Issue 57
December 2015
A Brief Content Of What Is In This Issue
May the Joy of the Christmas Season remain in your heart always. Wishing peace and joy for a happy and peaceful New Year,
The Respect Life Office 

Celebrating Advent

The Advent season is a time of preparation directing our hearts and minds to Christ's second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord's birth on Christmas. Below is a list of things you can do to make Advent a wonderful time for all in your family or parish.

  • Blessing Of An Advent Wreath - The use of the Advent Wreath is a traditional practice which has found its place in the Church as well as in the home. The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent. 
  • Blessing Of A Christmas Tree - Christmas light or candle that symbolized Christ, the Light of the world. According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the Solemnity of Epiphany. 
Life Issues Forum: Gratitude
By Kimberly Baker

In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis continually emphasizes the theme of gratitude, reminding us that gratitude is critical to our relationship with the natural world and our fellow human beings. Gratitude enables us to see the interconnectedness of all created things and the sacredness of human life, because all are gifts from God.
Simply put, gratitude is the natural response to a gift. Gratitude arises when we receive something that has been freely given to us, or something positive that has been done for us. When we consider the beauty of the natural world and the preciousness of human life, it's important to recognize them as gifts from God. In this way we cultivate a sense of respect for all created things, beginning with the human beings created in the very image and likeness of God - thereby building up a culture of life at all levels. Read more
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.  LK 1:26-38
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
Merciful Like the Father
December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016


Pope Francis has called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on December 8,
"With the approach of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy I would like to focus on several points which I believe require attention to enable the celebration of the Holy Year to be for all believers a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God. It is indeed my wish that the Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective." - Letter from Pope Francis to Archbishop Rino Fisichella

 As we enter into this Year of Mercy, let us show to others the mercy that God has shown on us so that our actions can authentically reflect God's mercy.
Below are a  few different ways that you can live out that mercy every day!


Come to Washington, D.C. for the 43nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Join us to witness to life.
"The birth of every child changes the world; let every child be born for a better world". 

For more information visit or to download map of meeting place visit our website

For years we have asked Congress to reform current federal laws on conscience rights, especially to protect individual and institutional health care providers who object to abortion. Current laws like the Weldon amendment are legally vulnerable and seldom enforced; they have been found to have loopholes limiting their effectiveness, and they lack a "right of action" allowing victims of discrimination to defend their rights in court.
For many years our flagship proposal for solving these problems has been the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA). Recently it has been combined with provisions on the HHS contraceptive mandate, to create the "Health Care Conscience Rights Act" (HCCRA) (HR 940, S. 1919).  HCCRA is now part of the House of Representatives' Labor/HHS appropriations bill for the coming year. 
HCCRA has strong support in the House, but its provisions on contraception have been strongly opposed in the Senate and by the White House.  The Supreme Court has also partly addressed the HHS mandate in its Hobby Lobby case, and takes up seven new cases about it in its new term.
Therefore, as we approach the December 11 deadline for Congress to agree on a "must pass" year-end spending bill, we have decided to focus at present on ANDA.  Americans' right to object to involvement in abortion has long enjoyed broad support, and President Obama has said several times that he supports federal laws protecting this right. More information

Please click here to take action.

Thank you for taking time today to speak out in defense of life and liberty. Together we will be heard!


Several bills have been introduced in the New York State legislature to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. Send a message to the Governor and your elected representatives now to let them know that directly causing death is not an acceptable answer to terminal illness, aging or disability. 

In early August, the United States Senate was unsuccessful in efforts to withhold federal funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. and affiliates, due to the organ harvesting scandal recently brought to light.

Legislation that would expand late-term abortion in New York has now passed the Assembly (A.6221/S.4432). It would allow third-trimester abortions for any reason and allow non-doctors to perform abortions.

In the Spotlight
Every Life Is Worth Living: A Perfect Gift
Respect Life Program 2015 Articles

Our son Charlie* was born with Down syndrome in 2007. My training as a developmental psychologist had focused on the deficits faced by people with disabilities and how to deal with those challenges. But I soon found that it was of limited use for understanding my own son. He certainly has challenges that come with his diagnosis, but they make up only a small part of life with our wonderful little boy. 

