Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Catholic San Francisco Article – October 4, 2013

October 2, 2013

 

Click to read Catholic San Francisco article by Valerie Schmalz.

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Gabriel Project parish ‘angels’ watch over troubled moms, families

April 18, 2012

By Lidia Wasowicz – Catholic San Francisco

A teen whose baby united a family that had pressed her  to  abort him,  a  young woman whose toddler returned  home from foster care just in time for Christmas, an  aban- doned new mom whose infant opened the door to a loving friendship – all believe the Gabriel Project “angels” who took them under their wing can work miracles.

For their part, volunteers in the nationwide, parish-based program named after the bearer of  the good news of Christ’s birth to Mary attest that making a difference in the lives of others has changed their own.

Many participants in  the  Gabriel Project retain close ties long after completing their official mission of bring- ing comfort, consolation  and care to troubled mothers- to-be during their pregnancy.

Click here to continue reading and view photos.

Archbishop’s Letter to Volunteers

April 7, 2012

Click Here

Building a Culture of Life via The Gabriel Project

April 7, 2012

by Fredi D’Alessio

 With the vast amount of attention that I have given to the issue of abortion over the past decade plus, I have never come across a ministry having anywhere’s near the potential of building a culture of life as does The Gabriel Project.

The very reason I became interested in The Gabriel Project was the fact that there was not (in my area) sufficient help for pregnant mothers. This observation goes back to Feb of 2003, when I began to reach out to pregnant mothers outside abortion facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had done research as to where I could refer them to obtain the assistance they needed. Certainly, I found organizations (few and far between) that would guide them to choose birth for their child rather than abortion, and over these many years, I had attempted to refer thousands of abortion minded mothers to those organizations.

But I knew that many mothers needed more help than what was available and that a Gabriel Project, which was modeled after those founded in Texas in 1990/91, could provide that necessary extended help.

Now that we have such a model functioning within the Archdiocese of San Francisco, The Gabriel Project has become my first resort when recommending help to abortion minded mothers.

It is most important for you to realize that the works of The Gabriel Project are not reserved for abortion minded mothers. The truth is, that over time, this parish-based ministry has the potential (and I believe, the promise) to build a culture of life and, in so doing, dramatically reduce the number of abortion minded mothers and fathers year after year.

A culture of life is not going to materialize if we focus exclusively or primarily on helping abortion minded parents. Everything we do for them is essential, but will not reduce the numbers of those who follow in their footsteps, unless we are also helping non-abortion minded parents.

I must also point out that non-abortion minded parents are not necessarily parents who will not abort a future unborn child. This is crucial to understand. While it may be difficult to understand, it must be accepted as fact; it’s simply the truth. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to help all pregnant mothers in need and, one by one person and family at time, build a culture of life. While at the same time, build a culture of life within our parishes and extended communities. Shouldn’t that be a goal for each and every one of us?

The presence of this ministry in a parish informs potential mothers of the help that will be available to them should they need it if one day they conceive a child – in some cases several years beforehand. The mind of a child reared in such a parish is formed to recognize the sanctity of the lives of other children still developing in the protection of their mothers’ wombs. What a wonderful gift for our children, especially considering the past decades of the culture of death.

We also serve any pregnant mother in need because we are Christians. The works of The Gabriel Project are as much pro-justice as they are pro-life.

Many pregnant mothers not only carry the blessing of new life, but also the burden of poverty.

The CCC states the following:

[2447] The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244

So I pose the question: Is God calling you to serve Him by serving your neighbor? Obviously, for authentic Christians, there is only one answer to that question.

In Pope Benedict’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth”, the Holy Father offers an exposition of the parable of The Good Samaritan. He says “The concrete question is who is meant by “neighbor”.

[Quote – emphasis mine]

And now the Samaritan enters the stage. What will he do? He does not ask how far his obligations of solidarity extend. Nor does he ask about merits required for eternal life. Something else happens: His heart is wrenched open. The Gospel uses the word that in Hebrew had originally referred to the mother’s womb and maternal care. Seeing this man in such a state is a blow that strikes him “viscerally”, touching his soul. “He had compassion” – that is how we translate the text today, diminishing its original vitality. Struck in his soul by the lightning flash of mercy, he himself now becomes a neighbor, heedless of any question or danger. The burden of the question thus shifts here. The issue is no longer which other person is a neighbor to me or not. The question is about me. I have to become the neighbor, and when I do, the other person counts for me “as myself”.

