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  • Do Your Students March?
    as pro life and just about any university across the country has its own club to promote the cause One reason for this shift is that word is getting out As the gory pictures keep flashing across our screens it becomes increasingly difficult to convince your average American that the life that is being snuffed out is not in fact human Another reason is the revitalization among the churches Young Christians have grasped that no political cause matters more Jesus calls us to minister to the least of these The coach busses are going to keep rumbling into D C as this weekend showed because believers everywhere have begun to realize that no one is smaller more helpless more in need of care than the least of our brothers and sisters in utero For scores of Catholics and Evangelicals being pro life is now something these young people simply are It s become what sociologists call an identity marker And so it should be No graver social crisis threatens The right to life rests at the bottom floor of any conceivable system of rights Consider my right to drive does not trump your right to safety once I see that you have fallen off of your bicycle in front of my car That s true even if the light above me flashes Green that s true because your prior right trumps my lesser freedom to travel through the intersection your right to life translates into my duty to protect And it is no different with the child in the womb A lot of babies are getting run over in our hospitals Mercy calls us So does the defense of the rule of law Once the government can take your right to life or allow the strong to steal it what is property and free speech I am fortunate to teach at a proudly Catholic college Still the past few years I ve been thinking more about Catholic education What is it What are the signs of its presence Because of my belief in the principle of subsidiarity I regard the practical imposition of the common core a disaster I ll say this for it though It s forced Catholic parents and teachers to think again it s led many of us to consider the kinds of markers that express our identity as Christian educators and as Catholic schools As one instance of this the Cardinal Newman Society will soon make public I am told some of their efforts to offer an alternative model to the common core for Catholic schools We have no choice Given an increasingly hostile and anti intellectual educational establishment soul searching among Catholic teachers will only intensify All this effort to uncover the core of a Catholic educational identity is laudable And yet after joining in the March for Life this year I was left to wonder whether schools and colleges might not find a simpler test How about this one Do your students march Does

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/191115-2 (2016-05-01)
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  • The Culture of Life and Ministering to those Grieving a Miscarriage
    is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism cf CCC 1261 and therefore also to the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith the universal salvific will of God the unicity of the mediation of Christ the necessity of baptism for salvation the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision the creation of man in Christ The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized International Theological Commission 2007 There is a funeral rite in place for the loss of a child in pregnancy so there should be no debate about funerals in these cases In fact this should be explained to the lay faithful so they know how to respond should a miscarriage or stillbirth happen A great many families have no idea what to do when their child dies especially in the first trimester They need to know that they should try to collect the remains whether at home or from the hospital depending on the type of miscarriage This is the beginning of the ministering process Grief always begins healing through the Mass What About First Trimester Miscarriages All of my miscarriages were first trimester and I was unable to collect the bodies for burial This weighed heavily on me I decided to approach our parish priest about having a Mass done for families who have lost a child whether born or unborn He and I set up the Mass for November when the Church remembers the dead It was a profoundly healing experience and it opened our eyes to all of the families who live with the loss of a child in our own parish This type of Mass is a way to minister to those who are grieving within the parish especially those who do so silently As with other types of grief clergy and the parish community should be ready to respond in these cases which are far more common than realized Many families suffer in silence because they do not know where to turn and they live in a culture that tells them they did not really lose a child We must reach out to these people We are the Mystical Body and we celebrate every life no matter how small or the gestational age If we want to bring a Culture of Life to the world then we need to be ministering to the people in our pews who are grieving the loss of a child This can be as simple as bringing meals to a family pastoral counseling or support groups We need to truly celebrate every baby who is conceived and grieve the lost If you have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth then you need to be willing to share that loss with your priest and parish community Priests cannot serve if they are not aware of a situation Every life

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/the-culture-of-life-and-ministering-to-those-grieving-a-miscarriage (2016-05-01)
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  • The Joy of Chiara Corbella Petrillo
    life her book and the source of her joy After two complicated pregnancies Chiara and her husband Enrico were at first overjoyed to learn that they would have a healthy child that would survive birth Their happiness was then met with the news that Chiara had developed a tumor and treatment may jeopardize the life of their child Chiara out of love for her unborn son waited until after baby Francesco was safely born In the months that followed she would endure intense treatment for her tumor while the souls of both Chiara and Enrico would be tested Their story is one of faith hope and love as lived out in a contemporary family that found the source of their peace and hope in Jesus Take a listen to what may be the most inspiring podcast you ll hear today Resources Lisa Cotter Lisa Cotter is a writer and speaker who serves with her husband FOCUS as part of a missionary family You can find her writing and speaking information at FOCUS org Lisa can be found on Facebook and Twitter You can purchase Chiara Corbella Petrillo A Witness to Joy through Sophia Institute Press Lisa s article on Chiara

