You might remember that some time ago, all parishioners of the Calgary Diocese were invited to participate in a survey on family life. This survey was distributed to all Catholics throughout the universal Church. The completed survey questionnaires were collected by each diocese. In Canada, each diocese forwarded results to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The survey results were then sent to Vatican City in Rome.
The fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, also referred to as the Synod on the Family, took place from October 4 to October 25, 2015. The topics of this gathering were the vocation and mission of the family in the church and in the contemporary world.
The 2015 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family was preceded by the Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014. The result of both assemblies was publicly released by Pope Francis on April 8, 2016 in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, entitled Amoris Laetitia. The document features nine chapters beginning with In the Light of The Word and ending with The Spirituality of Marriage. It deals with the experiences and challenges of families, love in marriage, pastoral perspectives, the education of children and more.
I challenge you to read this document in its entirety. The materials including a study guide can be obtained on the Internet (Google: “Amoris Laetitia” and “Study Guide to Amoris Laetitia”) or through the Life & Family Resource Centre of the Calgary Catholic Diocese. We also offer the document in book form. Phone Gabriele Kalincak at (403) 218-5504 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested Family or Parish Activities
(best practice to study this document is one chapter at a time – weekly or bi-weekly)
- Attend a study group.
- Initiate a study group.
- Join a ministry that reflects what you have learned from this document.
- Many couples choose the reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians [1 Cor 13:4-7] to be read at their wedding. You can meditate on it in chapter 4.
- Make a list of one or more changes you want to implement after reading each chapter.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Help us to understand the true meaning of the teachings that Amoris Laetitia provides. May we grow in love and understanding of our faith, values and traditions. This we ask through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. LFRC, Carillon
Project Rachel is an ecumenical ministry of healing and reconciliation for people of all ages who are suffering distress from a past abortion experience.
The ministry was launched throughout southern Alberta in November 1998
Project Rachel is a sensitive, private and confidential program. We offer support to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or faith. Not only women who have had the abortion, but also men and family members who experience post-abortion grief are welcome to contact us. Our counsellors recognize abortion as a traumatic experience, and address its psychological and physical symptoms. In addition, they offer the unique opportunity to integrate spirituality into the healing process.
- Teams of trained therapists or clergy are available to see clients on an individual basis. Our counselors are readily available; there are no long waiting times.
- This is a confidential and ecumenical ministry.
For more information, click here
Project Weekend Retreats are available. This is an opportunity to journey with others who are also seeking healing from a past abortion experience - under the guidance of two professional counselors. For more information or to register, contact the Project Rachel office at 403-218-5506 or (Toll Free) 1-877-597-3223 or email at email@example.com
A Song For Rachel
'A Song For Rachel' is held annually as a fun-filled, family fundraising concert that has been established in 1999. A silent auction was added in 2003.
The next Song for Rachel concert will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017 at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, 1600 Acadia Drive SE. The silent auction will open at 6:00 pm and the concert begins at 7:00 pm. The price is $15.00/person and $35.00/family.
Call now to reserve: 403-218-5505.
- Gabriele Kalincak, Director
- Confidential Phone Line: (403) 218-5506 or (Toll Free) 1-877-597-3223
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectRachel
It’s very difficult to think of a more charged conversation than one about terminating a pregnancy. I’ve recently found myself in this situation, where understanding where I stood and being able to defend my opinion, became a harmful confusion.
Elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. Who are we to decide whether somebody lives or dies? Personally, I disagree with pro-choice advocates who claim that it is a “woman’s body, and she has the right to do what she wants with it.” And though not all, but many abortion supporters, blame religion for all those who oppose pro-life, allow me to give you a few reasons as to why abortion is morally wrong without speaking of God.
First, abortion goes against Natural Law. This is the law of preservation that we have as individuals, to instinctively nurture and maintain our existence under any circumstance. Intentional extermination of a baby who is still in the womb is murder, and therefore contrary to nature.
Scientifically, we know that the unborn are substantial, unique, and living beings. A child who is still in the womb has its own DNA, its own heartbeat at 18 days, and its own blood type. Although many claim that unborn children are not “human beings” or are not yet “people,” there is proof that the moment of conception marks the beginning of a new life. Human life starts as an embryo, a zygote, and is a human being in development. We all began life this way.
When abortion is legal, an unborn child is deprived of her most basic civil right – the right to life! Any person who is a victim of violation has the right to speak up and defend themselves. However, due to location and development status, an unborn baby cannot defend himself. So who will speak up for the baby?
There are different situations and circumstances and uncontrolled factors that must be considered. Many talk about the right to abort if the woman is raped, or perhaps if the baby has been diagnosed with a major illness. To all this, I argue that a tragedy is not erased by another tragedy. You cannot relieve and forget the memories of a rape with abortion. And you cannot cure a child by killing him or her. Women who have been raped must be loved, and compassionately cared for; and if they are pregnant, compassionate care does not include execution of their children.
