Why should I create and/or be a part of a Pro-Life Committee at my parish?
There is a great need to protect life from conception to natural death in our country. The culture of death has penetrated to the very core of our Nation. Approximately 60.1 million unborn children have been killed by abortion in the United States since its legalization in 1973. Many people have become desensitized, misinformed, or not informed at all on the impact abortion has had on this nation. Additionally, Physician-Assisted Suicide has become legal in nine US States as well as the District of Columbia and it has only been narrowly defeated in Massachusetts. Creating a Parish Pro-Life Committees will raise the general consciousness of the people in the parish to:
- Respect life at all stages.
- Recognize the need to exert a genuine effort to help reverse the continuing trend towards the devaluation of human life.
- Increase engagement in pro-life activities to build up a Culture of Life.
- Address the needs of those in the parish community who need assistance during pregnancies including prenatal, birth, and postpartum needs.
- Address the need of those in the parish regards end of life support.
- Address the needs of those who may have chosen abortion in the past thus helping them to begin a healing process through Project Rachel with an atmosphere of love and compassion.
How to Create the Programs
Step 1: Solidify Your Mission*
A sample mission model your Parish Pro-Life Committee: The Pro-Life Committee of ___________ Parish will promote the respect for human life from fertilization to a natural death following the format found in the USCCB Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities https://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/
This mission should include both support and implementation of specific activities from:
- The Parish Community Level
- The Diocesan Level (See our contact info on the home page here)
- The National Level (https://www.nchla.org/)
Step 2: Define Your Plan*
This pastoral plan calls upon all the resources of the Church – its people, services, and institutions – to pursue this effort with renewed energy and commitment in four major areas.
- Public Information and Education to deepen understanding of the sanctity of human life and the humanity of unborn children, the moral evil of intentionally killing innocent human beings – whether at the beginning of life or at its end – and the mission of the Church to witness and to serve all human life.
- Pastoral Care of women with problems related to pregnancy; for all who have been involved in abortion; for those who are disabled, sick, and dying, and their families and caregivers; for those who have lost loved ones to violent crime; and for those in prison sentenced to death.
- Public Policy efforts directed to restoring legal protection to the lives of unborn children and those vulnerable to pressures to end their lives by assisted suicide, and to providing morally acceptable alternatives to abortion and assisted suicide.
- Prayer and Worship directed to participation in the sacramental life of the Church and in programs of communal and individual prayer, that the culture of death that surrounds us today will be replaced by a culture of life and love.
Step 3: Recruit Members of Your Committee
Sample Bulletin Announcements:
Sample 1: “Pro-Life Steering Committee” A Steering Committee is being formed for the purpose of establishing a Parish Pro-Life Committee. This Steering Committee will define such things as the goals, objectives, and operations of the parish Committee.
Sample 2: We need your input!! The Committee is scheduled to meet on “month/day/time”. By attending, you are not committing to join the formal Parish Pro-Life Committee, but we do need your ideas. Questions? Call ___________ or email _______________.
Step 4: Form a Steering Committee*
- Establish a Steering Committee in cooperation with your Pastor.
- Set a date and time for the first meeting.
- Put an announcement in the bulletin at least 2 to 3 weeks before (see attached announcement).
- Ask your priests to make announcements at all Masses.
- Invite the Pastor, Priests, and CCD Coordinator to the Steering Committee Meeting. (We strongly recommend the CCD Coordinator and/or School Principal to become a member of the Committee).
- Call anyone in the parish who has previously taken an active role in Pro-Life activities or who has expressed pro-life views.
- Invite anyone to give input.
- EMPHASIZE attending is not a commitment to join the formal Pro-Life Committee.
- Establish an ideal timetable for the formal Committee.
- Develop a format for the Pro-Life Committee.
- Define the goals and objectives of the Committee.
- Discuss how it might operate.
- Develop a plan of action and timetable.
- Schedule the first formal meeting and develop the agenda.
- Invite those present who may be interested in being a member of the formal Committee. (No more than 12 suggested).
Step 5: Host your first Pro-Life Committee Meeting
- Develop final format and how Committee will operate.
- Discuss possible activities to start with.
- Choose one activity to start with.
- If possible, try to maintain activity each month.
- Choose a Recording Secretary as a minimum.
- Define a day and time for meetings each month.
- Keep a list of members updated with name, address, email, and phone number and send on parish stationery, to Irina De Lucca, Diocesan Director, Pro-Life Apostolate, 450 Highland Avenue – PO Box 2577, Fall River, MA 02722-2577. (Pastors must sign and approve list).
- Keep a record of all parishioners who participate in Pro-Life activities. (Do a lot of your notifying by personal phone calling).
A Prayer For Joy in Ministry
Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Help us to celebrate our joy in the resurrection of the Lord and to express in our lives the love we celebrate.
Help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.