Friday, 13 April 2012

St John's Pro-Life get together again

Left to right: Niki, Katherine and Demelza
On Wednesday night those members of the group who could got together for one of our regular St John's Pro-Life Group meetings.  It's rare for all Group members to be able to meet up at the same time and Wednesday was no exception, but it was a very profitable gathering nonetheless.  Chief on the agenda were remembrance, awareness-raising and almsgiving.

Remembrance took the form of discussing planting plans for the plot of the Memorial for Unborn Children in Hills Farm Cemetery, Horsham.  I can't say "our" Memorial, firstly because it wasn't instigated by us (the now-defunct Horsham SPUC branch worked hard to fundraise for and erect it some years ago) and secondly because we would like to encourage a shared sense of ownership of the Memorial amongst all St John's parishioners, the town of Horsham and anyone who has a little person to remember.  However our Group has taken on the task of "refurbishing" the somewhat neglected plot.  After months of talking (by us) and hard digging (by Stella and her daughter Becka) it seems that planting may now be just weeks away!  If you look hard you can see that the girls in the photo are poring over a book of roses lent to us by Stella.  They may look knowledgeable but they're only pretending.  None of us in attendance on Wednesday had much of a clue really and we're referring the drawing up of the planting plans to Stella and to Demelza's gardener friend Paula.

OK girls, who are you kidding?
Awareness-raising involved talking about our regular parish newsletter and about this blog.  Are there particular topics you'd like to see covered or questions you'd like answered?  Let us know in the combox.

We also discussed leafleting.  I have done door-to-door leafleting in the past and I'll be honest, I find it SCARY.  My personal approach is to push the flyer into the letterbox as quickly as possible and then speed-walk down the drive (actual running would look silly and, as an unpractised person who on principle never runs unless being chased by plague-spreading zombies, I'd probably fall over)... after which I scuttle along to the next house hiding my clutch of leaflets under my cardigan, emanating guilt and embarassment yet kidding myself I look casually nonchalant.  I have been known to stoop as low as to send my sons, in their much younger days, to do it instead, on the grounds that no-one round where we live is likely to hurl abuse and eggs at children.

More seriously and less selfishly, there's also the question of how a leaflet is worded (short, snappy and attention-grabbing can easily become either superficial or harsh and intolerant-sounding) and of whether putting a necessarily limited message on a piece of paper through someone's door is the best context for raising awareness of certain complex and sensitive issues.

In the end, we decided that - if our clergy think it appropriate - we will distribute one of SPUC's latest leaflets within our parish.  It's been designed to tie up with the journey of the Olympic torch and you can find out about it here.  We liked it; it's attractive, simple but not simplistic and includes a brief summary of the development of the unborn child within the womb, and the topical link-up grabs one's attention.

Almsgiving - well, it's not Lent any more but of course this should be an ongoing part of Christian life. Over the months and years our Group aims to support a range of local charities in turn, not only because we'd like to help and to raise awareness of them, but also in order to broaden the concept of "pro-life" - many people tend to think of it rather narrowly, as being confined to opposing abortion and maybe euthanasia.  I and my family already have great reason to be thankful to the Group for their support of "Aila's Fund"; other causes we'd like to support include a local hospice and the town's crisis pregnancy centre, a disability awareness group and a ward of the local hospital.  It's all part of protecting, nurturing and celebrating human life at every stage and in all the diversity of situations this world throws at us.

Fittingly, Katherine opened and closed the meeting in prayer.  We invite anyone reading this blog to join with us in praying for the whole gamut of pro-life causes from conception to natural death.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. 

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,
Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

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