Over the past several weeks, we celebrated October as “pro-life” month. The complex subject of “Pro-Life” continues to be a thorny issue even within the context of our faith community. It cuts across religious, economic, social, political, medical, gender and ethical boundaries.
This year, we discussed the possibility of “expanding the conversation” about what the term “Pro-Life” means. In this respect, we considered the following groups of people whose lives are currently threatened by initiatives within the social, political, economic and medial fields:
We added a visual to this October’s messages using the following rose colors to represent the various constituents who need the support of a Culture-Of-Life:”
October 6, 2013: RED ROSES for all unborn children and their mothers and fathers
October 13, 2013: YELLOW ROSES for the Mentally Challenged
October 20, 2013: WHITE ROSES for the Elderly
October 28, 2013: VARIEGATED ROSES for the poor, homeless or abandoned.
Prayers for each of these groups can be found below.
I was impressed and encouraged by the conversations I had with various parishioners on this topic. Some were quite contentious, some were highly supportive. Other people seemed unsure and are formulating their thoughts on these issues through prayer, research and personal discernment.
Last week, Augustinian Father Daniel Wilde spoke to us about “Pro-Life And The Poor” and the wider spiritual and emotional implications of this. Fr. Wilde specifically mentioned three organizations involved in ministering to the wide pallet of Pro-Life ministries: Priests-For Life, 40DaysForLife.com and Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries (Further information listed below)
As an aside, Fr. Wilde is an accomplished, celebrated and published pianist who has performed around the world. He has channeled this particular musical charism as a means to offer support for his Pro-Life ministry. Further information about his integration of his musical talent and Pro-Life ministry is available on the PriestForLife.org web page. Click on his picture under the “Priests For Life Pastoral Team” section.
* Priests-for Life – A family of ministries that reach and enrich every aspect of the pro-life movement, for clergy and laity alike, in a wide variety of activities. Also a very specific effort to galvanize the clergy to preach, teach, and mobilize their people more effectively in the effort to end abortion and euthanasia. (www.priestsforlife.org)
* 40DaysForLife.com – A focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion.
* Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries – Weekend retreats for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States, Canada and around the world. 15-week support groups modeled on the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend experience also available. (http://www.rachelsvineyard.org).
Pro-Life Prayers for the Month of October:
October 6, 2013 – RED ROSES for all unborn children and their mothers and fathers
O God, who adorn creation with splendor and beauty and fashion human lives in your image and likeness, awaken in every heart reverence for the work of your hands,and renew among your people a readiness to nurture and sustain your precious gift of human life. Amen. (From the Roman Missal)
October 13, 2013 – YELLOW ROSES for the Mentally Challenged
Heavenly Father, we have been created in the image of you. Help us to see your image more clearly and strongly in all creatures of your love, and particularly in those which we describe as mentally challenged, though they are whole in your sight, and have a place and purpose in your divine plan for all mankind. Help us to enable them to fully participate in the abundant life which is your will for all human kind.
We are grateful for the opportunity to share our lives with those possessing limited faculties of mind and body, obliviously in a love and joy within us which is beyond understanding. We know your creation, though entirely good, is as yet incomplete, and that we may share in your created work to the bettering of all the children of men.
Guide us with your truth, the truth that rules us free to love and serve all your children, and bring their right to happy and productive living in their world and mine, which is a pure object of your love. Amen (By: The Rev. John Raymond Zinn Green)
October 20, 2013 – WHITE ROSES for the Elderly
Grant, O Lord of life, that we may savor every season of our lives as a gift filled with promise for the future. Grant that we may lovingly accept your will, and place ourselves each day in your merciful hands. And when the moment of our definitive “passage” comes, grant that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope. Mary, Mother of pilgrim humanity, pray for us “now and at the hour of our death.” Keep us ever close to Jesus, your beloved Son and our brother, the Lord of life and glory. Amen! (By: Blessed Pope John Paul II, 1999)
October 28, 2013 – VARIEGATED ROSES for the poor, homeless or abandoned
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow men throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen. (By: Pope Paul VI)