Sunday, January 22, 2012

Does Respect Life Ministry Mean More than Protesting Abortion?

Absolutely!  Respect Life has to do with a great deal more than just abortion.  That’s one of the many issues, but it’s not by any means the only one about which people are called to care.  I love the way our pastor helped bring the full scope of respecting life to the forefront today.

He asked people in the congregation to stand and remain standing if they had ever…helped support a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy, visited someone in prison, taken the Protecting God’s Children Virtus Training, helped in any way with CARITAS, sponsored a child in Haiti, done outreach for the Holy Family cluster ofparishes in Appalachia, helped with the Job Assistance Ministry (JAM)  at our parish, anyone who's been involved in Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) retreats, supported the Special Olympics or participated in anything to support persons with disabilities, helped immigrants who sought aid through our parish, received e-mails and taken action on legislation through Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC), visited someone who was homebound or hospitalized, helped care for a relative a who was sick or dying, comforted someone who'd lost a loved one through bereavement support
Fr. Dan Brady’s list included a wide range of ministries, large and small acts of kindness, and daily practices that promote and protect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.  The majority of the congregation was standing by the time he’d gone through all of his list, then he finished his message by asking everyone to stand who would commit to doing something to respect life, and then he had the entire congregation on their feet. 
One of my Christ Renews His Parish CRHP sisters, Nancy had us over for a luncheon this afternoon after 11:15am Mass.  We talked about the sermon, and many mentioned that they were kind of surprised at some of the things Fr. Dan included as being part of respecting life.  Many people hadn’t considered that something as seemingly simple as providing an item for the bake sale to help raise money for a group of Sudanese boys to attend school counts as an action that supports life.  Looking around the table, I reminded a number of my CRHP sisters of what they’ve done that has become second-nature to them that falls under the category of Respect Life ministry. 
Lord, thank You for the multitude of ministries and ways you’ve given us to serve those who are suffering in mind, body, and/or spirit.  Help us be even more open to the needs of those around us and the ways in which you’d like to work in and through us to meet those needs.  Amen.
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