Soon after Charlie's birth, a visitor to our home asked, "So, is he mild, moderate, or severe?" She was referring to his level of cognitive impairment. I was very familiar with her terminology, but the question shocked me. In my arms, I held my beautiful baby boy, who defied easy categorization. Clinical labels may describe some aspects of an individual's "functioning," but they don't tell the whole story. Labels could not describe how Charlie's smile lit up a room or how the sweetness of his soul had captured our hearts so completely. 

I have since come to understand that clinical categories also miss another important dimension of personhood: we are created to be in relationship with others. As Pope Saint John Paul II said in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), "Within the family each member is accepted, respected and honoured precisely because he or she is a person; and if any family member is in greater need, the care which he or she receives is all the more intense and attentive." Seen through this more complete lens, Charlie is very "high functioning" within our family. He does well because we love him and


Post-Abortion Retreats

Prayer and Healing Retreats, help those suffering the effects of abortion. We offer a safe place, a way out of the pain, in a non-judgmental atmosphere. All retreats are
 led by the Sisters of Life and women who have experienced both the suffering of abortion and the joy of healing in Christ. For more information visit our website

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion... do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope...the Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation."
 (Evangelium Vitae no. 99, John Paul II)

Project Rachel Hope After Abortion website or call the Respect Life Office's confidential hotline: 1-888-456-HOPE (se habla espanol) to begin healing after abortion loss.

  • Bulletin Insert
  • Project Rachel Prayer - Printable Prayer 8.5 x 11Printable Prayer Card
  • A Prayer To Our Lady Of Guadalupe (En Español)
  • Post Abortion book-list resource
  • Respect Life Blog: My Thoughts Project Rachel (Español)

  • Book Resources
    • Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, by Sarah Erdreich
    • Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, by Katha Pollitt
    • Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation by David A. Grimes M.D. with Linda G. Brandon
    Prayers and Blessings 

    Upcoming Events

    Join in Prayer across America to seek
    The LORD'S MERCY and restore

    DECEMBER 8/9, 2015
    9PM Tuesday to 1 AM Wednesday

    Spiritual Adoption Program

    The Purpose of the Spiritual Adoption Program is threefold:

    • Encourage parishes, schools and other communities to pray for babies in danger of abortion.
    • Educate adults and children about the development of the pre-born child.
    • Provide mothers in need with assistance at a 'baby shower' of donated baby gifts, or simply celebrate with a 'birthday party' at the conclusion of the program. In some schools a crib was bought with monetary gifts and the children filled a crib with gifts for expectant Mothers.

    This is done by encouraging people to "spiritually adopt" an unborn baby, and to follow their baby along the path to being born. read more


    Word of Life Palabra de Vida 

        English                                Español 


    Liturgical Prayers for Life 


    Including a Prayer for a Mother Before Childbirth and Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for an Expectant Mother 


    "Blessing for a Child in the Womb" to buy (click here)

    Please include these in your Sunday Bulletin.   



    Allison O'Brien, Director
    S. Elizabeth A. Geraghty, CSJ Project Rachel Ministry Coordinator
    Diana Tellis, Ministry/Dept. Assistant

    Ashley Foster, Media Specialist




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    Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    And coming to her, he said,
    "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." 
    Luke 1:28
    Jubilee Year Of Mercy
    Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee 



    Christmas Eve
    You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
    Christmas - The Nativity of the Lord 
    Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel, 
    which means "God is with us."
    Matthew 1:23

    Bulletin Inserts - For Parish Respect Life


    Further Bulletin Inserts 

     For more Bulletin Inserts visit our website

    Please add these to your bulletin announcements. 


    Gabriel's Courage Information for Bulletin Announcements
    If you would like more information on Gabriel's Courage visit our website,

    Now and at the Hour of Our DeathCatholic Guidance for End-of-Life Decision MakingBulletin Announcements
    For more information on Now and at the Hour of Our Death Catholic Guidance for End-of-Life Decision Making visit or 

    Suggested Winter Reading 

    From The Respect Life Office 


    Stay cozy indoors and read a great book with our 

    recommended list for winter reading. 

    View List