Respecting Life

Offer A Prayer for Pregnant Mothers

O Blessed Mother, you received the good news of the incarnation of Christ, your Son, with faith and trust. Grant your protection to all pregnant mothers facing difficulties.
Guide us as we strive to make our parish communities places of welcome and assistance for mothers in need. Help us become instruments of God’s love and compassion.
Mary, Mother of the Church, graciously help us build a culture of life and a civilization of love, together with all people of good will, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.* Amen.
 *Cf. Evangelium vitae 105 © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City. Adapted with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2019, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

Be knowledgeable:  Another look at abortion

Be supportive:  Ten ways to support her when she’s unexpectedly expecting

9 Days for LIFE 

A Novena for Life - for the Unborn.

Pray with us in Hawaii, Jan. 12 - 20, for an end to the evils of abortion.  Each day we raise our voices to God to praise His Glory and the precious gift of life he bestows upon us.  Help us to appreciate that gift and to honor and cherish life from conception to natural death.  Join Bishop Larry Silva for the Closing Mass at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus on Jan. 20 at 7 PM followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Equality Begins in the Womb

January 13 - Day One: May the tragic practice of abortion end.
O Lord show us that at every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love. Help us to remember that the presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging situation never diminishes the value of a human life. God, our Father you do not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace our own lives and the lives of others as true gifts.  Guide our understanding, that abortion tragically rejects the truth that every life is a good and perfect gift, deserving protection. Lead us to understand that this violent practice ends the life of a human being at its very beginning and horribly wounds all those involved. Resolve us to remember, that Christ came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10), taking on human flesh for the sake of our redemption. May our culture experience the power of God’s transforming love, that all eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of every human life.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
January 13 - Day Two: May all unborn children be protected in law and welcomed in love.
On the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, be with us as we mourn the many children’s lives ended by abortion and remember in prayer those who suffer its aftermath. As Church, we come together to pray for the protection of all unborn children and to make reparation for abortion, trusting that the Lord hears our prayers. Draw us to the importance of prayer as reflected in Evangelium vitae, which says, “A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer” (EV 100). May that prayer arise in our hearts today and each day forward until every human being is protected in law and welcomed in love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
January 14 - Day Three: May every expectant mother receive compassionate care and support as she nurtures the life in her womb.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she opened her heart to receive his message that she would conceive the Son of God in her womb. As a young, betrothed, but unmarried, woman, Mary knew that her pregnancy presented many challenges. Despite this knowledge, she faithfully responded, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Like the Blessed Mother, women who unexpectedly become pregnant often face significant challenges. They, too, are called to place their trust in God and faithfully respond to His gift of new life. Help us to walk with them in their time of need. As Jesus taught us, when we love and serve others, we are loving and serving Him. May all expectant mothers be encouraged by Mary’s example and receive support and grace in lovingly welcoming their children into the world.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
January 15 - Day Four: May expectant fathers lovingly support the mothers of their children in welcoming new life.
Fatherhood has its origins in God, who chose to reveal Himself to us as Our Father, sending his only Son for the sake of our salvation. As the Gospel shows us, Fathers have a special role “in revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God” (Familiaris consortio 25). Fathers are called to exhibit “generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother” (FC 25).  Jesus’ disciples (each of us) are consistently and uniquely entrusted with the protection and defense of both mother and child and, in this way, in safeguarding the sanctity of human life. As evidenced in our world today, the role of the father “is of unique and irreplaceable importance” (FC 25). Often women choose abortion because they do not have the support of the child’s father, or—even worse—the father of the child pressures her to make the decision to abort. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge with compassion that men can also be overwhelmed by an unexpected pregnancy and that society increasingly tells them that they should have no say in their children’s lives. In the face of these false messages, we pray that expectant fathers will find courage in the example of Saint Joseph—who embraced the role of father amid difficult circumstances—and offer loving, life-affirming support to the mothers of their children. We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
January 16 - Day Five: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.
If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential, compassionate help is available. After more than four decades of legalized abortion, many children’s lives have ended, and many parents and family members suffer that loss—often in silence. Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed from His side, He tells us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.” Be assured that it is never too late to seek God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. After repenting of sinning against his father, he returns from far away to seek forgiveness and work as a servant. But the father sees him approaching, runs to warmly embrace him, and hosts a banquet to celebrate his return. So, too, does God welcome all of His repentant children, no matter how serious the sin. Let us turn confidently to Our Lord, Who is love and mercy. We ask this through Christ our Lord, amen.
January 17 - Day Six: May expectant mothers choosing adoption receive grace and support in embracing this loving option.
Help us to recognize thatMothers placing their children for adoption often face many challenges along the way. One of the greatest obstacles can be inaccurately perceiving adoption as abandonment. But mothers who make an adoption plan for their children are not abandoning their children. Rather, they are exemplifying the sacrificial love of Christ on the Cross in choosing to do what is best for their children, even at great cost to themselves. Like Christ, they pour out their bodies and souls for the sake of another. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that, in the face of fears and trials, we can “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). We pray that each expectant mother choosing adoption will be filled with “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7) as she makes a loving choice for her child. Let us all cling fast to the anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15).
January 18 - Day Seven: May all who support or participate in abortion experience a conversion of heart to seek and receive the Lord’s boundless mercy.
When God fashioned the human person in His own image and likeness, He destined us for eternal life with Him. Yet because of the sin of our first parents, death entered the world. The book of Genesis recounts the first occasion in which a person takes the life of another, as Cain violently kills his brother Abel. This instance of brother rising up against brother “at the very dawn of history is thus a sad witness of how evil spreads with amazing speed” (Evangelium vitae 8). From the time of creation, disregard for human life has continued to spread. When we, like Cain, allow sin to find a place in our hearts, we become blinded to the truth. Sometimes this blindness might be so deep that we fail to recognize the undeniable humanity of unborn children. We may even tragically believe the lie that abortion is an act of compassion. But we know that “life, especially human life, belongs only to God: for this reason whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself” (EV 9). Let us pray that all who support abortion will encounter the transforming love of the Father and, with repentant hearts, seek His mercy.
January 19 - Day Eight: May civic leaders work for the protection of all human life, in every stage and circumstance. 
The Declaration of Independence boldly affirms that first among our inalienable rights is the right to life, given to us by the Creator. Yet despite being so solemnly proclaimed, the right to life is today threatened and often denied, particularly at the moments when life is most fragile. Our laws should—first and foremost—protect life. But “our highest Court does not recognize children in their mothers’ wombs as persons and claims that abortion is a constitutional right. Further, many political leaders work actively to increase access to abortion. Some falsely describe it as health care and even as a basic human right” (Priorities at the Polls). Laws and policies that legalize or promote an intrinsic evil like abortion violate the virtue of justice. Those who work as public officials and civic leaders have a duty to serve the common good, and therefore have a profound obligation to safeguard this most fundamental right to life. Through our own prayer, witness, and civic participation, we can encourage our leaders to truly answer their call to protect the rights of all people. For “there can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his or her rights” (Evangelium vitae 101).
January 20 - Day Nine: May all who defend life find strength and renewal in the Holy Spirit.
God has carefully, tenderly created every person in His own image and likeness, to be in a loving relationship with Himself. From each tiny child knit within a mother’s womb, to every person approaching death, all are loved perfectly and completely by God: “It is therefore a service of love which we are all committed to ensure to our neighbor, that his or her life may be always defended and promoted, especially when it is weak or threatened [emphasis added]” (Evangelium vitae 77). In a world in which those who are most vulnerable are so often overlooked and disregarded, Christ calls us to embrace and uphold the unconditional dignity of every human life. In answering this call, we help to build “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love” (EV 77). May the Holy Spirit continually renew us as we strive to faithfully defend God’s gift of life.
 

