28 December 2010

Rachel's Vineyard

Massacre of the Innocents, Guido Reni, 1611

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more" (Mt 2:16-18).

These words end today's gospel for the Feast of the Innocents. St Matthew's text also gives the name to an international ministry that began in the USA some years ago, Rachel's Vineyard. The website carried this message by the founder, Dr Theresa Burke:

Rachel's Vineyard - A Message from our Founder

Dear friend,

I would like to personally welcome you to Rachel's Vineyard! 

If the emotional and spiritual wounds of a past abortion have been sapping faith, love and joy from your life, I can promise, that if you enter this process for healing, your life will begin to change. 
 A journey into Rachel's Vineyard is a gift only you can open your heart to receive.  The spiritual process of reconciliation with yourself, with God and your lost child will truly result in wholeness and freedom and a difference you will be able to feel inside your heart. This healing process will give you a deeper compassion for yourself.  It's also a journey that will give you a new appreciation of your strength and courage.

By traveling a path of healing in Rachel's Vineyard, you will experience an end to isolation, despair and hopelessness. You will have the potential to revisit abandoned goals and dreams, and articulate your truest and deepest desires for your future.

Whatever your fears or hesitations may be, I encourage you to take the steps toward receiving the healing and peace that you deserve.  Rachel's Vineyard provides a tried and true journey that over 100,000 women and men have traveled.  You can be confident that there are wonderful people in Rachel's Vineyard who are ready and eager to accompany you.

You are not alone.  A new chapter of your life awaits you.  Take courage, God is calling you towards peace, love, hope, and freedom.

Dr. Theresa Burke
Founder, Rachel's Vineyard Ministries
As far as I know, Rachel's Vineyard doesn't exist in the Philippines - yet. Though abortion is illegal in the Philippines the evidence is that it is widely practised.

Rachel's Vineyard is active in Ireland, where I got to know a little more about it during my recent home leave. I met the director there just after she had visited the Faroe Islands at the invitation of a mutual friend, Sr Maria Forrestal FMM.
 Bernadette Goulding from Cork, Ireland

The Irish website carries this statement:

Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion.
Healing Weekends offer you a supportive, confidential and non-Judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and Healing.
Rachel's Vineyard can help you find your inner voice. It can help you experience God's love and compassion on a profound level. It creates a place where men and women can share, often for the first time, their deepest feelings about abortion. You are allowed to dismantle troubling secrets in an environment of emotional and spiritual safety.
Rachel's Vineyard is therapy for the soul. Participants, who have been trapped in anger toward themselves or others, experience forgiveness. Peace is found. Lives are restored. A sense of hope and meaning for the future is finally re-discovered.
Making the decision to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Healing Weekend can  be intimidating.
Fear of the unknown might be making it harder for you to reach out for help with the emotional and spiritual conflict you may be feeling after your abortion, whether your abortion was recent or decades ago.

Most of us at Rachels Vineyard are persons who have walked down the same path as you and have experienced the Healing power through a Rachel's Vineyard Healing Weekend.

The weekends organized by Rachel's Vineyard also welcome men who have been directly affected by abortion. These may be fathers of aborted children who were not consulted or who put pressure on the mother to have an abortion. They may be husbands married to women who have had abortions in a previous relationship and whose marriage is affected by this.

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