HOST A “JUST FOR LIFE” Information Weekend IN YOUR PARISH
It’s fun, it’s informative, it’s Pro-life,
And It’s FREE!!!
It’s the easiest way to get the pro-life message to your fellow parishioners and support the pro-life efforts of Priests for Life Canada in spreading the “Sanctity of Life” message throughout Canada. We provide the material, you do the basic promotion.
A parish “Just for Life” weekend has five main purposes:
- To promote the pro-life message in your parish.
- To attract new people to the pro-life movement.
- To encourage your pastor to speak on pro-life issues.
- To have fun spreading the pro-life message.
- To encourage parishioners to become FREE complimentary members of PFLC for one year.
How it’s done
- Ask your pastor if he will allow a “Just for Life” information table where parishioners can get free pro-life information after Masses. PFLC will provide all material. Other pro-life information can be added at the discretion of the coordinators.
- Ask your pastor if he would want to preach a pro-life homily during the “Just for Life” weekend. This is NOT absolutely necessary.
- Contact PFLC to arrange to have free material sent. Indicate the number of bulletins that are distributed in your parish.
- Arrange an OPTIONAL “coffee” gathering to take place after each Mass.
- Set up the display table at your church.
- Place “Free Draw” slips and “Golf Pencils” in each of the pews prior to Mass. These are provided by PFLC.
- Place some “Free Draw” slips and the “Free Draw” sign next to the draw prize at your display table and encourage parishioners to enter the draw. PFLC will provide an appropriate free draw prize and draw slips.
- Have ushers collect completed response cards after Communion (or after Mass).
- Place more response cards in the pews after each Mass.
- Draw a winner of the free draw after the last Mass.
- Return the completed response cards to Priests for Life Canada.
- Announce the free draw winner in the next parish bulletin.
Sample Homily used by Fr. John Beaumaster:
FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI – PRIESTS FOR LIFE CANADA SUNDAY
May 24-25 2008
By Fr. John Beaumaster
St. Peter’s Parish, St. John NB
There is an inseparable link between life and love. One of the saints remarked that “it is the nature of the greatest love to want to give itself as food”. In today’s gospel, on this feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of the Lord), Jesus says “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. The Eucharist is a continuation of Jesus laying down His life at Calvary out of love for all peoples in every age. In another passage from John’s gospel, Jesus Himself makes the link between love and life most explicit; “no one can have greater love than to lay down their life for their friends”. Jesus, who ‘is the Love of God incarnate, continually lays down His life and pours Himself out for us, and most especially in the Eucharist.
And Vatican II tells us that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word …is the mystery of man revealed”. We are made in the image of Love — the image of God. Another passage from the same document on the Church in the Modern World says; “man (humans) can only truly find themselves (one might paraphrase and say realize or discover their true nature) by making a sincere gift of himself’. All of this can be summed up by saying that, it is only when we are laying down our lives, in so many ways each day that we are being fully human. In other words, in order to know the fullness of life which Jesus came to bring us, we have to lose ourselves in the loving service of God and others. And we have this power through the Eucharist. Jesus is not only our model but our strength for living as well.
Pastors everywhere are encouraged to speak to the moral caner in the world whereby human life, in its most vulnerable stages, is being more and more devalued. I am speaking more precisely about the double plague of abortion and euthanasia. The crisis is most acute in the realm of abortion because there is a lack of consensus on when a human life is actually present. And this lack of consensus stems in turn from a failure to heed the truth about human life which is clearly spelled out in Scripture. For example, both Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of how God knew them and called them when they were still in their mothers’ wombs. Also, Psalm 139 speaks most powerfully to this same truth of how we were known, knit together by God when we were still in our mothers’ wombs, and He knew all of our days before ever one of them came to be. The first mother, Eve, says of her first child; “I have brought forth a man with the help of the Lord” (Gen. 4:1). “With the help of the Lord” is the key element of that passage. Human conception is not just a human act. It involves God as a third party. Most Catholics, indeed most committed Christians, understand and accept this basic truth. We, as mere humans, have no power to do anything on our own, without the aid of God’s grace, let alone conceive and bring new life into the world. We are not just a bunch of random cells thrown together by impersonal forces. Ps. 127, tells us very clearly that “children are truly a gift from the Lord”.
