Life Times Winter 2012

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Life Times is the quarterly publication of the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living in the Diocese of Austin. Find archived issues at CentralTexasProLife.org.

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  • Newsletter of the Officeof Pro-Life Activities

    and Chaste Living

    2 From the Director And the Word Became Flesh*

    4 Around the Diocese Angels Among Us*

    5 Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter*

    6 National NewsA Beautiful Choice*

    7 A Nationwide Call for Healing after Abortion*

    8 SpecialThe Death Penalty: We Cannot Overcome Violence With Violence*

    16 Calendar of Events* Tambien en espaol

    Diocese of Austin Winter 2012

    Amber Erickson readily admits she made some questionable choices during her life, but time spent at a Temple maternity shelter has served her well. She now has a job she loves, a home to share with her children, a great relationship with her family, and self respect.

    Erickson was four months pregnant with Devin, now 10 months, when she moved into Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter in Temple. She learned of the shelter through a friend.

    It (the shelter) saved my life, Erickson said. I was at a very bad point in my life and didnt have anywhere to turn. Erickson was escaping an abusive relationship. Devins father is now serving a 10-year prison sentence, which is a godsend, she said, because it had been so hard to get away.

    You get told so often that you cant do it, that if you leave youre not going to make it and youre going to be all alone, Erickson said.

    She always had her family, but Erikson said she felt it was impossible to turn to them because she had pushed them away so many times.

    Leaving the relationship made me grow up fast, because I had always depended on someone else, she said.

    Much of that sense of independence was learned at Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter with one-on-one counseling that served to build up Ericksons self-esteem. She also learned problem solving.

    Just learning how to communicate and getting out and looking for a job was helpful, Erickson said. She now works full-time at Cheeves Bros. Steakhouse as a bartender during the day and server in the evening. Its very nice and I work with some great people, she said.

    Residents of the maternity shelter are taught to focus on themselves and do whats best for their family. Erickson said during her stay she made up her mind that her life was going to change.

    I was all about making a better life for me and my kids and I would never put us in that position again, she said.

    Erickson has two other children Hannah, 7, and Hayden, 4. It was a difficult journey, leaving the known for the unknown.

    Its very hard, but the payoff is wonderful, she said. Its the best feeling youll ever get that you got out and that youre doing it on your own.

    Erickson said her life can be exhausting but she wouldnt have it any other way. Erickson was eight months pregnant when she left the shelter. She and her children lived with her brother until she got on her feet.

    I have what I want, she said. Im sure things can always get better, but right now I have a nice home, I have a good job, I have my kids, I have my family. If this is all I ever get Im happy.

    Its the best feeling youll ever get that you got out and that youre doing it on your own.

    continued on page 5 . . .

    It Saved My LifeMaternity Shelter Aids Women, Families

    by Janice Gibbs

  • 2 Life Times Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

    Nearly two months ago we saw a new liturgical year and a new translation of the Mass to go with it.

    If you are anything like me, you are still mumbling through the words, just trying to get it right this time! It makes it difficult to take in the new words we have been given and to reflect on why this language is important for us.

    But one word that stands out to me every time is in the Nicene Creed. And yes, this is partly because its a word we dont use everyday! The new translation reads, For us men for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man

    Incarnate: an unusual word for us today, but of insurmountable significance for our Christian faith.

    According to Merriam-Webster, incarnate means to give bodily form and substance to. It comes from the Latin word carnis, meaning flesh. It can also be translated as meat and the body.

    Youll find this word in the Latin translation of the Gospel of John. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).

    The earlier Greek translation of this verse used the word sarx, which can also translate to muscles of the body or the flesh as opposed to the spirit.

    To use a word which is more familiar to us, in his Gospel St. John was trying to convey something truly carnal.

    God (the Word) not only made himself known to us by taking on human nature, God became flesh, with muscles, organs and blood. He wanted us to be able to look at our own flesh and think of him, knowing that he took on the same human body. This human body he has given us also has great dignity and

    worth, because he created and redeemed us, body and soul.

