Pro-Life Office

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Guidelines for Parish Pro Life Committees

Pro Life Office - Archdiocese of Boston

After meeting with your pastor and gaining his support for a parish Pro Life/Respect Life Committee, an excellent starting point is the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life published by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. http://www.usccb.org/prolife/pastoralplan.shtml This document provides the foundation, goals and objectives for parish pro-life efforts.  The bishops write:

We issue this Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life to put forth “ a precise and vigorous reaffirmation of the value of human life and its inviolability, and at the same time a pressing appeal addressed to each and every person, in the name of God: respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life” (The Gospel of Life, n. 5)

The plan focuses a parish’s pro-life activities into four specific areas: Public Information and Education, Pastoral Care, Public Policy, and Prayer and Worship. Following are some suggested activities for each area with specific reference to the Archdiocese of Boston:

I. Public Information Education

  • Sponsor adult education programs – literature, speakers and DVDs available at the Pro Life Office. We especially recommend a 10 minute DVD narrated by Cardinal Sean entitled The Gospel of Life: Making the Choice to Love (available in English and Spanish). Members of Boston Deacons for Life are available to speak at parish pro-life events.
  • Advertise the services of Pregnancy Help and Project Rachel
  • Distribute educational materials available from the Pro Life Office.
  • Work with the DRE and CCD teachers to incorporate the pro-life ethic throughout the religious education curriculum. Contact the Respect Life Education Office (617-746-5864) for assistance. 
  • During October, Respect Life Month, plan a parish educational program and liturgy using materials from the USCCB Respect Life program that are provided by the Pro Life Office to every parish.

II. Pastoral Care

  • Assist and support crisis pregnancy counseling centers such as our Archdiocesan Pregnancy Help office. Your participation as a parish group at the Respect Life Walk to Aid Mothers and Children sponsored by Massachusetts Citizens for Life is a valuable way of highlighting public attention on the services offered by crisis pregnancy centers.
  • Participate in the Archdiocesan Parish Baby Shower Program to collect baby items to collect baby items to help support the clients of the Pregnancy Help Office.
  • Advertise the services of Project Rachel in your parish bulletin to support efforts to reach out with God’s love and mercy to post-abortion women and men.
  • Support and encourage local efforts to provide transitional housing for young women and their babies.
  • Support and assist hospice programs as well as efforts to reach out to those suffering from AIDS.

III. Public Policy 

  • Participate in vital public policy efforts such as the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) postcard campaign endorsed by the USCCB.
  • Take your responsibility as a citizen seriously.  Pro-life legislative efforts at both the state and national level also require active and enthusiastic support.  Actively inform elected officials at both the state and national level of your pro-life perspective.
  • Watch the media for misrepresentation of/or biased presentation of pro-life perspectives. 
  • Write letters to newspapers on pro-life issues.
  • Consult the website of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference http://www.macathconf.org/ for state and local public policy debates.

IV. Prayer and Intercession

  • Include a prayer for life at every parish-planning meeting.
  • Participate in the annual Archdiocesan Holy Hour for Life on January 21 to pray for an end to abortion and the protection of all human life.
  • Celebration of the Eucharist, Rosary for Life, Stations of the Cross for Life or other prayer services.
  • Attend the Annual Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral.
  • Ecumenical prayer service
  • Fasting
  • Prayer service and blessing of expectant parents.
  • Include prayers from the Word of Life Series in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass.

A Prayer for Life
Lord God, Father of all life, we praise and honor you.  We thank you for the gift of life that in your great love you have graciously bestowed on us.
Gather the Church of Boston to yourself so that we might be transformed by Your Light.
Strengthen us that we may be willing always to speak and to act on behalf of the sacredness of all life.  Guide and inspire us by the Holy Spirit with wisdom, mercy, love and patient endurance.
United with Mary our Mother, all the angels and saints, we ask you to bring about conversion in all whose acts and policies lead to the destruction of life.
We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

The suggestions listed above should not in any way limit your own creativity or your adjustments for individual parish circumstances.  Please keep us informed of your activities in order that we might be a source of encouragement for each other.

Pro Life Office - Archdiocese of Boston
5 Wilson St.
Natick, MA 01760
508-651-1900 or ProlifeOffice@rcab.org