Pope John Paul, as most of us are aware, spoke long and repeatedly about the war being waged in our time between the forces of good and evil. He characterized Western society as a ‘culture of death’ as opposed to the ‘culture of life’, which is the plan of God. Essentially, the culture of death is one of selfishness and self-gratification. Not surprisingly, when pleasure is the ultimate criterion of what is most valuable, the begetting of life and raising a family are considered liabilities because they supposedly limit one’s freedom. This kind of thinking gives rise to a contraceptive mentality where conception and birth are to be avoided at any cost. Sex is valued only for the pleasure it brings. WERE NOT ALL OF US BLESSED TO HAVE PARENTS WHO HAD A DIFFERENT SET OF VALUES?
And all this is defended in the name of freedom and rights. But what about responsibility? What about truth? Today, for many people, truth is relative. It is pretty much whatever they want it to be. It is whatever is most convenient and makes the least demands. Is that all truth is? Is there no objective moral and spiritual truth by which we should order our lives? Did not Jesus say; “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”? In the first instance, the truth is not merely a code or plan to live life by – it is a person – Jesus Christ – fully God and fully human!! It is this failure to admit and appreciate (mostly due to cowardice because of the demands it might make on people) that there is an objective Truth, founded in God, which leads in turn to a false understanding of freedom. Freedom is not being able to do whatever one wants, whenever one wants. Such wanton disregard for the ‘true’ moral order can only create hell for the person living it. Authentic truth and freedom, like life and love spoken of earlier, constitute an inseparable pair. They go hand in hand.
Again, quoting Pope John Paul at the beginning of his encyclical entitled, “the Splendor of Truth”, he says; “truth (objective truth) enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom”. When and only when, we live by the revealed truth of God regarding our nature and destiny, can we be truly free. Did not Jesus say; “you will know the Truth (Himself) and the truth will set you free”? “But if we don’t know the difference between true right and wrong, how can we be free to choose?
How did it come about that we have drifted so far as a society from the truth? I think there can only be one answer – we have drifted away from the true God and put ourselves in His place. In his letter, “the Gospel of Life”, Pope John Paul says the following: “without the Creators the creature would disappear… and when God is forgotten, man himself grows unintelligible”. In sum, the further we drift from real faith in God, life loses its meaning and things become more and more chaotic. I believe that William Butler Yeats captured the essence of things falling apart in his poem “The 2nd Coming”, written 100 years ago but very prophetic regarding the current state of the world: (recite the first part of poem).
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
It might seem that I have strayed somewhat from the subject of abortion and euthanasia. But what I have attempted to do is to retrace the steps that have landed us in the ‘anarchic’ or chaotic situation we are in with respect to the value of life. We must ourselves always be willing to stand up for the truth, which is always at the service of life. Are we praying enough? Do we witness to our faith when it counts? Are we beacons of meaning and hopefulness to those lost souls wandering the world in hopelessness? Does the light of God’s love and truth reflect in and through us to a world dominated by lies masquerading as truth and paths to freedom and happiness but which ultimately leads only to desolation and despair?
Always bear in mind the pivotal point and guiding principle of our faith; Jesus came to teach us the truth about life. At every stage, it is something not only precious, but sacred. We are made in the image of Truth and Love Itself. May we pray continuously that all people, especially the poor misguided souls who may never have been taught the truth may value every human life as a unique gift of God for the larger or general life and betterment of the world.
One closing thought that I would propose for your private meditation; what if Mary had not said yes to being the Mother of God? What if Jesus had never been born? What would the world be like? Finally, consider how the world has been deprived of so many potential saints, and people of genius whose contribution to life here on earth would have been inestimable? Life is an absolute – it will brook no compromise!
Would you like to host a “Just for Life” weekend in your parish? Or if you need more information, just phone us toll free at 1-888-300-2007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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