    The Catechism tells us, The flesh is the hinge of salvation (1015). The physical reality of our body is no side-note or accident. It is intentional, both when God created us in his image and likeness and when he chose to take on our human nature in the Incarnation.

    The Catechism goes on to say, We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh (1015).

    It is does not come easily for us to wrap our minds around the importance of this tenet of our faith, especially in the U.S. were we have such strong Puritan beginnings.

    The Puritan faith largely disregarded the flesh, almost regarding the body as an evil to be tolerated. But in Gaudium et spes, the church teaches us that In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear (22).

    It is also in the mystery of the Word made flesh that our understanding of virtue is rooted. God became man that our whole nature, body and soul, may be redeemed.

    Becoming holy, and in particular growing in the virtue of chastity, is only possible because of the Incarnation.

    Taking time to meditate on the mystery of the Word made flesh will help us to realize that indeed true chastity is possible, throughout our life, before and in marriage. God came so that we might see the great dignity that he bestowed upon us and that we might see the great worth of anothers body and soul.

    From the Director

    And the Word Became Fleshby Marie Seale

    Espaol en la pgina 10 . . .

    Marie Seale is the director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living.

    NEXT ISSUE: What might true chastity in marriage look like?

  • Winter 2012 3

    Around the Diocese

    January 28, 2012 in AustinTexas Catholic Pro-Life Day

    7 a.m. Prayer Vigil at the South Austin Planned Parenthood Facility, 201 East Ben White Blvd. (Meet for a blessing first at 7 a.m. at San Jos Parish, 2435 Oak Crest in Austin.)

    9:45 a.m. Rosary For Life led by teens and young adults while elementary school students reenact the Joyful Mysteries at San Jos Parish.

    10:30 a.m. Diocesan Pro-Life Mass celebrated by Bishop Joe Vsquez at San Jos Parish. All priests of the diocese are invited to concelebrate. Our diocesan seminarians will be joining us. San Jos will serve lunch for $5 per person (cash or check) in the Parish Hall after Mass.

    1 p.m. Texas Rally for Life Gather for pro-life march at 15th Street and Colorado Street.

    1:30 p.m. Texas Rally for Life March to the South Steps of the State Capitol.

    23 p.m. Texas Rally for Life Program on the South Steps of the State Capitol.

    3:30 Party for Life at the University Catholic Center, 2010 5:30 p.m. University Avenue, hosted by the Catholic Long-

    horns for Life and the Office of Pro-Life Activities & Chaste Living. Come meet our diocesan seminarians and join us for food, fun, friendship and door prizes. All are invited to attend.

    For more information, contact the Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living at (512) 949-2486.

    Please join the Diocese of Austin for these pro-life activities!

  • 4 Life Times Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living

    The Respect Life Ministry at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin is not a committee but a regular ministry of the church. Co-coordinators Rebecca and Ted McDonald were interviewed in hope of inspiring other ministries who are looking for advice or new ideas: How long has this ministry been together?

    St. Thomas More has had a Respect Life Ministry for at least 15 years, if not more. Rebecca was Respect Life Coordinator for about five years and we both have been co-coordinators for the past three years, but as a ministry of St. Thomas More, anyone in the parish may attend the meetings and participate in the activities that we elect to do as a ministry. How often does your ministry meet and how are you able to effectively communicate the pro-life message to the parish as a whole?

    We have a monthly meeting on the third Thursday of each month at St. Thomas More, but our other projects will also meet regularly, outside of this regular monthly meeting, to make snack packs for the homeless and sacks of canned goods for the poor, as well as gathering to pray outside of the Anderson Mill abortion facility. As far as effective communication goes, we try to utilize e-mail, the telephone, the parish bulletin, fliers, tables outside of Mass, word of mouth and any other way that God provides.Sounds like you have a lot going on. How many members are in this ministry and how much time commitment is involved?