Reprinted with permission:  Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), nos. 8-9, 77, 100-101 © 1995 and Familiaris consortio (On the Family), no. 25 © 1981, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved. NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Priorities at the Polls,Washington, DC: USCCB, 2020.Copyright © 2020, USCCB, Washington D.C.

 

Join the US Catholic Bishops online between Jan. 19 and 27 and pray the Novena for the Unborn.  Sign up to participate here:  9-days-for-life Novena.

Pope Francis shares that though the lights of Christmas seem to be dimmed by the consequences and restrictions of the pandemic, we are not to lose hope. The feast of the Birth of Christ is not out of touch with the trials we are going through.  It is a feast of compassion, tenderness, humility and human warmth.  The Spirit of Christmas shines through in the sharing of small gestures of concrete love.  "It is not alienating; it is not superficial or escapist. On the contrary, it broadens the heart, opens it to gratuitousness, to the gift of self, and can also generate cultural, social and educational dynamics."
(https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-11/pope-francis-discourse-participants-christmas-contest-2022.html)
 
Pope Saint John Paul II, in his encyclical EVANGELIUM VITAE  writes
The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as "good news" to the people of every age and culture.
At the dawn of salvation, it is the Birth of a Child which is proclaimed as joyful news: "I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:10-11). The source of this "great joy" is the Birth of the Saviour; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the Birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfilment of joy at every child born into the world (cf. Jn 16:21).
When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10). In truth, he is referring to that "new" and "eternal" life which consists in communion with the Father, to which every person is freely called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying Spirit. It is precisely in this "life" that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their full significance.
https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html
 
So what can we, as individuals and as a parish, do to demonstrate that we are committed to working and praying for the conversion of minds and hearts so all people will respect the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death?
 