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/the-joy-of-chiara-corbella-petrillo (2016-05-01)
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  • What I Saw on Respect Life Sunday
    Sunday where parishioners stand along the city s main street holding signs and praying for an end to abortion and all its devastating consequences Our oldest son held the homemade sign we always bring Babies are Precious We lined up on the sidewalk I pulled out my rosary and we began to pray aloud By the first Our Father my four year old was tugging at my rosary I want to do something with it he insisted pulling it out of my hands I reluctantly let him have it figuring that at least it would keep him entertained while we prayed When I looked down he was indeed doing something with it He had taken the Crucifix in his little hand and was holding it out towards the street facing the cars that passed Watching him I marveled Yes That s what people need They need to see Jesus We stood there praying decade after decade and this small child who usually abounds with unbridled energy quietly stood and showed people Jesus W hoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child that morning s Gospel from Mark had said will not enter it This child was accepting the kingdom of God in his little hand and turning it outward to show Jesus to the world In order for me to accept the kingdom like this child what I needed to do was to turn and show Jesus to the world too The people around me at Mass seemed to already know this secret When they placed their arms around their children stroked their matted hair wiped the drool from their mouths and smiled into faces that could not smile back I saw Jesus And I felt His love If I begin to worry about how to reach my loved ones with this message Cherish life Treasure every person then perhaps what I need to do is to worry less and love more Jesus is waiting in the hands of my child and of every person especially those who need the most care In reaching for those hands I can hold His and then with God s mercy I can show Him to the world And I can pray with all my heart that my loved ones will meet Him there Tagged as Dignity of Life life Respect Life Sunday By Maura Roan McKeegan Maura Roan McKeegan lives in Steubenville Ohio with her husband Shaun and their four children She is the author of the children s picture books Into the Sea Out of the Tomb Jonah and Jesus Emmaus Road Publishing 2016 and The End of the Fiery Sword Adam Eve and Jesus Mary Emmaus Road Publishing 2014 which are the first two books in a series introducing children to biblical typology Her articles have appeared in publications such as Catholic Digest Crisis Guideposts Franciscan Way Lay Witness and My Daily Visitor Subscribe to CE It s free More on Catholic Exchange God the Father s Messages

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/what-i-saw-on-respect-life-sunday (2016-05-01)
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  • Chiara Corbella Petrillo: 21st Century Witness to Love
    half an hour we were fine We were not able to stop looking at your nose the same as mine and those little hands and those little feet We did not have much time to tell you that we love you It does not matter how much time we spend together What is necessary is to know the Father And you were born ready I do not know how to tell you how proud we are of you We accompanied you as far as we were able Now you shall know the Father Another pregnancy was soon to follow There were complications again The scans showed that the child in the womb was missing one leg and had a stump for another Further scans showed the child had no kidneys and so as a consequence the lungs would not develop and there would be trouble breathing the prognosis for survival was not good Once more there was discussion with medical staff about whether to proceed with the pregnancy to end the life of the child on screen who kicked and pushed for life Again the couple stood firm And so the pregnancy continued until eventually Davide Giovanni was born When he came into the world his mother embraced him tenderly saying My son my love Like his sister Davide was baptised immediately by a waiting priest as his father placed a small wooden cross around his son s neck and then also like his sister before him was carried to the hospital mortuary by his father after barely more than 30 minutes of life And yet the couple could no more block the wellsprings of life than stop loving each other and so another pregnancy followed Needless to say those around them were trepidatious even if the young couple were strangely serene Nevertheless as this child grew in Chiara s womb something else was growing in her body A tumour had been discovered on her tongue soon it would spread to the neck and to her eyes Various treatments were proposed she refused any that could endanger the life of her child preferring to put them off until after the birth When finally that moment came the child Francesco came into the world healthy His parents were beside themselves with happiness Little was Chiara to know then however that as she ushered new life into the world her own was slowly ebbing away For a short time after the birth the couple with their newborn enjoyed something as close to normality as they were ever able to experience Enrico and Chiara had longed simply to be a normal family having a child in their home being with other mothers and fathers having their first excursions as a family the sleepless nights even It was a precious time it proved to be borrowed time The tumour was malignant There was little that could be done After time in hospital it became clear that no treatment was ever going to work Finally

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/chiara-corbella-petrillo-21st-century-witness-to-love (2016-05-01)
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  • Every Story Has a Beginning
    cats The development from the second trimester to the third brain activity the size of the feet at any given week it is a closed book to me What I know about human life is from living it I ll never forget when we found out we were going to have a baby or when I felt our son kick inside the womb or when I held my wife as she writhed and screamed and pushed our son into the world My interest in unborn human life has been one of fatherhood and respect That s why I am convinced that life begins at conception When you look back over the innumerable years and down the path all men and women have come you see clearly that no person stands alone and that every single person no matter how small no matter how young is a part of humanity I know what people say that a fetus is not actually human because it just a mass of atoms and cells and it is all very professional sounding but today that explanation leaves me cold I am a man not an alien from outer space studying men Equals sign bumper stickers and rainbow profile pictures are a simple way to share an anthropology These symbols communicate vaguely but effectively I believe a human person is thus and such Why isn t there a sticker or profile picture that can quickly and vibrantly communicate a different anthropology Especially when it comes to the pro life message where is the icon that can share the news that life begins at conception One day I was trying to write something positive and fresh and pro life when suddenly the sign seemed to leap off the keyboard It s the letter a with a swirl around it an a curled into the fetal position just waiting to be born And the letter a stands for the beginning This is a symbol for a new generation I told my friend Sam Guzman of The Catholic Gentleman It s simple almost beautiful I like it Guzman said Life begins at conception Everyone has a story and every story has a beginning Life begins conception That s why I ve changed my profile picture to be the sign an sign shrouded in a shade of Marian blue That s why it s time for the At Conception initiative It s just part of a fresh positive way to share a perennial message A mother s womb should be the safest place on earth The father of the unborn child should make sure the mother is loved and safe A father should love and protect his baby Without love for unborn children human dignity lacks coherent meaning and purpose for only in a deep and inherent respect for life in the womb can there be respect for human life at all In a frenzied disordered world we can turn to life in the womb to find a fresh start