    We have 165 members. As a group, we all participate in prayer for respect life issues and we rely on all members to help pass on information to parishioners both of these can easily be done at the members convenience. But then each person can decide the level of their involvement based on how much time they have and the activities they choose. For example, with our Sidewalk Ministry, we usually have 10 to 12 people as a group at the abortion facility; other members help

    with tables outside Mass when we have various activities and distribute educational material on respect life issues. We also have members who help educate other ministries such as RCIA on respect life issues while still others members send us their ideas on how to educate the parish as a whole on respect life issues. Many of us attend the Texas Rally for Life and participate in other projects of the diocesan Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living.

    What is the goal of this ministry?

    The main goal of our ministry is to educate parishioners on the Gospel of Life. In doing so, we have meetings, life activities/projects, gatherings, tables outside Mass, prayers, presentations to other ministries and any other way that the Holy Spirit leads us to educate on life issues.

    You have mentioned the sidewalk prayer ministry, how did this come about and how much time is involved?

    Praying outside the abortion facility on Anderson Mill is just one of the activities/projects that we have committed to as a group. Our group wanted to do something outside the parish regarding the issue of abortion. As a ministry we committed ourselves to pray in front of the abortion facility on once a month. While the St. Thomas More Respect Life Ministry made the commitment, we have invited the entire parish to join us, and joyfully some have. We pray for one hour and display pictures of Mary and Jesus and signs identifying the facility but mainly we pray the Rosary. Different Sidewalk Angels have joined us a few times and we hope they will continue to do so every month.

    If another parish wanted to adopt an abortion facility nearest them and gather to pray, what advice would you give them about getting started?

    It just takes one committed person in a parish to start a prayer activity in front of a facility. Pick a date and time that you can commit to monthly and be there no matter what, or make arrangements for someone else to be there.

    Making this kind of commitment is very important because if someone has been praying about being a part of this ministry and shows up and no one is there, that person may decide not to show up again.

    It has been our experience with respect life issues that, depending on the issue, attendance for the gathering will fluctuate from a small group to a large group. However, if you are consistent and get the word out, you will have people join you.

    Initially you may start with a ministry of one or two, but eventually, with the help of the Holy Spirit, your passion will ignite the fire in others and your committee will grow.

    Stand firm, keep trying and always remember that life is precious from conception to natural death.

    Around the Diocese

    Angels Among UsSt. Thomas More Respect Life Ministry

    Espaol en la pgina 12 . . .

    St. Thomas More Respect Life Ministry members and parishioners pray outside the gate of the Anderson Mill abortion facility in Austin.

  • Winter 2012 5

    Around the Diocese

    Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter in Temple, now in its 12th year, provides shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children.

    The shelter grew out of the need for emergency shelter surfacing from churches and area agencies that help women in crisis pregnancies.

    Our Lady of the Angels, a 4,200-square-foot, two-story residence on South 9th Street, can house up to 12 women and children. Referrals to the shelter come from all over.

    Our ultimate goal is to get that baby here safely, said JaLeta Tidmore, administrator for the shelter.

    It is a 90-day shelter, which can be a challenge, since theres a lengthy waiting list for housing, Tidmore said. If the woman is in the early stages of her pregnancy, the shelter will try to get her into a long-term facility where she can stay longer.

    A priority of the Temple shelter is to make sure the women are being taken care of medically and getting them signed up for social services, such as food stamps, WIC and Medicaid.

    If a woman comes to the shelter from out of town, it takes 30 days to get the Medicaid transferred. So thats 30 more days before they get in to see the doctor, Tidmore said.

    One of the first tasks for shelter residents is to develop a service plan a to-do list which includes everything theyll need to accomplish during their stay. That includes finding a job and a place to live.

    If the woman doesnt have a high school diploma, shell be encouraged to work toward a GED. Others may be sent to Temple College to further their education. The residents also learn responsibility. Two nuns, who live and work at the shelter, are the house parents.

    Daily, the residents are on their own for breakfast and the nuns fix lunch for everyone each day.

    We all try to sit down and have a family meal, Tidmore said. Each resident is assigned to prepare an evening meal. If

    they dont know how to cook, the nuns will work with them on menus, she said...