As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we recall that God’s only Son, Jesus, came to Earth and gave His life so that we may live, we can allow His actions and His words to remind us that service to others is central to our lives and that sacrifice and unconditional love must guide us and inspire us to lead lives of compassion, mercy, and justice.
 
The true spirit of Christmas reflects a dedication to helping those in need, to giving hope to those in despair, and to spreading peace and understanding throughout the Earth. As we share love and enjoy the traditions of this holiday.
 
As we strive to live as Christ and welcome the stranger among us:
 
As we welcome Christ to be born again in our hearts, we can stand with Pope Francis, who reminds us that killing a child is never a solution to a problem. We can advocate for surrounding both mother and her child with love and practical support.  We can get involved with and support organizations that assist:
 
It is our nation’s sacred interest to protect the life and health of both mothers and their unborn children.  We can contact our state and federal representatives and let them know how we feel about life issues.
 
As we consider Christ’s parents on earth, we are reminded of our own kupuna and their needs:
  • we can offer them patience and love and understanding
  • we can support and volunteer with organizations that offer senior care

 

This Christmas, may we give thanks for the blessings God has granted in each of our lives. May the joy of the holidays renew our commitment to working together for a future of peace, opportunity, and hope.  What a hurting world needs to hear, now more than ever: 

Rejoice, for the Savior is come!

 

 

 

 Isaiah 58 Let the Oppressed Go Free - with permission Timothy Schmalz

Isaiah 58:  Let the Oppressed Go Free   with permission Timothy Schmalz*  http://sculpturebytps.com
Sculptor, Timothy Schmalz has created many meaningful, stirring, often controversial, always thought provoking works of art to engage and challenge.  As a Christian artist, his works also evangelize.  Perhaps you are familiar with Homeless Jesus or Angels Unawares residing at the Vatican.
In this piece, Let the Oppressed Go Free, we see St. Bakhita, who is a slave from another century, opening up the ground and letting the modern-day slaves free.  As long as human trafficking remains an underground subject - seemingly nobody really wants to face up to it - it will not go away.  St. Bakhita is bringing the issue, and the victims, into the open.  Can we not do the same?

A Prayer to End Trafficking

(From USCCB handout for World Day of Peace 2015)
Loving Father,
We seek your divine protection for all who are exploited and enslaved.
For those forced into labor, trafficked into sexual slavery, and denied freedom.
We beseech you to release them from their chains.
Grant them protection, safety, and empowerment.
Restore their dignity and provide them a new beginning.
Show us how we might end exploitation by addressing its causes.
Help us reach out in support of victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Make us instruments of your spirit for their liberation.
For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

 So what is human trafficking and what can we do about it?

The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as the “illegal trade of humans for exploitation or commercial gain.” Exploitation often means forcing victims into prostitution or slavery. It is estimated that 75% or more of human trafficking is for sex.  People are vulnerable for many reasons:  war, poverty, or the desire for a better life.  Women and children are targets for sex trafficking.  Predators are ready to provide promises of love and success as they groom their victims.
 The United States abolished slavery more than 150 years ago with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, and slavery is illegal everywhere. However, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are more than 20 million slaves in the world today—about twice as many as there were during the time of the transatlantic slave trade. The United States is both a source and destination for victims.
 “It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name - - modern slavery.”- President Barack Obama, September 25, 2012

Some statistics about Human Trafficking

Human traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to get the men, women, and children to do their bidding.  Here are some of the shocking statistics.
Globally: from the International Labour Organization’s 2017 Report on Forced Labor and Forced Marriage:
  • 40.3 milllion people are in modern slavery71% of the victims are women and girls
    • 24.9 million people in forced labor
    • 15.4 million people in forced marriages
  • 1 in 4 victims are children
  • women and girls account for 99% in the commercial sex industry and 58% in other sectors
  • According to the 2017 State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, there were only 14,894 prosecutions and 9,071 convictions for trafficking globally
In the US: from DeliverFund – Facts about Human Trafficking in the US
  • The US is ranked among the worst countries globally for human trafficking
  • California consistently has the highest rates of human trafficking in the US
  • The American cities with the highest number of human trafficking cases are Washington, D.C., Atlanta GA, Orlando FL, Miami FL, and Las Vegas NV
  • It is estimated between 250,000 and 300,00 women and children are victims of sex trafficking
In Hawaii:  from Child and Family Service – Sex Trafficking in Hawaii
  • Recent news reports indicate an alarming rise of sex trafficking in Hawaii
  • A Child and Family Service survey in 2020 concludes:
    • 23% of victims were trafficked before they were 18 years old, average age just under 12 years old
    • 25% reported that their first sex trafficker was a family member
    • more than 75% of victims were female
    • 64% identified as being part-Hawaiian

 So how can we help to make a difference?

