Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For those who have experienced abortion, God is extending God’s healing grace through a Project Rachel Retreat weekend.  As a Church, we recognize that those touched by abortion may be experiencing pain of grief and remorse.  In a caring and hopeful context, retreat participants can experience a process of renewal — restoring relationships with their unborn child, their families, the Church, and God.  If you are  suffering from an abortion, experience the love of Jesus Christ at a Project Rachel weekend retreat.  The next retreat will begin at 6:00 pm on Friday, May 18, and end at 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 20 at the Short Journey Retreat Center in Smithfield, NC. The registration deadline for this retreat is May 11.

The following comments are from women who have attended the retreat:

The retreat was a safe place to share my shameful secret.  I was freed from the trappings of despair.  I am thankful to the Catholic Church for providing a way to seek forgiveness and healing.

If I were urging someone to reconcile his or her abortion experience, I’d tell them not  to suffer in silence or think they are unworthily of healing.  I would remind them that Christ came to save sinners, heal the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to captives.   I would tell them how much I have learned about the love and mercy of God in this  reconciliation process.  I am a stronger person because of it now.

What about men?  Many men too, suffer in the aftermath of abortion – sometimes  immediately, sometimes years later, though few express their pain openly.  They are fathers who lost a child.  They may have opposed the abortion.  They may have failed to speak up or to try to change their partner’s mind.  They may have urged her to abort because at the time they didn’t want the responsibilities of fatherhood, yet later felt that they failed as a man to protect their loved one and child.  Their grief is bottled up because our culture doesn’t make it easy for men to express such feelings.  They may turn to workaholism, alcohol, drugs, or pornography to keep their painful thoughts and emotions at bay.  Men too can find understanding, forgiveness, healing, and wholeness through the Church’s ministry of Project Rachel.

The weekend retreat, for both women and men will combine discussions, spiritual exercises, the sacrament of reconciliation, a Memorial Service, and a Mass of Resurrection.  Participation is strictly confidential and offers a beautiful opportunity to experience God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion.  The cost is $125 for lodging, meals, and all retreat materials.  Some financial assistance is available.  For more information or to register go to www.projectrachelnc.org

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark