Editor’s Note: This blog first appeared in Spotlight 06: Heroic Virtue (view here). We’re including a FREE Life Night “No Matter How Small” (download here) to use with your youth group for Pro-Life issues. We hope that you find these resources helpful. If you need any additional help you can contact Katie Heller at email@example.com
Have you ever had those moments when you say to yourself “Wow, I get it”? Some people call them “light bulb moments.”
Well this election season, by the grace of God, I had a light bulb moment like no other. I’ve been Catholic all my life and involved in youth ministry for more than 10 years and I can honestly say that I now understand the Pro-Life movement and what it means to be a Pro-Life Catholic.
Sure, I always said that I was Pro-Life but what was I actually doing to help promote the Pro-Life movement, especially when it comes to the unborn? Bottom line is that I was doing nothing. I was letting everyone else do the work for me. I would tell my teens that protecting life is important but I was never passionate myself. How could I expect my teens to be passionate if I was not setting the example? I realized we absolutely cannot expect our teens to be passionate about the Pro-Life movement unless we are.
- GO THERE – I’ve realized that I never allowed my heart to “go there,” meaning I knew from a distance what was going on but I never personalized the stories. Throughout the past few months I’ve watched actual abortion documentaries and procedures. I visited many websites and viewed the alarming statistics, and I’ve heard the stories from women who, regretfully, had abortions. The most touching testimonies were from actual abortion survivors. It is difficult to watch and hear these things but in the end it will make you more compassionate and willing to stand up for what is right.
- GET EDUCATED – In contrast to what some politicians might say, the Church has stood up for the unborn from the earliest days. The best thing we can do is to educate ourselves. Scripture verses, the teachings in the Catechism, and Pope John Paul’s letter “Evangelium Vitae” (the Value of Human Life) are all gifts of the faith to help us learn. Do not assume that Catholics (parents, Core, teens and staff) know everything about the Church’s stance on abortion. Be bold and be willing to teach!
- TAKE ACTION – On the next page you will find some ways that youth ministers can take action against abortion. I admit I’ve sat on the sidelines for too long. We can complain about the times that we live in or we can be grateful that we are here right now to defend life. I encourage you to take action in your own homes, in your parish and in the world.
Here are a few resources that will help you start:
Pro Life Websites
Pregnancy Help Line
Catechism of the Catholic Church
- CCC 2270
- CCC 2271
- CCC 2272
- CCC 2322
- CCC 2274
- Psalm 139:13-14
- Galatians 1:15
- Psalm 127:3
- “In our day, sanctity of life issues are foundational because the act of dehumanizing and killing the unborn child attacks human dignity in a uniquely grave way.” -Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
- “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.” -Mother Teresa
Here are a few ideas to help get the community involved:
- Urge your teens and other parishioners to learn about the Freedom of Choice Act: www.fightfoca.com
- Attend the Walk for Life West Coast Event in San Francisco or Walk for Life in Washington D.C.
- Join in and promote the official Sanctity of Human Life Week, January 18-25, 2009.
- Take your teens to visit a local pregnancy help center.
- Have your teens spiritually adopt a baby – give the baby a name and pray for that baby (and for all babies) in danger of abortion.
- Have two parents from the parish speak to the teens about the love they have for their baby.
- Plan a pro-life Life Night (see the Life Night outline on pages 19-25).
- Make the teens aware of the Pro-Life Day of Solidarity: www.silentday.org.
- Bring in some plastic pre-born models so they can see the actual size of the baby in the womb.
- Ask parents if they have the ultrasound pictures of their teens so they can see what they looked like before they were born.
- Pass out a prayer card with the stages of growth of the child in the womb.
- Attend your diocesan Mass for the unborn.
- Host a Mass at your parish for the unborn.
- Put Pro-Life bulletin inserts in the weekly bulletin.
- Host a prayer vigil for the unborn and for those women who are thinking of having an abortion.
- Invite a pro-life speaker to speak to all parishioners, not just the teens.
- Host a baby shower and give the gifts to the local pregnancy help center.
- Have a fundraiser and send the money to a pro-life organization.
- Discuss the options for those women who are seeking an abortion who don’t wish to keep the baby.
- Hang pictures of babies and quotes in your office and youth room.
- Pray, pray, pray as an individual, as a staff, in your youth group, and with your Core team.
Prayer for LIFE
Almighty God, our Father, You who have given us life and intended us to have it forever, grant us Your blessings. Enlighten our minds to a renewed conviction that all human life is sacred because it is created in Your image and likeness. Help us to teach by word and the example of our lives that life is primary, and that human life is precious because it is the gift of God whose love is infinite. Give us the strength to defend human life against every influence or action that threatens or weakens it, as well as the strength to make every life more humane in all its aspects. Amen.
Your voice matters. You can make a difference. St. Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.