Auxiliary Bishop Christian Bishop Riesbeck’s comments during Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in conjunction with the National March for Life in Ottawa.

The B.C. Catholic
By Deborah Gyapong

When Ottawa’s new auxiliary bishop, Christian Riesbeck, became the pastor of a parish in Houston, Tex., he soon faced a difficult pastoral challenge: the pregnancy of a young lady.

The mother and aunt of the girl, who was barely 13 years old, approached him and “asked if an exception could be made in her case because of her age. They wanted to abort the child,” he said in a homily at the Prolife Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral May 8, in conjunction with the National March for Life.

“I wanted to cry,” Bishop Riesbeck said. “I tried to be as compassionate as I could, helping her acknowledge the child in her womb and encouraging her to love that child and allow the child to see the light of day. I promised her the help she needed in her situation.”

Since Bishop Riesbeck was new to the Houston diocese, the Companions of the Cross priest “had to scramble to find out what was available so I could direct her to the right place for help.”

Bishop Riesbeck said this experience made him realize the parish needed to do more to help young women. He and his parishioners decided to start a Project Gabriel [The Gabriel Project] outreach for women and families facing crisis pregnancies. They installed two big signs on the property in English and in Spanish with a contact number.

“Thanks be to God we received a lot of ‘business,'” said the bishop, “and the whole parish got on board. We had many drives for baby food, diapers, cribs. There was always a generous response from the parishioners, and we were doing our part to help pregnant women in need.”

Bishop Riesbeck challenged the view put forward by abortion supporters that respect for women meant giving them a “choice” to “kill their babies and subject themselves to harmful physical and psychological effects.”

“This does not respect women,” he said. “If we really respect them, we will come to their assistance if they are in a difficult situation, and see to it that they have what they need to give life to their child.”

“If a woman is in a crisis pregnancy, let’s help her by eliminating the crisis, not by eliminating the pregnancy,” he said. “Most women who procure abortions do not do so because of ‘freedom of choice,’ but rather because they feel they have no freedom and no choice.”

“They feel trapped, abandoned, desperate, afraid, and pressured, and sadly, they feel that there is no one they can turn to except the abortionist,” the bishop said.

He expressed gratitude to the various individuals and groups in the prolife movement who provide services, who lobby and run educational organizations.

“We also need to affirm the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who stand with their ‘I regret my abortion’ signs, and the Feminists for Life and those who make the compelling argument that women deserve better than abortion,” Bishop Riesbeck said. “These are the people that the pro-choice or pro-abortion advocates fear most in their own attempts to present the image of abortion as positive and pro-woman.”

“As the Church, we need to be compassionate with those who are contemplating an abortion and reach out to those who have had abortions,” he said. “To them we say, ‘The doors of the Church are open.'”

“We will never reject or condemn or cast them out,” he said. “We welcome them back to the peace, the mercy, the forgiveness of Christ. To be pro-life means to be pro-woman.”

“It doesn’t mean that we love the babies and we forget about the mothers,” he said. “We love them both. We protect them both. We welcome and care for them both.”

“But we also need to proclaim the truth in love. Abortion kills a child. It harms women and it wounds families,” he said. “This is why we are not afraid to boldly defend the dignity and life of every human person at every stage of development, especially the unborn.”

“We should never get discouraged. Every child saved is a victory worthy of gratitude,” he said. “We don’t always see the fruits of our efforts, but if we are following God’s will and the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we are making a difference and allowing God to use us as His instruments.”

Personal Message from the host of this site:

How could anyone be more important than a child, even while still within his or her mother’s womb? How can we not assist a child-bearing mother in need?

The Gabriel Project is a national parish-based pregnancy assistance resource. Our concerns go beyond being assured that a child’s life has been spared or that a mom has been provided with initial baby items. A Gabriel Project parish’s concerns go beyond serving its own parishioners and its parish’s boundaries. We seek to serve all pregnant mothers in need regardless of their personal situation, the size of their family, their age or their baby’s gestational stage.

I have attempted to express my sentiments in these regards with the following writings:

I could never tire of expounding on the magnificence of service this ministry offers to pregnant mothers in need – in the Name of Christ Jesus, through Whom all life is created.

I have been so blessed to be able to participate in this special ministry, thanks be to God.

Fredi D’Alessio (initial coordinator for The Gabriel Project of the Archdiocese of San Francisco)

In the video below, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone presents The Gabriel Project in his Annual Appeal. The Gabriel Project segment begins at 1:24 and ends at 4:56 minutes.

VIDEO: CLICK HERE

 

I wanted to bring flowers to church today for St. Patrick. I didn’t have time to pick them up before Mass so I went to a nearby store right after Mass, but by the time I returned, the church doors were locked. How I long for the good old days when churches remained open all day.

I brought the flowers home to bring to Mass tomorrow. I didn’t want St. Patrick to wait till then, so I sought out my grandfather’s funeral prayer card that I recalled had an image of St. Patrick and I placed it on the table next to the flowers. I decided to pray for the happy repose of my grandfather’s soul. I started to pray a Hail Mary, but the prayer on the back of the card caught my attention, so I prayed that instead. I hope people pray for my soul when I pass.

prayer card back

prayer card front

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death. 

Amen.

