, it really is impossible to do things in the same way that we are accustomed to doing them. But then I considered the possibility that God might be challenging me to try something new. One of the results of considering Respect Life ministry in this new and different way is an online Bible Study for women wounded by abortion (see Hope & Healing below.)
Pastors, DREs, RCIA facilitators, and other leaders are considering how to provide ministry with corona virus modifications. I invite you to join them and determine how we can continue pro-life ministry in our parishes and communities. But I also ask you to take it one step further. Is there something new that God is inviting you to embrace? If ministry looks different, could there be a chance for outreach to a new person or to another group?
For the past 12 months the Respect Life Program has focused on Christian hope that helps us face any challenge or trial. Next month, a new Respect Life Program begins and will call us to "Live the Gospel of Life." As we move forward in this important ministry, I hope you will continue to place your hope in Christ, trust in God's Providence, and begin to search for new opportunities.
In this newsletter you'll find some familiar ideas adapted to these challenging times. You'll also find some new and different suggestions. How will you engage in and lead others to participate in pro-life ministry?
Here are some ideas.
1. Pray and fast to end abortion. The 40 Days for Life Campaign begins September 23. Can you participate? Consider virtual options or praying in solidarity within your parish community. Covid has taught us that we don't necessarily need to go somewhere to participate.
2. Advocate to abolish the death penalty. This is an important life issue. Has your parish engaged in meaningful conversation about this topic? Consider hosting a discussion, virtually or in person with adequate corona virus precautions. Catholic Social Teaching and the Death Penalty is an excellent article that can be distributed. Or share this video message in which Archbishop Naumann shares the personal story of his father's murder, and compassionately advocates for the families of murder victims and for the abolition of the death penalty. I don't usually include 2 videos in the newsletter, but I wanted you to hear this message in Archbishop Naumann's own words.
3. Remember and pray for the 61,000,000 babies killed by abortion. Many of our parishes and several Catholic cemeteries have memorials to honor these children. If your parish does not have this type of memorial, consider asking the Knights of Columbus to donate and dedicate a memorial stone. Gather virtually or with physical distancing and Prayfor these babies, for their parents, and for an end to abortion. Or consider participating in the Memorial Service on September 12 (see below) sponsored by Arkansas Right to Life in the Memorial Garden at the Life Center.
4. Project Rachel Ministry reaches out to anyone wounded by abortion through individual support and a variety of healing opportunities. Please help share the resources of this important ministry with others. Make sure that Project Rachel retreats are advertised in your parish. Also, please help promote a NEW HEALING OPPORTUNITY a virtual Bible Study for women. You can also share our CONFIDENTIAL phone number that receives texts or calls 501-663-0996.
5. Celebrate Arkansas Peace Week September 20-27. Pax Christi partners with other local organizations to sponsor educational activities and promote peacemaking in Arkansas. Ask your pastor or deacon if it is possible to include some of these petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful this month.
6. October is RESPECT LIFE MONTH. Make plans now to implement the new Respect Life Program in your parish. A poster (or two) and a program guide were recently mailed to your parish. Please coordinate with your parish secretary and your pastor to make use of these materials. Please contact theRespect Life Officeor 501-664-0340 ext. 326 if you need help or more information.
8. September 13 is Grandparent's Day. What can your parish do? Share these ideas, especially with families and with youth groups. Take part in the international initiative #sendyourhug instituted by Pope Francis to reach out to the elderly members of our community.
More information about these ideas is found below. If you need help with anything please contact the Respect Life Office501-664-0340 ext. 326.
Sincerely in Christ,
Respect Life Director
Diocese of Little Rock
40 Days for Life is a campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful vigil in front of abortion businesses. The fall campaign in Little Rock is September 23 - November 1 and will take place across the street from PLANNED PARENTHOOD 1501 Aldersgate Road. Please contact Marsha Boss 501-960-5051 or Nancy Meneley 501-952-3141 or visit the Little Rock campaign websiteto sign up for vigil hours or for more information.
Bishop Taylor will lead a Rosary for Life on October 23 at 11:00 a.m. outside Planned Parenthood 1501 Aldersgate Road. Everyone is invited to join him.
40 Days for Life Coach Crusade! A generous volunteer in Northwest Arkansas has offered his Motor Coach to bring pro-lifers to the 40 Days vigil in Little Rock. A maximum of 6 volunteers plan to travel in style and spread out a bit in the motor home. If more sign-up for a particular day, the plan is to arrange a caravan. Crusaders will pray for 4 hours in shifts - in between shifts prayer volunteers can rest, eat lunch, nap, etc. in the coach. Travel days planned so far are Oct. 7, 16, 22, and 28. For more information please contact Sheila Pursell 469-231-1959.