  • Raise your voice: Send a letter to your elected officials to let them know that trafficking is an issue that matters to you.
  • If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline  1-888-373-7888  or text to 233733
  • Report missing children or child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 or through the Cybertipline  
  • Know the signs.  
  • Expose the myths.
  • Spread the word.  Be well informed and help to sponsor an awareness event.
  • Think before you shop.  Be an informed consumer. Who made your clothes?
  • Volunteer locally:   Check out  Ho`ola Na Pua  Learn about, volunteer, donate to this organization that was founded to shine light on the dark criminal enterprise of sex trafficking, placing the health of Hawaii’s youth at the center of their mission and vision for our community. They are committed to the prevention of sex trafficking and providing care for children who have been exploited. 
 Additional resources:

 

Here are some actions you can take to share your respect for ALL life:

o   Senator Brian Schatz   https://www.schatz.senate.gov/contact
o   Senator Mazie Hirono  https://www.hirono.senate.gov/contact
o   Representative Ed Case (1st Congressional District)  https://case.house.gov/contact/
o   Representative Kaiali`i Kahele (2nd Congressional District) https://kahele.house.gov/contact

 

Respect Life Resources

 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I dedicated you.
~Jeremiah 1:5

Catholic Diocese of Hawaii – Respect Life Office

https://www.catholichawaii.org/diocesan-offices/respect-life/
https://www.catholichawaii.org/diocesan-offices/respect-life/respect-life-resources/
Through its ministry to parishes, schools, youth groups, colleges and universities, religious and secular media, legislators and all people of good will, the Respect Life Office seeks to transform society into a Culture of Life where every human being is valued and protected from the moment of fertilization until natural death. Human life must be respected because it is sacred. From its beginning human life involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. It is not lawful for anyone directly to destroy an innocent human being. This is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and the holiness of the Creator. "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous" (Exodus 23:7).  |  Further reading: CCC 2258-2262, 2318-2320

 

 Mary Jane Home

https://www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org/programs-services/unplanned-pregnancy/mary-jane-home/
The Mary Jane Home offers a unique housing and educational opportunity to pregnant women who are in need of a safe, affordable place to live during their pregnancy. The staff provides education and support so women can prepare for their child and work toward accomplishing their life goals.
The program offers six ready-to-move-in private rooms and individual and group counseling as well as daily classes in infant care, childbirth and valuable life skills to prepare them for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

The Adoption Option

 House of Ruth - A Private Adoption referral service.  
Call (808) 524-0844. 
  

Live Action

https://www.liveaction.org/media/meet-lila-rose/
Founder and President Lila Rose started Live Action when she was just 15 years old from her family’s living room. Since that time, Live Action has grown to become one of the leading national pro-life and human rights organizations in America, dedicated to ending abortion and inspiring a culture that respects and defends life.
  

The Pearson Foundation of Hawaii

 http://www.pearsonplace.org
An unplanned pregnancy can be a very difficult thing to deal with on your own. If you find yourself in this situation, we urge you to contact us for a free pregnancy test and confidential counseling. We are here to help.
For confidential help, call The Pearson Foundation of Hawaii, Inc.
(808) 942-0328 (office hours) or (808) 319-5489 (24-hour hotline)
1145 Bishop Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
 

Project Rachel

 https://hopeafterabortion.com/?page_id=750

Whether it’s been one year or 20 years, you need time to grieve your loss and reflect on your feelings of sorrow and regret. Project Rachel is here to help you do that in a supportive and confidential environment. We are here to listen to you and help you through your pain.
Program Coordinators:  Deacon Keith & Bernadette Galang
Referral Number:  888.456.4673
 

Rachel’s Vineyard

Rachel’s Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.
https://www.catholichawaii.org/diocesan-offices/respect-life/pastoral-care/rachels-vineyard-ministry/ 
Contact: Lisa Shorba    808-349-5071     RVinHawaii@gmail.com

Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat - Healing the pain of abortion

Next weekend retreat - Oct. 15-17, 2021   Space is limited       Brochure
  

Abortion Pill Rescue Network

Abortion pill reversal – 877-558-0333

 

Heartbeat International

https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/
Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers founded in the U.S. (1971),  and it is now the most expansive network in the world. Heartbeat has over 2,800 affiliated pregnancy help locations including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies in more than 60 countries around the world to provide alternatives to abortion.