I pray at Holy Mass for all of my deceased loved ones and beseech God that if any of them are not as yet with Him in heaven, He extend further mercy upon them by diminishing the severity and duration of their purification and raise their souls to heaven as soon as possible.

From C-FAM:

Dear Colleague,

Hillary Clinton was at it again. She was at the UN this week for International Women’s Day calling for a right to abortion and that development cannot happen without it. What nonsense. And global leaders know it. Hillary lost at Cairo twenty years ago and she’s going to lose this time, too.

We also report on our old friends the Girl Scouts who under the aegis of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held a no-adults meeting at the UN Commission on the Status of Women and asked the opinions of the girls on the development agenda. Guess what? They really didn’t’ want to know the opinions of pro-life girls! Pro-life girls were bullied and shunned by WAGGGS leaders. And the US Girl Scouts give these folks more than a million dollars a year.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse
President

Hillary Clinton Says Women Cannot Progress Without Reproductive Rights

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, March 14 (C-FAM) Twenty years after the Clintons failed to get countries to declare a right to abortion, Mrs. Clinton told a posh UN crowd that humanity cannot advance without reproductive rights.

“You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development without safeguarding women’s reproductive health or rights,” she declared. Clinton is adamant that reproductive health includes abortion.

Read more

Conservative Girls Shunned at World Girl Scouts UN Meeting

By Wendy Wright

NEW YORK, March 14 (C-FAM) Who speaks for youth? Catholic teens are wondering after participating in a Girl Scouts meeting to collect young women’s opinions on the new goals that will steer UN policy – and billions of dollars in aid – for years to come.

“We were just a ‘means to an end,’” said one young lady. “All they wanted was for us to validate their point.”

Read more

The pastor of Sweden’s largest non-denominational megachurch has announced that he is entering the Roman Catholic Church. (HT Patheos)

From http://www.ulfekman.org/default.aspx?idStructure=16641:

Pastor Ulf Ekman to be accepted into the Catholic Church

During our last Sunday service, pastor Ulf Ekman shared the news that he and his wife Birgitta will be received into the Catholic Church. A process of many years of prayer and reflection led to this decision.

During the last ten years, Ulf and Birgitta have had contact with catholics and catholic faith, mostly internationally but also in Sweden. This has made them reflect more on the catholic faith and on the spiritual life they have seen in their catholic brothers and sisters.

- For Birgitta and me, this has been a slow process were we have gone from discovering new things, to appreciating what we have discovered, to approach and even learn from our fellow Christians, Ulf Ekman says.

- We have seen a great love for Jesus and a sound theology, founded on the Bible and classic dogma. We have experienced the richness of sacramental life. We have seen the logic in having a solid structure for priesthood, that keeps the faith of the church and passes it on from one generation to the next. We have met an ethical and moral strength and consistency that dare to face up to the general opinion, and a kindness towards the poor and the weak. And, last but not least, we have come in contact with representatives for millions of charismatic Catholics and we have seen their living faith, Ulf Ekman explains.

- All this has been both attractive and challenging. It really challenged our protestant prejudices, and we realized that we in many cases did not have any basis for our criticism of them. We needed to know the Catholic faith better. This led us to the realize that it was actually Jesus Christ who led us to unite with the Catholic Church, Ulf Ekman says.

Ulf and Birgitta Ekman emphazises that this is about a personal journey.

- It has not been our agenda to lead Word of Life in this direction, or to collectively unite the church with the Catholic Church. That would be unreasonable.

In his speech to the church this Sunday, Ulf Ekman stressed that this step was not going from something, but more importantly going towards something else.

- We love the church that we have been a part of building and serving for the last thirty years, and we could never be anything but grateful for the time we have had together, but we have felt a clear calling from the Lord to take this new step. Now, when we do so, we are convinced that the Word of Life church is in good hands and will keep prospering and bear fruit in it’s on vision.

  • Watch the video from the March 9 service at Word of Life Church.  Mr. Ekman’s specific comments about Catholicism begin at the 25:00 mark.

 

If you’ve followed this blog over the past few years, you might have discerned that The Gabriel Project is my favorite ministry. I just added a post category for The Gabriel Project and as of this date there are nineteen posts included.

How could anyone be more important than a child, even while still within his or her mother’s womb? How can we not assist a child-bearing mother in need?

The latest offering I have about this awesome ministry is a video clip from the Archbishop of San Francisco’s 2014 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. The Gabriel Project segment begins at 1:24 and ends at 4:56 minutes (three and a half minutes of your time). If you want to skip the brief intro, click here, otherwise click on the video image below.

The Gabriel Project is a national parish-based pregnancy assistance resource. It is unique among other resources within the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s boundaries and is the only Catholic ministry among them. Our concerns go beyond being assured that a child’s life has been spared or that a mom has been provided with initial baby items. A Gabriel Project parish’s concerns go beyond serving its own parishioners and its parish’s boundaries. We seek to serve all pregnant mothers in need regardless of their personal situation, the size of their family, their age or their baby’s gestational stage.

I have attempted to express my sentiments in these regards with the following writings:

I could never tire of expounding on the magnificence of service this ministry offers to pregnant mothers in need – in the Name of Christ Jesus, through Whom all life is created.

I have been so blessed to be able to participate in this special ministry, thanks be to God.

Gabriel Project Information Center