Monday, October 25, 2010

The Work Done by one of the Respect Life Ministries in Hawaii

Cherish Life Bracelet

The following article was written by Mary Smart. Mary is the co-coordinator for the Respect Life Committee at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Respect Life Committee is just one of the Respect Life ministries in the Diocese of Honolulu that is working hard to educate Hawaii residents on the right to life of all human beings, from conception to natural death.
St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Mililani Respect Life Committee turned one year old in March 2010. The fledgling group has been very busy and always welcoming new members. The Pastor, Father Manuel A. Hewe attended nearly every meeting since the committee’s inception and has encouraged members to bring the redeeming gospel of life to Church members.
Divine Mercy Sunday

The kick-off event was to assist the parish Knights of Columbus in during the April 19 2009 Divine Mercy Sunday events. The committee members participated in the Service and provided informative brochures for attendees and especially focused on those who may have been involved in abortion and were seeking forgiveness during this powerful feast day.

May 30th many members of the Committee spent the day participating in a Theology of the Body seminar given by Christopher West, who explained so beautifully why the Catholic Church values the body and its unique role in creation of human life. Music was provided during the sessions by Mike Mangione. On May 31 members were invited to participate in the 1,000,000 Rosaries for Life campaign to change the hearts and minds of our pro-abortion legislators and President.

"Nine Days for Life," a novena, to began on June 2, with meditations on the Eucharist in
preparation for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on June 11 . The novena can be prayed after daily Masses or individually and among families.
Father's Day Enrichment
Knights of Columbus Memorial for the Unborn

The parish invited everyone in Honolulu diocese to attend a Father’s Day Enrichment session given by Deacon Kin Borja, highlighting the special role of fathers in parenting the next generation. An article we wrote regarding the event was placed in the Catholic Herald and E-newsletter. On the feast day of Mary’s first apparition at Fatima, May 13, the Respect Life Committee assisted the Knights of Columbus in dedicating a memorial to the unborn which has a prominent location fronting the parish parking lot, very near the entrance of the Church. Prior to the event, an article in the Church bulletin detailed the development of the baby during the 40 week pregnancy to inform parishioners regarding the completeness of the very recently conceived child in the womb.
The parish's respect life banner
To give the Ministry visibility and recognition, the members developed a unique Respect Life Banner with the St. John’s motto: Choose to Cherish Life. The banner is displayed at Church at various times and carried during processions and marches to proclaim our Pro-Life position.
NFP Class

During July, August and September, the parish hosted Natural Family Planning training to help families plan their families in accordance with Catholic teaching and God’s will. The scheduling was in recognition of the anniversary of the publishing of the Encyclical “Humane Vitae”. The Committee plans to make this an annual event at the parish.

Members participated, two 40 day for Life experiences, Natural Family Planning, Married and Loving It (co-sponsor), full page bulletin articles during each week of October. On the anniversary of Mary’s final appearance at Fatima, a group attended the Rosary commemoration at Thomas Square.

In September some Respect Life Committee members participated in a Rachel’s Vineyard training session to better help them mentor women who have been hurt by abortion.

On October 10 the Respect Life Committee participated in a Novena in anticipation of the canonization of St. Damien.
Rosary Procession for Life

During the month of October we had a pro-life article in the bulletin and an information table set up every week to spread the awareness of the dangers when chastity isn’t practiced and abortion is a selected to eliminate the consequences of one’s actions. On 18 October the Respect Life Committee coordinated a Rosary procession through the Mililani neighborhood.

Dinner Featuring Speaker Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life

Father Pavone of Priests for Life participated in many events and the Respect Life Committee extended invitation to parishioners to attend several pro-life functions. One was the kick-off for 40 Days for Life where Father Pavone was the key Speaker. The parish had a group that prayed and held banners once a week in front of Planned Parenthood. The protest group that holds “Pray to End Abortion” and other non-violent petitions while praying is small but growing. After the fall 40 Days for Life campaign, two additional members joined the group for the Spring campaign.
CAN Workshop

In November the Parish became active in Catholic Action Seminars to train our parishioners the importance of participating in the political process. Several members of the Respect Life Committee attended presentations at Our Lady of Good Counsel and Blessed Sacrament Churches. The parish set up a local Community Action Network (CAN) beginning in December after Respect Life Committee members gave a presentation after every Mass. CAN members participated in opposing the health care reform measures that force tax payer to pay for abortions and deny medical personnel conscience protections.

The Committee designed and sold Respect Life T-Shirts for parishioners to wear to the January 22, 2010 March for Life at the Capitol Building. The prominent design made it very easy to identify a member when it was time for the buses to leave.

Co-coordinator Melissa Crisostomo her husband Roland
wearing the Cherish Life T-Shirts at the Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii March for Life

Parishioners filled two buses. Most participants were wearing their parish Respect Life t-shirts and were easily recognized.

On the feast of the Annunciation, the parish began a Spiritual Adoption campaign. Members of the parish were invited to spiritually adopt a baby who may be endanger of an abortion. Participants named the baby and say a short prayer every day. The event was scheduled to coincide with the pregnancy of Mary, Mother of Jesus. We will follow the development of the “adopted” baby in monthly intervals to help our Church members realize that the child in the womb is just a human and just as real as children in their arms and certainly as precious. Participants were given a blue wrist band with “I Cherish Life” embossed on it. The campaign will end just before Christmas. We hope to have a “Baby Shower” for the Pregnancy Problem Center in Pearl City at the end of the campaign. The parish donates to the Pregnancy Problem Center and two parishioners volunteer or are members of the Board of Directors.

With this being an election year, Committee members are planning more events to ensure that Catholic voters are aware of candidate’s positions on moral issues prior to casting their vote. Members of the Committee are committed to making a difference in the community. They attended Hawaii Women Coalition Meetings to speak up against the unjust law that will force medical professionals to participate in abortion procedures against their conscience (Senate Bill 604). Members of the Coalition which included representatives from Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and others, did not want anyone who had a pro-life perspective to attend. We are involved in political caucuses, political party platform development, and party conventions to ensure our Catholic values are included. It has become apparent that the values we treasure most, life and traditional marriage are too politically charged for the parties to address directly. We need candidates who have the moral courage to stand up for Catholic virtue to run for office and give the voters a choice that we can respect. It is imperative that we encourage our friends and neighbors who will respect the life of the unborn, handicapped and the elderly and who will protect marriage as a union between one man and one women to run for political office. We are turning our culture over to men and women who do not affirm those principles.

Photos by Melissa Crisostomo

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