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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

By: Natalie Plumb

If she hadn’t agreed to write her column in advance on “Bought with a Price,” Arlington Catholic Herald columnist Elizabeth Foss likely would not have read its contents. But what she discovered when she took on the task was that Bishop Loverde has much more to offer than a pointing finger.

You can order your own copy of “Bought with a Price” through the diocesan website or Amazon Kindle.

This column originally appeared in the Arlington Catholic Herald.

By: Elizabeth Foss, Catholic Herald Columnist

Shortly before this column was due, I received a note from the Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s office explaining that he was planning to reissue his 2006 pastoral letter, “Bought with a Price.” The note went on to say that I might recall that letter and that this reissued letter was updated and full of practical suggestions, a study guide and a plan of life. It was destined to be a great resource for families. Attached for my convenience was an early copy in case I was able to write a column for the first week it was released.

BWAPcollage2Sure! A great resource for families, something new for me to read, a good reason to get a little extension on the column deadline so I could work over the weekend, all lined up to agree that I’d be happy to write on the bishop’s topic of choice. I didn’t recall the 2006 letter at all, but that didn’t deter me. I’d planned to write about a Lenten plan for families. This should work with that, right? The note said it’s a great resource for families.

I never looked to see what the pastoral letter addressed. I agreed to write about it without ever opening the 80-page PDF to see the subject. As I committed my weekend to it, I didn’t even know it was 80 pages.

It’s about pornography. I’ll admit right here that I would not have read this letter if I hadn’t promised to do so, sight unseen. Who wants to sit in her car during the only bright sunshine of the week, in the parking lot of the soccer field during warm-ups, and read what a celibate man has to say about porn?

You do. I did. This letter is so well-written, so worth reading. I started by cutting and pasting quote-worthy passages onto a blank document. Before I’d finished, I had more than a thousand words of quotes. I thought about just mailing those in and calling it a weekend. It didn’t take me long to recognize that instead, I need to persuade you, dear reader, to just read the whole thing.

Click here to continue reading this Arlington Catholic Herald column.

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I had an abortion in 1995. The next several years of my life seemed to be a series of one awful thing after the other, it became overwhelming. So many terrible things happened, I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

At first I wondered if God was punishing me. Then I realized I could blame God, or I could take responsibility for what I did. It was MY DECISION. God had nothing to do with it, nor did He “punish” me for what I had done. I was punishing myself!!

I had no idea I could be forgiven for such a grave sin. Even though I went to church, it seemed like the priest only talked about “respect for life”, and never spoke about being able to be forgiven after having an abortion. The guilt I felt on Mother’s Day and March for Life weekend at church was incredibly painful.

For many years I wanted to confess my sin, but was afraid … I would not even tell my cousin who is a priest.

Then one day (17 years later), I was in a restroom at a church I was visiting when I saw a paper that read “help after abortion.” As I went on reading the piece of paper that was taped to the wall, it said there is healing and forgiveness after abortion. Even after reading it I thought “Forgiveness??? Really???” At the bottom of the page were tabs to pull off and a phone number to call. I pulled one off, and even then, I was hesitant to call.

After a week or so, I called and spoke with Jo at the Diocese of Arlington. She was so supportive and positive. She told me about Rachel’s Vineyard [our diocesan retreat]. It sounded too good to be true. I signed up to attend the upcoming retreat.

That retreat turned my life around!!

I feel so blessed to have experienced the forgiveness of God, and my retreat was on Divine Mercy weekend. It was amazing. The priest we had at our retreat was a Father of Mercy, and he was such an empathetic, kind man. He was not the priest that was scheduled to be at our retreat, but God sent him to us, and he will stay in my heart forever. What a wonderful man.

The women I met there know more about me than friends I’ve known for years. We stay in touch and we all went to Mass together last month and had a luncheon. We are planning a get together around the Christmas holidays and there is a true bond between us. It’s absolutely wonderful.

I pray that more people who need healing and forgiveness learn about Project Rachel and attend a retreat. It will be the beginning of the rest of your life. You can be forgiven and you can heal. Just let God in. I realized God never meant for me to hurt for all those years, He never did anything to punish me. He loves us. We are His children. Remember, He said: “Come to me, all who are weary.”

Please go to Him if you are weary and He will give you peace. God Bless You.

Note: There is a Project Rachel retreat occurring in Northern Virginia, November 2-4. There are still open spaces if you or someone you know is in search of healing after an abortion.

Diocesan Post-Abortion Ministry provides referral to specially trained priests and/or professional counselors, healing retreats and written materials. For confidential assistance please call 1-888-456-HOPE (4673) or email info@helpafterabortion.org.

 

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By: Thérèse Bermpohl   

Divine Mercy Sunday occurs on the Sunday after Easter

There are scores of women and men suffering after abortion.  They fear condemnation by their community and, even worse, the refusal of forgiveness.  Well over half of the women who have had abortions say they felt pressured or coerced by family members, the father of the child and friends.  Many say that they didn’t feel they ever had a real choice and they were never made aware of other options.  These same women are often brought to despair after their abortions, feeling ostracized from the Church, believing that their sin is “the unforgivable one.”  Reports indicate that as many as 1/3 of all women have had an abortion and, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 27% of those choosing abortion identify themselves as Catholic. Chances are, we all know someone who has been affected by abortion and is in need of God’s mercy.     

As we get ready to celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, it’s a good time to recall the words of Jesus, spoken to St. Faustina, “Let the greatest sinners place their trust in my mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy.”  Let this Divine Mercy Sunday remind us of the need to reach out to those suffering with the grief and heartbreak of abortion.      

"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

 

 Without condemnation, let us offer them words of hope and consolation.  I echo the words Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the Kenyan Bishops when they visited the Vatican, “The community should be open to welcome back all who repent of having participated in the grave sin of abortion, and should guide them with pastoral charity to accept the grace of forgiveness, the need for penance, and the joy of entering once more into the new life of Christ.”         

The Project Rachel staff at the Diocese of Arlington is ready to assist all those wounded after abortion with a confidential phone line, priest referrals, counseling, retreats and aftercare (Aftercare allows women who have attended either the PR Retreat or the Day of Recollection to continue their healing journey with evenings of prayer, confession, discussion and fellowship).  To learn more about our programs, please contact us at 703-841-2504 or visit our Web site  

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