Please remember that COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS are necessary during our public witness at this 40 Days for Life campaign. We must wear face coverings over our noses and mouths and keep at least 6 feet apart. It is a contradiction to claim that we are pro-life and then willingly endanger the life of another person by disregarding these mandated precautions.
ADVOCATE TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
As Catholics, we are called to live with justice and mercy and uphold the value of all life. Our Catechism states that the death penalty is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" (2267).
The death penalty violates both the Church’s pro-life teaching and the teaching on the inherent dignity of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God. Not only does the death penalty target innocent life, but also those with mental illness, intellectual disability and people of color. It also redirects funds that could be used to help victims families harmed by violence heal.
The Most Reverend Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities shares his personal story and speaks out against the death penalty.
Memorial Service for Aborted Children Planned at Life Center in Little Rock
On Saturday, September 12th, pro-life Americans throughout the country will gather at the gravesites of aborted babies and other memorial sites dedicated in their honor for the 7th annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. In Little Rock the service will be held at the Life Center.
When: Saturday, September 12, 11:30 a.m. to Noon
Where: Life Center, 1515 South University Avenue in Little Rock
More Info: Call Rose Mimms at 501-663-4237 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Paul Worm, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Benton will participate and Melinda Chisum of Morrilton will be the guest speaker. All are welcome. Please bring your own chair for social distancing. Casual dress.
Together let us remember the victims of abortion and pray for a final end to this injustice in our land during the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.
Are you or is someone you know hurting from a past abortion?
Text or call our confidential, direct phone line: 501-663-0996
Project Rachel is offering one day healing retreats. Anyone who is suffering from an abortion experience is welcome to attend and experience God's love and mercy. (Please share the flyer below.)You are not alone. Come find forgiveness and healing in a safe, confidential, non-judgemental setting.
September 26 near Bentonville or October 10 in West Memphis
New! From Project Rachel Ministry, a new and different opportunity for post-abortion healing. Hope & Healing an online Bible Study for women. Please share the flyer below.
Arkansas Peace Week: Make Peace our “Natural” State!
September 20-27, 2020
Arkansas Peace Weekis a program of activities with a mission to educate and promote peacemaking in our society and raise awareness of organizations working to build a lasting peace in Arkansas. Arkansas Peace Week is conducted by a coalition of organizations, including Pax Christi. Featured events include:
Peace Across Faiths Interfaith Service and Picnic – Sept 20: Celebrate peace from different faiths and non-faith perspectives. The program features the Theme: “Shaping Peace Together”: celebrating spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic.
Peace Week Summit – Sept. 26 – Online event featuring Organizations making a difference in our community as we commemorate this year’s theme for the UN International Day of Peace. “Shaping Peace Together.”
ARKANSAS PEACE FEST– Sept 27 – Family friendly event with fun for all ages. Sidewalk Chalk Art, Crafts, Free Ice Cream & Snacks, Music, and Fun for children and families. Lessons for youth and adults to take concrete steps to counter the violence and injustice.
Peace Week in our Schools – A program to help schools and youth organizations take concrete steps to counter the threat of violence in our society.
Peace Week Mural– Murals on 7th Street, sending a message of inclusion and peace
OCTOBER IS RESPECT LIFE MONTH
Download materials and resources in English and in Spanish here.
Look for the posters that were mailed to your parish and for a special Respect Life Program email coming soon.
Catholics and Election Time
As Catholics we are called to bring our faith into the public square by how we act as citizens.This includes voting, but goes much further than casting a ballot. Political responsibility calls us to do the hard work of educating ourselves about candidates and carefully considering issues in light of Catholic teaching.The Church does not publish a voter guide nor tell us to vote for a particular candidate or a particular political party. What our Bishops do give us is a document calledForming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility (available inSpanish).Please read and study this document. It clearly presents the political and moral challenges that we face and invites us to reflect and to pray about many issues that need our attention. The USCCB has also produced a series of videos to help us reflect on the issues as we prepare to vote. Watch one below, access more here. It is essential that we work to build the Kingdom of God in our communities, in our nation, and in our world.
During this election season, we are likely to encounter others who have political opinions that are different from our own. We are Salt and Light , another resource from the USCCB, has developed a campaign call Civilize It: Dignity beyond the Debate (see below). These resources can be used to help promote love of neighbor and respect for the human dignity of each person.
"Fatihful Citizens Work with Christ as He Builds His Kingdom"
Celebrate by reaching out to your grandparents or to an older adult- even if it's virtually. Senior members of our communities are especially vulnerable to life threatening complications from corona virus. Many are staying home more and may feel isolated or alone. Let's take this opportunity to surround them with love. Here's a Grandparent's blessing idea that could be used at home, perhaps over Face-time, or in your own creative way. Pope Francis reminds us that the elderly are our grandparents and invites us to use the "inventiveness of love: make phone calls, video calls, listen to them!" Join this global initiative #sendyourhug