Recently, I have become the new chair of the Respect Life Committee at our parish. It’s been a largely inactive group in the last couple of years, and I haven’t been able to be a great part of it except for my quarterly baby showers that I run for Catholic Charities in our area. We have a miniscule budget ($100 a year), few members, almost no activities, and a woman who had been president who just barely had time to do much for it. (She runs a larger Pro Life group in our area that encompasses all the Respect Life groups in our city’s area and runs TV ads on local stations, so it’s not like she does nothing.) The Former Chair was just tired. The Respect Life group in our parish often has to fight for what we do. I know that sounds awful, but sometimes it’s just true. Originally, I wanted to have monthly showers and was turned down. Only after John Paul II died did the Justice and Peace Committee petition our pastor again, and I was granted permission to do it every three months. (I am GRATEFUL for this, though. Truly, I am!)
So I have nearly a blank slate here. We already started off the year by spending our entire budget (and I made a donation to up the money in our coffers once I realized how small the budget is!), and we’ll be putting an insert in the bulletin next weekend, plus we’ll be putting out brochures on various Pro Life issues. I don’t want people thinking that all we are about is abortion and NFP, so we are including materials from the USCCB on the sanctity of marriage and the evil of ebryonic research as well as one on Natural Family Planning (the brochure is called “Go Organic!”). For our diocese, this is Respect Life Month. So we are trying to be very in the forefront of people’s minds.
But after January, then what? Well, for one, I want to have monthly meetings. Our parish tends to have all kinds of things happening on Sunday between our two Masses. CCD, RCIA, parent meetings for the kids receiving Sacraments…everything seems to go on between Masses. I want to have meetings during the week. (I have to work out logistics with our parish office on when we can hold them, but I’ll figure that out.) And what should we do there?
I had been complaining recently that it’s a shame that our pastor doesn’t educate people more on the Church’s teachings on the Culture of Life. Suddenly, something occurred to me. How can I complain about it when I am on the Respect Life Committee? What am I doing to help educate people?
And so I believe that this will be a new mission for the Respect Life Committee at our parish. We will help to educate our parish, as well as people from other parishes who come to meetings, on the Church’s teachings on life, sexuality, and the sanctity of both. Which means that I must do two things.
First, I must educate myself more. I will first be printing off Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae and reading them. Nope. Haven’t ever read them. (Actually, I’ve been a bit afraid to, given my history, but I’ve just got to get over myself, you know?) I must read more at Priests for Life. I need to be ready with information. I need to know more.
Secondly, I need to get in touch with people who already know a great deal about certain issues and who are willing to come give lectures on the topics. I have a friend who is the NFP coordinator for our diocese. I know people who give talks to mothers and teen daughters on the Church’s teachings on sexuality. There is a wealth of information. I must learn to access it and help other people get it, too.
It’s daunting. I’m scared. But I’m also excited. I want our parish’s Respect Life Committee to be like a beacon, an example for others. But honestly, I don’t want it so anyone can say, “Wow. Look what Christine did over there!” I really want to do it because I believe it will be something that will give glory to God. I want to do it for Him. Because when I stand before His throne for judgement, I don’t want to have to explain why I was busy complaining about Father and his lack of action when I did nothing, either. And I don’t want to have the souls of those perfect babies aborted, nor the souls of the people who were euthanized, asking me what I did to help them.
And I don’t want Jesus to say that He knows me not.
Please pray for me as I take on this new task. Pray that I seek and listen to divine guidance. Pray that our little committee grows and is able to spread the good news and the beautiful teachings of the Church. Pray that God’s will be done.