Monday, November 23, 2009

St. Gianna Molla Ministry for Life and the Manhattan Declaration

The parish has begun a new ministry, the St. Gianna Molla Ministry for Life. I am so happy that we have done this since, without trying to be overly-dramatic, we are truly in the fight of our lives. Our culture, seemingly daily, continues to spin out of control, headlong into the deep, dark chasm of the culture of death.

Here is what our new ministry seeks to accomplish (from its Mission Statement): In gratitude to God, the author of life, we combine our efforts to protect all of His created life made in His image and likeness from conception to natural death. We pledge to further the joyful culture of life by our positive words and example. We will educate others on the beauty of life, the horror of abortion and the shining happiness that a chaste and virtuous life will bring. In this, our mission, we humbly ask the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and guidance, and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Gianna Molla.

I am also thrilled that 15 leading US bishops joined in signing an ecumenical "call to conscience" last week that not only decried the "impulse to redefine marriage," but likewise repented "as we have too easily embraced the culture of divorce." Released Friday at a Washington press conference, the "Manhattan Declaration" emerged from a group of 150 Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical leaders, ordained and lay alike. For its part, however, the American hierarchy was represented by a veritable A-list flank that included Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishops Donald Wuerl of Washington, Tim Dolan of New York, Charles Chaput of Denver, Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, John Myers of Newark, John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis, Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, and Bishops Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, David Zubik of Pittsburgh, and Richard Malone of Portland, who spearheaded Maine's successful repeal of a law allowing homosexual marriage. Among others, the prelates were joined by several leading lights of the Catholic right, including Ignatius Press chief Fr Joseph Fessio, First Things editor Joseph Bottum, papal biographer George Weigel and Fr Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute. Beyond its treatment of marriage, the signers pledged their energies to "to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion," to "not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent" and "to embrace our obligation to speak and act in defense of these truths."

I encourage, as heartily as I can, each of our parishioners to sign the Manhattan Declaration at their website and to continue to pray and fast for a renewal of the culture of life in our country and in our world; and to wholeheartedly support the efforts of the parish's St. Gianna Molla Ministry for Life!

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