By Diane Freeby
SOUTH BEND — As Project Rachel is rejuvenated in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, the Office of Family Life is making sure the program is available to anyone whose life has been affected by abortion. Family Life Co-director Lisa Everett says she needed to look no further than Women’s Care Center and the training provided to Margarita Rodriguez, now assistant director for Pro-Life and Hispanic Outreach.
“Margarita used to work as a counselor for Women’s Care Center,” explains Everett, referring to the years Rodriguez spent as a bilingual counselor, teaching parenting classes and helping women facing a crisis pregnancy. “She is bilingual and works in our office for pro-life outreach, especially with the Hispanic community, (that) makes her the perfect person to answer the hotline.”
Rodriguez agrees that her role will be to compassionately listen to the people who call, and assess their needs.
According to Everett, the hotline counselor’s job is to then refer them to someone on the confidential network of priests, professional counselors and spiritual mentors who will help them through the process of healing and reconciliation. Rodriguez says she is relying on her faith as well as her training.
“As a hotline counselor for Project Rachel, and with the help of Jesus and Mary, our Mother, I hope to be a resource and provide support and information … to the women and men whose lives have been affected and devastated by abortion,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez also credits her experience with Women’s Care Center for preparing her to help others through Project Rachel.
“Women’s Care Center bases its services on the ‘Love Approach,’” explains Rodriguez. “Jesus’ unconditional and nonjudgmental love is the main approach I will take as the diocesan hotline counselor for Project Rachel. This same approach is at the core of the Church’s pro-life vision and at the core of my passion for doing this ministry.”
Rodriguez believes the Hispanic community, along with other minorities, are frequent targets of the abortion industry. She says she hopes to be “an instrument of God” in promoting awareness.
“Abortion affects us all,” continues Rodriguez. “Hispanics and blacks have been one of the main focus of the Planned Parenthood agenda, and of the culture of death in general. These are all attempts to destroy life; from the unreliable, deceiving and defective, “sexual education” that promotes and generates promiscuity, and shapes a destructive contraceptive mentality … that leads to the use of artificial contraceptives, abortion, artificial reproduction and euthanasia. And of course social injustice, destructive inhumane and unjust immigration laws; all have the same tactic, to dehumanize and demonize the undesirable person. I really believe that giving priority to the sanctity of life will bring blessings in every way, including a just immigration reform. The sanctity of life is like the core piece of the puzzle once we place and protect that piece all the others will come in place.”
Rodriguez says she is grateful to Bishop John M. D’Arcy for the work he’s done, and after hearing how involved Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has been with the Hispanic community, she looks forward with great excitement to working with him.
“I feel like a kid Christmas morning unwrapping her gifts,” smiles Rodriguez. “My wish list has been granted with flying colors and I barely started unwrapping. Something tells me that feeling is going to last for a long time!”
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