Abortion healing program goes global
With the World Health Organisation estimating the annual number of abortions worldwide at 30-50 million, a US-initiated post-abortion support program with branches in Australia, Project Rachel, is extending its operations around the globe.
Zenit reports that Project Rachel founder Victoria Thorn led a training session in Rome last week on the organisation's teaching tools.
The course was organised by students from the John Paul II Institute in Rome, the Pontifical Lateran University and the Emmanuel Community.
Alejandra Correa, one of the event's organisers, said the goal of the one-day event was to help bring Project Rachel to the heart of the universal Church where it could then be brought to other dioceses. Some 150 people participated in the session.
Ms Thorn, who is also the executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, told Zenit that the initiative has already been adopted by 170 dioceses in the US and elsewhere since it began in 1984.
She added that she has been overwhelmed with requests from abroad to help other dioceses set up Project Rachel, including invitations from Uganda, India, Lithuania, Ukraine, New Zealand and the Philippines.
"It just seems like the time is right for it," she said.
Ms Thorn added that she considers abortion to be the ultimate spiritual issue for women, and that even those who don't believe in God have the sense they've somehow offended something.
She said that "the Church is uniquely qualified to deal with bringing healing to the millions of women who suffer from the grief and guilt associated with the most common woman's surgical procedure."
With the World Health Organisation reporting that there are between 30 and 50 million abortions annually, Thorn said the problem of post-abortion suffering touches everyone, whether they know it or not. As a result, there are a lot of silent, wounded women.
In Australia, counsellor Ms Julie Kelly and Sydney's Newtown parish priest Fr Peter Maher set up the program seven years ago.
Today, the team consists of a network of a professional counsellors and priests who run "healing retreats" throughout the year in most major cities.
Post-Abortion Initiative to Heal More Hearts (Indian Catholic - Zenit, 19/5/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Project Rachel Australia
Tasting New Wine in Rachel's Vineyard (Aurora, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, December 2006-January 2007)
Newtown Parish (Sydney archdiocese)
Portugal to legalise early abortion (CathNews, 13/2/07)
Priest requests prayers for abortion practitioners (CathNews, 10/7/06)
Dorothy Day intercession to be sought on Respect Life Sunday (CathNews, 12/5/06)
Church worker says Africa, Eastern Europe need post-abortion healing (Catholic News, 18/5/07)
Church Raises Awareness Of Abortion Among College Students (UCA News, 18/5/07)
21 May 2007