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/every-story-has-a-beginning (2016-05-01)
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  • Life Within a Seed
    right as fall hits and while this part of the world starts packing up another growing season my family will still be eating fresh green beans full of the flavor of summer thunderstorms I walk between the bean rows a couple times every day pulling back mulch checking for new sprouts I held them in my hands the day I planted marveling at the variation not just between varieties the deep crimsons and purples of the Vermont cranberry beans the shockingly patterned yin yang of the Calypso beans but also the difference between the beans themselves No two beans are identical and there in my palm I hold something science knows to be alive We know that even in seed form there are plants within that carry on respiration inside those hard shells there is a living thing that absorbs oxygen and emits carbon dioxide Science recognizes a living thing hidden within the seed coats and cotyledons recognizes it despite its rudimentary parts and passive nature You don t plant a seed and wait for it to come alive It s already alive waiting for its proper time In these fiery hot days of August it sometimes seems like the world has lost its way We as a country mourn the death of a lion halfway around the world but turn a jaded eye away from news of fetal tissue trafficking Lawmakers posture and rush to a hasty ill fated vote to defund an abortion giant rather than investigating and gathering the sort of evidence that would stand on its own and not be subject to the whims of corrupt politics and corrupt politicians We run the risk of doing the same thing in our inner lives We berate ourselves for not making suitable progress in holiness thinking somehow we can force sanctity into our souls We want to rush whole seasons of our lives wanting singlehood to give way to matrimony for childlessness to give way to parenthood for that anticipated job to appear health crisis to end on and on and on All the time we rush and flail and think somehow if we just do the right things in the right order and with the right amount of conviction the results will come faster Thinking in our heart of hearts that maybe our actions will force God to bend to our will Or at least speed Him up a little But anyone who has ever held a bean seed in their hand and marveled at the beauty of it knows this isn t the way You cannot rush through seasons and expect to improve upon God s time or His results You don t have to complete some frantic set of actions to force life into things Like that bean seed there is life already there It is not our job to force It is our job to prepare Prepare and wait and nurture the seedlings when they emerge Tagged as Best of Week farming God s

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/187670 (2016-05-01)
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  • And A Sword Shall Pierce Through Your Own Soul Also
    the way you want It was a visiting priest to my surprise He said to go pray for each of my children and give them to God the living ones the one who died and the one in my womb To offer them to Him and believe he loved them more than I did I went home and meditated on several passages from scripture I thought about Mary who watched her son suffer horribly and die on the cross I thought of Hannah who prayed and prayed for a son and when one was granted gave him back to God in his temple to see him only rarely I thought of the Maccabees and their mother who would rather see them die for the faith in this life so she could be with them for eternity And I thought of Abraham and Isaac I prayed that like Abraham I too would not withhold my child if God asked it of me Two days later He did And I thank Him for sending me to that confessional on the same day He sent that priest I have given Him another child and I will not grudge Him a life that was always in His hands and never mine But it occurred to me that this is the heart of a pro life mentality We do not withhold our children We do not withhold their very existence in a world that says they are inconvenient In a world that says we would be better off without them In a world that says children with disabilities are better off dead In a world with no room for suffering or uncertainty we do not withhold our children By participating in their creation from that first moment we are placing a new life directly into the hands of its maker and accepting that He will be in control from the first to the last So if you have been open to life and that generosity has ended in miscarriage stillbirth childhood death suffering in illness or any other affliction indeed if you have been open to life and not been granted a child know that your gift to God is still a beautiful brave deep gift You were willing to give to submit and not to withhold He will accept this offering and bless you for it And know I and the many women who have given our children back to God sooner than we might have wished pray for you and grieve with you I do not know how you came to be in my womb it was not I who gave you breath and life nor was it I who arranged the elements you are made of Therefore since it is the Creator of the universe who shaped the beginning of humankind and brought about the origin of everything he in his mercy will give you back both breath and life because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law 2

    Original URL path: http://catholicexchange.com/and-a-sword-shall-pierce-through-your-own-soul-also (2016-05-01)
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