If the question had been “Is the Samaritan my neighbor, too?” the answer would have been a pretty clear-cut no given the situation at the time. But Jesus now turns the matter on its head: The Samaritan, the foreigner, makes himself the neighbor and shows me that I have to learn to be a neighbor deep within and that I already have the answer in myself. I have to become like someone in love, someone whose heart is open to being shaken up by another’s need. Then I find my neighbor. Or –better- then I am found by him.

[End quote]

So I pose another question: are you “a neighbor”?

Further on in his exposition the Holy Father says “Everyone is also called to become a Samaritan – to follow Christ and become like him. When we do that, we live rightly. We love rightly when we become like him, who loved all of us first.”

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Holy Bible RSV-CE Luke 10:29-37:

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GABRIEL PROJECT.

Parish ‘angels’ embrace struggling pregnant mom

September 29, 2011

By Lidia Wasowicz – Catholic San Francisco

On a cloudless Saturday afternoon, a host of “angels” at St. Hilary Church in Tiburon flutters around the hall, checking every detail on the balloon-festooned tables laden with savory sandwiches, salads and sweets and piled with festively wrapped baby gifts.

They want to ensure perfection at their first shower for their first “client” since last October’s launch of the parish’s Gabriel Project, which serves and supports the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of moms-to-be in distress.

When she finally appears, a half- hour late due to heavy East Bay traffic, they hover over her with hugs and hellos.

Overwhelmed by the attention and affection, the attractive and very pregnant young woman has no doubt her newfound mentors are heaven-sent.

“I don’t like to ask for help, but I didn’t even have to ask to get this blessing from God,” said a tearful and thankful Elizabeth Ver, 22.

Click here to continue reading and view photos.

Understanding The Gabriel Project

January 21, 2011

Those who think of The Gabriel Project only as a means of sparing already conceived children and their parents the horrors of abortion fail to fully understand this ministry.

An important attribute of this ministry is its significant potential to build the culture of life.  We must embrace ways of being proactive rather than only reactive and The Gabriel Project offers us a most marvelous way. The presence of this ministry in a parish informs potential mothers of the help that will be available to them should they need it if one day they conceive a child – in some cases several years beforehand. The mind of a child reared in such a parish is formed to recognize the sanctity of the lives of other children still developing in the protection of their mothers’ wombs.  What a wonderful gift for our children, especially considering the past 38 years of the culture of death.

This ministry gives us the opportunity not only to “be there” for pregnant mothers who are considering aborting their child, but also for pregnant mothers who never had the slightest temptation to consider such a horror – some of them because of their awareness of The Gabriel Project. And the more of the latter as years go by, the less there will be of the former. What good we can do if we choose to.

So let’s team up not only to help pregnant mothers who carry the blessing of new life and also, for many, the burden of poverty, but also to save our children. They are being bombarded by the false teachings of those who embrace the culture of death. They are being taught by their government, teachers and the likes of Planned Parenthood that the killing of innocent children in their mothers’ wombs is legal and a right. They have had, tens of millions (in America  alone) of their generation, along with their parents, suffer the horrors of abortion.

Isn’t it time for our community to adequately educate our children? Isn’t it time  for us to present – as clearly as possible – another message to our children? Isn’t it time for us to be emphatic and demonstrative about what we believe?

Fredi D’Alessio, program coordinator

A Person From Conception – Pope Benedict XVI on the embryo in the womb

November 29, 2010

With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception. [Pope Benedict XVI]

Protect, Love and Serve Life! Pope’s Homily at Vigil of Prayer for All Nascent Human Life

by Deacon Keith Fournier (Catholic Online)

The Vigil of Advent 2010 began in St. Peter’s Basilica with Pope Benedict XVI leading what was called a “Vigil of Prayer for All Nascent Human Life”. Catholics throughout the world gathered in their local Churches, as well as in homes, monasteries and religious houses all over the world. The global Vigil was requested by Pope Benedict XVI. It underscores the unqualified and unequivocal committment of the Catholic Church to the defense of every human life, from conception, throughout every age and stage, up to and including a natural death.

