Friday, January 21, 2011

Pro Life Message

May the Lord give you His peace!

Recently while spending sometime with a youth group in the area, at a break in the conversation that we were having about facebook, cell phones, and the like, I asked an open ended question which provided a moving answer. “In a word, how would you describe young people today?” Busy, distracted, and bored, were among the highlights and when I thought they were done giving me their thoughts, a quiet young man mumbled, “in a word - ALONE.” Perhaps an answer worth reflecting on.

The pro-life apostolate is significant in the life of our community. Our outreach takes on many forms, but the main focus is prayer and counseling at abortion mills in the cities in which we reside. Living in Newark, NJ, I pray and counsel with three other friars on Saturday mornings in a small town close to our friary. The foundation of our apostolate is prayer as we stand across the street from the women’s choices clinic and pray for women and their babies, and also those who accompany them in their decision. In addition, brothers get the opportunity to counsel women as they are approaching the clinic, hoping to provide a presence of hope and a word of encouragement or challenge before they enter. A few weeks ago, there was a young couple who pulled into the parking lot, and as the young women got out of the car, she noticed that her boyfriend was not willing to go inside with her. As she stood standing all alone, tears falling down her face, my heart was moved with compassion for her. As she was pulling herself together our eyes met and a prayer lifted from my heart and in my gaze back to her I longed to tell her that she was not alone, there were people that cared for her and her child and that God loved her so much and would provide all that she needed to say yes to the life of her child. So many women who find themselves in this similar situation feel hopeless and alone, and they feel like there is not other option than getting an abortion. It seems like the easiest, quickest, and simplest option to take care of their difficult situation... They are afraid, confused, and alone. There is unlikely any support from their spouse or friends, and no life giving encouragement from the doctors or nurses inside. The mask they wear is one that seems harsh, tough, and even portrays confidence in their purpose for being there, but deep down we see and experience someone who is hopeless and alone.

This coming weekend is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and also the annual March For Life in Washington D.C. What an incredible event for people of all ages to gather together to pray and to witness to the dignity of every human person. To proclaim to our nation and those who are challenged with this decision before them, that they are not alone, there are people who care, and a merciful God who wants to abundantly bless them and provide for them. To participate in the pro life apostolate has been a tremendous challenge but a true blessing. God is calling us and all of you to be truly present to those who think they are alone, to bear witness to the mercy, hope and love of Jesus. To those who suffer from abortion and are struggling with the decision to choose life, you are not alone! This message of hope is definitely worth marching for, and most importantly worth living for.

    Check it out ...
Pro-Life Rally with the Friars!
Sunday, January 22, 2011, St. Bernadette Church, Silversprings, MD, 6:30-10:30 pm

onemoresoul.com - great resource
Must read article (and video) about abortionist in Philadelphia
TruthBooth.org - very good

Website of Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe
of Roe v. Wade found here

May the Lord bless you,Br. Angelus Immaculata, CFR 
Saint Joseph Friary
523 W. 142nd St.
New York, NY 10031

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Old and New - Good and Bad - Past and Future

January 1st is a great day to pray. It is a day when we naturally look back on the past year. Isn't it always the case that the year was filled with good and bad? The two often mix together like the parable of the weeds and wheat (see Matthew 13:24-30). With Holy Job we accept both in faith (see Job 2:10). It is tempting to interpret bad things in a shallow over-simplistic way, thinking that somehow God is punishing us. Jesus clarified this way of thinking in Luke 13:1-5. He made reference to two events in which people suffered tragic deaths. He went on to say that it is wrong to think that they were bigger sinners than the rest of us!

In this past year I said hello to a new niece who was born in June. I said goodbye to my beloved grandfather who went to his eternal reward on June 19, the baby's due date. Thankfully baby Greta was born a few weeks earlier so they were able to meet each other! We pray that we will all be together forever in heaven, please God. While we are still here, let us make good use of the time that is given us.

January 1st is a great day to pray. It is a day when we naturally look forward to the coming year. Let us pray that this year will find us filled with greater faith, hope and love. May the newborn baby Jesus be born anew in our hearts this year!
Fr. Luke baptizes his niece Greta Ann.

Let us pray,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, Harlem, NY