What Does Sanctity Really Mean?

by Ed Harpring

As Sanctity of Life Month and the commemoration of the notorious Roe v. Wade decision approaches, I wanted to highlight some of the remarks in a recent talk given by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at the Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation Dinner in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sept. 29, 2016. The Archbishop’s inspirational talk is especially befitting now because it articulates the vision, the hope and the increasing momentum of the Pro-Life Movement as we enter the New Year.

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The Archbishop set the stage by confirming the current climate of our society that perpetuates false narratives and euphemisms to cover up the real truth and tragedy of abortion:

Seventy years ago, abortion was a crime against humanity.  Four decades ago, abortion supporters talked piously about the “tragedy” of abortion and the need to make it safe and rare…Not anymore. Now abortion is not just a so-called “right,” but a right that claims positive dignity, the license to demonize its opponents and the precedence to interfere with constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

The Archbishop then spoke about the virtue of hope as a necessity for Catholics who affirm the dignity of Life.

We have every reason to hope… Hope is the grace to trust that God is who he claims to be, and that in serving him, we do something fertile and precious for the renewal of the world.

Our lives matter not because of who we are.  They matter because of who God is…And we become more truly human ourselves by seeing the humanity in the poor, the weak, the elderly and the unborn child — and then fighting for it…no law and no political lobby can ever change the truth about when human life begins and the sanctity that God attaches to each and every human person, born or unborn.

At the conclusion of his talk, Archbishop Chaput emphasized the need to be willing to sacrifice for the greater good, to remain steadfast, and ultimately, with God’s grace, the culture of Life will prevail.

As I was gathering my thoughts for tonight, a line from Psalm 89 came back to me again and again: [Lord,] make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.  The time we have in this world is brief.  The choices we make have real substance – precisely because we come this way in life only once, and the world will be better or worse for our passing.

Our real task, and our much longer-term and more important goal, is to carry out what the late Pope John Paul II called the “evangelization of culture.”

We need to work to change the culture. And that demands a lifelong commitment to education, formation and, ultimately, conversion. Only genuinely holy persons really change the world. And therein lies our ultimate victory: If we change one heart at a time, while we save one unborn life at a time, the day will come when we won’t need to worry about saving babies, because they’ll be surrounded by a loving and welcoming culture.

So no matter how tired you get, no matter how hard the work becomes, no matter who praises you or who condemns you, the only thing that finally matters is this:  God is good; he never abandons his people. The text of Archbishop Chaput’s entire speech  can be found HERE.

 In the Archdiocese of Louisville, there are several Pro-Life events planned:

Helpers of God’s Precious Infants Mass – Archbishop Kurtz – Celebrant Sat, Jan 14th, 7:00 a.m. Cathedral of the Assumption
– 7:00 a.m. Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
– 8:15 a.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
– Rosary procession to local abortion facility
– 9:00 a.m. Return to Cathedral for Benediction

Pro-Life Memorial Mass – Archbishop Kurtz – Celebrant
Sun, Jan 22, 3:00 p.m. – St. Martin of Tours

More than 150 parishes, schools and organizations come together annually to witness to the sanctity of human life sponsored by The Knights of Columbus. The Pro-Life Mass is dedicated to the protection of the unborn and to lift our hearts to the Lord to help change the hearts of our country from a culture of death to a culture that celebrates Life and defends all lives from conception to natural death. Parishes are encouraged to have a representative that will be given a “Rose for Life” during the liturgy. The Ambassadors for Life will be represented and receive a rose for our new organization.

Walk for Life – Louisville Youth and Families
Fri, Jan 27, 4:30 p.m. – Cathedral of the Assumption

Come along on the 2017 Walk for Life in downtown Louisville in solidarity with the National March for Life in Washington, DC! Meet at the Cathedral of the Assumption Undercroft (basement) on Friday, Jan 27, at 4:30 p.m. Our 1.5-mile prayer walk begins at 5:00 p.m. Depending on the size and speed of the group, the walk usually takes about 1.5 – 2 hours, ending at the Cathedral. Individuals, youth ministries, school groups, and families are welcome! Hope to see you there!

March for Life – Pilgrimage – Washington, DC – January 25 – January 27(Adults and Youth Groups are welcome.)

Wed, Jan. 25 – depart early morning and arrive in Washington DC
Thurs, Jan. 26 – 9:00 a.m. – March for Life Expo – Pro-Life Exhibitors
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Holocaust Museum, Survivor Speaker & Museum Tour
5:30 p.m. – Basilica – National Pro-Life Vigil Mass
Fri, Jan. 27 – 8:30 a.m. – Youth Rally & Mass for Life –Verizon Center
12 noon – March for Life Rally
4:00 p.m. – Buses depart for Kentucky
Sat, Jan. 28 – 6:00 a.m. – Buses arrive in Kentucky

Contact Kentucky Right to Life for more information 502-895-5959.

 

There Is Hope For Healing After Abortion . . .

You may have thought you had no choice, as having a baby simply wasn’t an option you could grasp. Immediately following the results of your decision, there may have even been a sense of relief. Problem solved. It’s over. You can resume life as it was before you knew you were pregnant.sad-teen

However, you’ve found you really can’t go back to the time before you were pregnant. You find yourself whispering several times a day, “I’m so very sorry” to your baby somewhere in the heavens. You’ve cried more tears than you thought possible. You’ve repeatedly asked God for forgiveness and perhaps you’ve sought forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And yet, you simply cannot forgive yourself.

There is hope for healing after abortion.

Project Rachael is a confidential ministry for those who’ve experienced the pain of abortion. It offers you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with someone who can hear your story and begin the process of healing.

