A common lie told to women considering an abortion is how “this will be a quick fix and take care of everything”. This can seem like a tempting choice in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. Yet the reality of the physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and social effects of just one abortion is true. Like a ripple, they impact not only the baby’s life, but that of the father and mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, neighbors and the whole community and the American and global society at large. Since the legalization of abortion in America in 1973, these ripples have silently affected this diocese and nation.
In the mission of Jesus, the Catholic Church understands the healing that is necessary after abortion. A prayer service, called “Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession” was first held in the Archdiocese of New York and has been conducted at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. as part of the January Prayer Vigil for Life. It was designed to begin to aid that recovery process. It consisted of talks, testimonies, intercessory prayer, adoration, Mass and opportunity for confession. Developed by Theresa Bonopartis and the Sisters of Life, the event’s purpose was to bring together the many different people who are affected by abortion and the impact this abortion decision has in the community. The idea is for the community to gather and pray in the tender mercy and love of Jesus, the Divine Healer, during this special Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Allison Sturm, of the Office of Evangelization and Special Projects for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, has been planning the event.
“While this event remembers all of those who have been wounded, I also want it to inspire people to use what they learn to help someone who is hurting from a past abortion or facing an unplanned pregnancy,” she said. “My hope is to help form intentional disciples who spread the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life, as well as the message of God’s love and mercy, by emphasizing the importance of sharing the truth and tragedy of abortion — while always speaking of those involved with this decision in charity.
“Anyone is welcome to attend all or part of this event,” she continued. “This is the first event of its kind in our diocese.”
Sturm also organizes Project Rachel, a post-abortion reconciliation program that offers hope and healing for all those who suffer from the pain of abortion and its aftermath. God is loving and forgiving, and in His name the Church reaches out with compassion and concern. Project Rachel ministers and counsels individuals of all religions.
St. Therese Little Flower Parish, South Bend, will host the local, inaugural Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance and Healing After Abortion on Sunday, Oct. 23 from 1–4 p.m. The schedule is as follows: 1-2 p.m., testimonials and intercessory prayers; 2-3 p.m., Eucharistic Adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation; 3-4 p.m., Mass.
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