The inspiration to offer a prayer service in our parish,for all of those touched by abortion, first came to us in 2009. Weknew from personal experience both in ministry and in life that many people were suffering adversely from abortion.
Some people felt no one would attend such a service at the parish level due to privacy issues. But the desire to pursue this inspiration remained with us, always. Then, as if our
Blessed Mother said “Now! Now is the time.” – in the winter of 2013 a friend sent us a copy of a flyer regarding a prayer service for those touched by abortion that was being held in Newark, NJ. We were led to Theresa Bonopartis who had created the service with the help of the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of NY. After speaking with Theresa, we wereconvinced that Mary had led us directly to the program we had been envisioning for 6 years, already up and running!
The reality of our experience planning and participating in the Afternoon really operated on two levels. First, just by initiating this program in our diocese many people became
aware, for the first time, of the long shadow that is cast by abortion. Of course, they knew of its impact on the mother and more recently the father’s suffering has also been more widely recognized. But they had not thought about the mother who may have taken her daughter for the abortion, or the friend who counseled and or took her friend for the abortion. What about the doctors and/or nurses or the siblings of the aborted child who now have many questions.
The conversation has now begun or continues in the hearts and minds of all those to whom we spoke, emailed or just saw our posted flyers. Secondly, the Afternoon itself touched those who were present deeply and profoundly. The power of the testimonials – the solace of the Intercessory Prayers – the quiet time of Adoration, broken only by the recitation of the Rosary and interspersed with moving instrumentals from the choir loft –
the blessed forgiveness and healing received in Reconciliation to the source and summit of our faith, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the presence of Christ that afternoon was real, tangible and consoling. Everyone knew with an absolute certainty that though they had been in some way touched by abortion, they had this moment been definitively touched by Christ, who is the only one who can heal the brokenhearted and console those who mourn!
Our feedback at the end of the Afternoon was overwhelmingly positive… “Powerful!” – “Awesome!” – “I never thought about counselors and therapists being affected by abortion.” – “I felt like I have been touched by the hand of God” – “It was an honor to participate.” – “Please do this again.” – “There is no reason other parishes cannot do this.”
And this is our hope and our prayer, that other parishes will take this program and present it to their communities and it will bring the love of Christ to more and more people throughout our diocese. It was a humbling experience to see how God used us through this program to bring His desire for healing and mercy to all of us who have most assuredly been in some way touched by abortion! Thank you ,Theresa for following your own inspiration from the Holy Spirit and along with the Family Life Office bringing An Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance & Intercession to our world.
Sue Andrews & Tammy Moor