In his homily, Pope Benedict called the faithful to defend all human life, including embryonic human life. In fact,a human embryo is a human being, in development as we all are. The Pope noted that “there are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being”.

He cautioned against the growing “darkening of consciences” and proclaimed with clarity and conviction to the whole world that the child in the first home of the whole human race, his or her mothers womb, “has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought”.

The fathers of the Church referred to the Christian faith, and the sacraments of the church, as “the mysteries”. They are beyond words, inexhaustible in their depth of meaning, like a rich feast that never ends and a deep ocean of wonder into which we are invited to wade. We can never touch the bottom. The Incarnation is the very heart of the Mystery of the entire Christian Faith. The God, who made the whole universe and created man out of the dust of the earth, took on our humanity. He lived in the first home of every human person, His mothers womb.

Those first nine months of His life made every human pregnancy even more profoundly a “mystery”. There was a Redeemer in the womb of Mary! God was an embryonic human person, a “fetus”, and a child in the womb. In the light of this “mystery” every human pregnancy, every womb, every child in the womb, was forever elevated beyond the dignity it already possessed. Also, the extreme evil of abortion is made even more obvious and profane.This Redeemer in the womb, Jesus, began His saving work “in utero” and He identifies with every child in the womb.

We have a great theologian and man of deep faith in the Chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. We offer his entire homily for our global readers as we begin the first full week of Advent, preparing for the Nativity of the Lord. It is well worth prayerfully reflecting upon so that we can enter more fully into the mission of the Church, the defender of every human life.

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Homily of Pope Benedict XVI on the Vigil of Prayer for Nascent Human Life, Advent 2010

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this evening’s celebration, the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new liturgical year beginning with its first stage: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man.

This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and – in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary – expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

While our hearts reach out towards the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, the Church’s liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord in the splendour of glory. This is why we, in every Eucharist, “announce his death, proclaim his resurrection until he comes again” we hold vigil in prayer. The liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole Bible concludes, the last page of the Revelation of Saint John: “Come, Lord Jesus “(22:20).

Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages.

The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

Man has an unmistakable originality compared to all other living beings that inhabit the earth. He presents himself as a unique and singular entity, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as being composed of a material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in the spiritual dimension and the corporal dimension. This is also suggested in the text of the First letter to the Thessalonians which was just proclaimed: “May the God of peace himself – St. Paul writes – “make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ “(5:23).

Therefore, we are spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limits of our material condition, at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome Him in us. We operate in earthly realities and through them we can perceive the presence of God and seek Him, truth, goodness and absolute beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and we long for total fulfilment.

God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction, He calls us to friendship with him, He makes us part of a reality beyond all imagination, thought and word; His own divine life. With emotion and gratitude we acknowledge the value of the incomparable dignity of every human person and the great responsibility we have toward all. ” Christ, the final Adam, – says the Second Vatican Council – by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear…. by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. “(Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Believing in Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and reason show that the human being is a subject capable of discernment, self-conscious and free, unique and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly things, that must be recognized in his innate value and always accepted with respect and love. He has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests.

The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought. Love for all, if it is sincere, naturally tends to become a preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. In this vein we find the Church’s concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences. The Church continually reiterates what was declared by the Second Vatican Council against abortion and all violations of unborn life: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care ” (ibid., n. 51).

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation. The many violations of their rights that are committed in the world sorely hurt the conscience of every man of good will. Before the sad landscape of the injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make mine Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual:

“respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!”(Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5). I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.

To the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love, we entrust our commitment and prayer in favour of unborn life . We do in the liturgy – which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us – worshiping the divine Eucharist, we contemplate Christ’s body, that body who took flesh from Mary by the Holy Spirit, and from her was born in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

RELATED: A human embryo is a human person