There is no criminal law against abortion in Canada and since 1988, the number of reported abortions has exceeded 2.5 million. Because abortions are funded by taxpayers – we are paying for the killing of unborn children.
Many women suffer from Post Abortion Stress (PAS) syndrome, which is a form of post-traumatic stress, and can potentially affect everyone around them. Experiencing an abortion, and living with the pain, grief and regret, is traumatic. So before a woman ultimately makes a decision to have an abortion, it’s crucial that she understands everything that’s at stake, and the lifelong consequences.
I am not trying to convince, or offend anyone, I’m simply speaking from my perspective in hopes of helping women who feel pressured to choose abortion. I am aware that abortion is never an easy decision for a pregnant woman to make, but knowing that there is help available for choosing to give life to the unborn, is also encouraging.
It’s not often that we find ourselves absorbed deeply in a conversation about abortion and therefore, we may not be very educated on the subject. After exploring more on this topic, I have become more convinced of the preciousness of life, and the urgent need to preserve it. Maria Ruiz is currently a grade 12 student attending St. Mary’s High School. Maria speaks three languages and plans to attend university and become a teacher. Born and raised in a Catholic family, she has a twin sister and is the second oldest of five children. Maria is actively involved as co-editor in her school’s newsletter as well as the anchor of her school’s TV channel.
Maria Ruiz is currently a grade 12 student attending St. Mary’s High School. Maria speaks three languages and plans to attend university and become a teacher. Born and raised in a Catholic family, she has a twin sister and is the second oldest of five children. Maria is actively involved as co-editor in her school’s newsletter as well as the anchor of her school’s TV channel.
When we think of Easter, we think about spring that brings new life, new beginnings, and new growth. For Christians this does not only mean that the days are getting longer, the trees are leafing and all of nature transforms itself into an uplifting colourful panorama. The Easter season also lifts up our hearts and spirits to the wonders of God, who through His death and resurrection, saved us from eternal punishment. Through this act of love for His people, Jesus invites us “to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18]. What better time than Lent and Easter to renew our commitment to the Lord by using it as a time of spiritual awakening, nurturing and growing.
- What am I currently doing to nurture my spirituality and my faith?
- What are we doing as a family to nurture our spirituality and our faith?
- How can we grow more in our faith?
- How do we recognize God’s love in the awakening of nature?
- How do we recognize God’s love in other people?
- How can we help somebody else to grow closer to God?
Fill in the missing words to complete the sentences:
(the answers may be different for each family member)
- Acknowledging differences means
- Taking responsibility means
- The word growth or growing means
- Growing in faith means
- My love for God’s creation means
- Lent is a time of
- Easter is
- I recognize growth mostly in
- I nurture growth by
Easter! Spring! A time to look toward the season for planting: Have each family member select a plant seed, each different from that of the other family members. Each seed will be planted in its own pot, and whoever planted that particular seed is responsible for its growth. Encourage each family member to become knowledgeable about their planted seed. When the family gets together once a week they will report on what they have learned. The younger children might need some help with their task. At each gathering begin with a prayer thanking God for the gift of life and growth.
As the plants get bigger you will notice that they are all different, yet they are all plants. This is the time to talk about differences. Every plant looks different, yet they are all plants. People look different, yet they are all humans. Like the plants, humans were created by God. God entrusted plants, animals and the entire world into our care. That includes our children, the elderly, the homeless, and all who need that little extra help to live their life in dignity. How do we recognize their needs and what can we do to help?
Project Rachel is a healing journey of hope and forgiveness for anyone impacted directly or indirectly by the loss of a child through abortion. Although individual counselling is available, retreats are also offered for those seeking a safe place to work through their loss, grief and anger in a group experience. A retreat gives you the opportunity to hear how others have experienced similar feelings associated with abortion and how they have tried to cope. You discover that you are not alone and someone else understands your pain.
A retreat offers several steps of healing. Through the sharing of your personal story, you are able to examine your story, to come to a sense of forgiveness from God, to give that forgiveness to yourself and others, to connect with your lost child, to bond and to say good-bye for now, to move on with your life restored to the person God wants you to be. In this interactive group setting, you heal emotions that have been wounded. You remove anger and replace it with love; resentment, with kindness; despair, with joy; and fear, with peace.
Bishop Robert Barron once said, “God is much more interested in your future than in your past. We have a God who ‘makes all things new’ and in that we find hope.”
In John’s Gospel, he tells the story of the woman caught in adultery. The scribes and the Pharisees are preparing to stone the woman. Bishop Barron stated, “In one of the great one-liners of the entire Bible … Jesus disarms them by saying, ‘Let the one among you, who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’ [John 8:7]. … At this prompting, they drifted away, one by one, until Jesus was left alone with the woman.”
Bishop Barron continued, “Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.’ [John 8:11]. How rich is that little word ‘go’? Again, what is being emphasized is the future, not the past, on what lies ahead, instead of what lies behind.”
A Project Rachel retreat is an incredible healing journey where you will experience the healing grace and inner peace of God. So… go! Call (403) 218-5506, for more information and visit www.projectrachelsa.ca.