There are other post abortion ministries, as well. Rachel’s Vineyard is a weekend retreat offered by a team of trained persons in the dioceses of Lexington and Owensboro. Again, this is all done with respect of your desire for confidentiality. Little Way Pregnancy Resource Center in Louisville, offers a six week support group for women who have experienced abortion. Those who facilitate any of these ministries offer a non-judgmental and caring presence.

Nothing can take the memories away. But, with help and the ever-present grace of God, you can find the healing you so desire and the healing that God is calling you to know and experience. For more information, call the Project Rachael number (502-471-2155) and someone will return your call within 24 hours.

There is no need to continue to suffer the pain of unforgiveness when hope is a phone call away.

 

Combating Elder Abuse

Occupational therapists launch new guidelines to help stop elder abuse before it starts (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists)by Martine Bacci Siegel

Elder abuse is a significant problem in the United States; over 500,000 cases of mistreatment against adults aged 60 or more are reported annually. During State Fiscal Year 2015, the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services received 30,037 calls for reports concerning adults 60 years and older. Those calls were screened and 12,618 met acceptance criteria for an adult protective services investigation under KRS 209. Sadly, in the majority of these incidents the abusers are members of the victim’s own family.

Abuse toward older people can occur in various forms. The most common types of elder maltreatment include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect or abandonment, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, and health care fraud and abuse.

It can be difficult to identify symptoms of elder abuse as they may be similar to the expected signs of physical and cognitive decline usually associated with old age. This fact, in conjunction with assurances from the caregiver that everything is fine, can easily contribute to a loved one overlooking warning signs for abuse.

Some of the signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained signs of bodily injury such as welts, scratches, bruises, scars, sprains, broken bones, or dislocations
  • signs of restraint on wrists or ankles, having too much or too little medication left over (based on the dosage instructions)
  • the caregiver refusing to allow the elderly person to meet with visitors alone
  • Signs of emotional abuse include behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, not talking openly, or expressing the desire to hurt oneself or someone else.

There are many factors which could potentially contribute to the onset and perpetuation of elder abuse. If a caregiver is untrained, unable to cope with stress, receives little support, or views his or her caregiving responsibility as a burden, then the possibility that the caregiver may turn to abusive behaviors toward an elder increases. Debilitating illnesses, an elderly person’s history with the caregiver, social isolation of the older person and the caregiver from other individuals, as well as the elder’s own aggressive tendencies may also trigger the onset of abuse.

Several strategies can be employed to reduce the likelihood of elder abuse. These include:

  • Listening intently to the elder.
  • Asking family members and friends for help with caregiving.
  • Utilizing local adult day care programs.
  • Eating nutritious foods and maintaining healthy personal habits.
  • Employing stress relief and relaxation techniques.
  • Visiting caregiver support groups.
  • Calling caregiver support hotlines.
  • Encouraging regular visits from friends and relatives.
  • Staying alert to signs and symptoms of abuse.
  • Getting involved when abuse is suspected.
  • Educating others about elder abuse

If you suspect elder abuse, you are legally required to report it. You can report abuse at the 24 hour toll free hotlines at 1-877-597-2331 or 1-800-752-6200. Calls can be made anonymously.

Do you have family issues where you feel that you need professional assistance? Contact the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Counseling Referral Services at (502) 636-1044 or by email at counseling@archlou.org.

What Does Dignity Really Mean?

by Deacon Stephen Bowling

Before coming to work for the Archdiocese, I worked for a “long-term healthcare provider”, something more commonly known as a nursing home company.

It was during my time there that I was regularly able to partake of many steaming hot mugs full of human dignity – opportunities to observe and interact positively with those facing many debilitating health challenges as part of their everyday lives. This is a process which I highly recommend that everyone take part in as often as they can as it forever changed my heart for the better I am certain.

Dignity is something which is part of every human being’s makeup, as given to them by God . . . and yet far too often our recognition of this fact falls way short in a practical sense. We see the person shaking with Parkinson’s disease and wonder what is “wrong” with them. We may silently give thanks that we are “not like those people” just like the Pharisee did in Luke 18 as we walk past an Alzheimer’s and Dementia ward. We often run the other way when confronted by everyday dignity issues like incontinence, pressure ulcers or just plain and simple loneliness.

But no matter our first reaction . . . ULTIMATELY . . . as Christians . . . we know what we are called to do.

Dignity is an attitude, first and foremost. It must come from inside the “subject” – us; it does not reside in the “object” – the person who is facing whatever challenges. Dignity is how the heart is oriented and only from there does the proper response come forth. I am reminded of the famous story of an American tourist in India who once stood by in awe as he watched Mother Teresa lovingly clean the infected wounds of a horribly disfigured leper. “Sister,” he commented, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!” Her response back to him was one for the ages: “Neither would I, brother. Neither would I.”

Dignity is bestowed with love and comes from a soft heart which is made of out of compassion . . . or it simply is not there at all. It is not so much about what it is we DO for those in need but HOW our hearts are oriented in that doing. It can be very easy to ignore dignity issues like human trafficking, pornography or abortion and euthanasia but almost just as easy to “throw money” at them hoping to assuage whatever guilt we might feel about the fact that such things exist.

But as Christians, we are called to so much more.

The real challenge is to take up the cross of getting our hands “into the mire” and make an individual difference for someone REAL. Volunteering of our time and talent is far more effective than any other remedy we might hope to undertake. Because dignity is kept in our hearts, making sure that it has the proper environment to grow is something we must always be working to provide.

As the new year dawns upon us once again, so it is once again a time to make a new difference in the lives of someone in need. Our assistance needs to be an “active” one as Pope Francis reminds us. For him we must always have “dirty shoes” which so clearly illustrate that we have been walking where the need is, spreading the good news personally by our hands and our hearts.

For as Jesus himself told us, and as we all should know, the need is always with us.