|Newsletter May 2009|
National Pro-Life Report
May 2009 Rep123
Dear Friends of HLI (Ireland)
I’m certain already your support has made a big difference both in the visible and spiritual realms as we fight for the establishment of the Culture of Life. So far we’ve had:
Pope Benedict’s trip to Cameroon where he commented on AIDS and condoms was a stroke of Divine Providence for us as it coincided with the week of our book launch.
Our media / press release consultant for this initiative, journalist Hermann Kelly, capitalized on this unique opportunity of the Pope’s comments which was a huge assistance in attracting media attention for the book. Many thanks to Hermann. Please remember to pray for him in his work to bring a ‘Culture of Life’ to Ireland in a secular media world.
In Dublin, I had the honour of Brother Shawn O’Connor, of Franciscan Friars of Renewal, Limerick, launch the book. Also in attendance was fellow Tyrone man, Mickey Harte, Tyrone GAA manager, who also attended our Belfast Press launch the following week.
Mickey Harte also spoke on Belfast’s Citybeat radio on the book, as well as commenting in the Daily Mirror and Ulster Herald on the book.
Our Speaking Tour
During the two week speaking tour to Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Knock, Sligo, Belfast, Derry and Armagh, I had the honour at various stages of the presence of Dr Rita O’Connor of Ask / Majella, Limerick, Bro. Seraphim of Franciscan Friars, Kate Meenagh, nurse, counsellor and former health visitor, Pat Buckley, director of HLI (Ireland), John Lacken, Fr Eoin Gorman, Fr Phonsie Cullinan, Fr John Mockler, Fr Michael Ross SDB and Fr Chris Byrnes. Ger and Maree Mahony and Tony and Ann Crowe are two married couples who frankly and honestly shared their story as former contraceptive users and whose stories are both touching and eye opening.
Order the DVD of our Belfast launch – suitable for Computer / DVD - or CD version for the car / CD player if you prefer by clicking here for our online REPLY FORM. I guarantee you will be highly impressed by the quality of the experts who joined me on the speaking tour. Send any donation for this DVD or CD.
Your masses and prayers
I’m CERTAIN your prayers and masses made a huge difference. THANK YOU to all those who pledged a triduum of masses, fasting, all night vigils and rosaries. I’m confident this wave of prayer and sacrifice opened the doors for the excellent media coverage and I had lively (and feisty!) interviews on: Today FM, 4 FM, Clare FM, Ocean FM, 5FM, 6FM, 7FM, Q97, Q101, Q102, Radio Foyle, Radio Ulster’s Talkback, Highland Radio, Inishowen Community Radio, LMFM, Mid West Radio, City Beat FM and Seoige. The Daily Mirror, Derry Journal, Irish News, Tyrone Herald, Irish Catholic and Catholic Voice carried reports and photos.
Prior to the speaking tour I made a pilgrimage to St Patrick’s grave in Downpatrick, St Paul’s tomb in Rome, as well as the tombs of Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican for their intercession. I was blessed to have been loaned a relic of St Patrick for the speaking tour which I had on my person at all times.
Proclaiming the Gospel
On radio, I took the opportunity to specifically proclaim the Gospel on each occasion. Consciously, I integrated the words of Christ and Church teaching with the scientific evidence on contraception. This was possible because the title of the book goes straight to the point and opens up both the scientific and Gospel arenas.
In these days where secularist forces deliberately try and tone down the truths of the Gospel, by God’s grace I resisted the temptation to use only secular, scientific arguments – which have their place – and presented a more wide-ranging inclusive view. Sound doctrine complements perfectly good science. The truths of the Gospel have a power of their own when articulated.
Appallingly out of Touch
On listening to radio listeners angry comments and reaction to my interviews, it was abundantly clear how appallingly out of touch many people are in Ireland about God’s heart for marriage, love and sexuality. Literally every objection and knee jerk reaction to Church teaching is rooted in an misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching. It became even more clear that people in Ireland – many good, well- meaning people – are entirely confused about Church teaching in this area.
Someone commented to me that the language I was articulating hasn’t been spoken on air for 30 years and it would take people time to retune back into it. Several times around the country I was told how married couples had been counseled by priests that contraception was OK. Our beloved priests bear a huge responsibility and we need to redouble our prayers for their ministry.
One priest on receiving the book however thought the name of the book was absolutely tremendous and the following Sunday he preached a courageous sermon on the subject.
A nurse who received the book said she was captivated by its contents and said she had never come across such information before.
Several midwives at various stages of the tour took multiple copies to share and discuss with their professional peers.
A lady involved in engaged couples retreats requested one for every couple on an upcoming retreat, as did another priest who attended one of our evenings.
One married couple stopped the contraceptive pill on attending one of our evenings when it became apparent to them it was an abortifacient drug.
I had the honour of being invited to speak on Catholic marriage at an engaged and newly marrieds retreat organized by some members of Youth 2000 in Thurles on 24-25th April 2009.
The book has been requested from USA, France, England and the Lebanon, even though as yet we have done no international publicity
This book is not a two week wonder. Having taken five years to research and write, the speaking tour was only the first phase of its distribution. We have several phases lined up.
Now I turn to you for help. Will you bring the enclosed green A5 size flier to your parish priest and ask him if he will have me speak at the weekend masses in your parish?
I have had the privilege of speaking in various countrywide at all the weekend masses over the last few years.
I will travel to ANY part of the country to speak at weekend masses and distribute the book. I can tailor my short talk from 5 to 12 minutes or otherwise according to a parish priest’s requirements.
The book is not for sale and I will make it available at any parish talk by voluntary donation or indeed free to anyone who cannot afford it. We are interested above all in getting it into the hands of those who need it most.
Please find enclosed two green fliers for your parish priest and perhaps a neighbouring parish priest of your acquaintance. Feel free to photocopy and distribute. Let us pray that the Lord will open the doors that HE wishes.
At HLI (Ireland)’s stall at the Divine Mercy conference this year, one lady’s eye was drawn to our morning after pill leaflet. The leaflet states in bold writing “The Morning-After Pill kills Human Life.”
This lady asked to sit down and proceeded to share with one of our staff how that very morning she had taken the morning after pill.
She and her husband now found themselves in the Divine Mercy conference and now realized this pill causes an early abortion, something she had never before realized. After some discussion and sharing, the lady then went off to find a priest for confession.
We rejoice that a simple leaflet such as this could be an instrument of conversion. Thank God for His mercy. It is a privilege to be involved in such work that so affects souls and potentially eternal destinies.
That’s not to forget our heroic Majella centre counselors involved daily with women making such dramatic and sometime life-changing decisions.
Again, I wish to thank you our supporters for all your indispensable prayers and support that make this work go on.
By the way, this is the same leaflet about which an irate doctor phoned me one day and stated that the morning after pill was not abortifacient. When I asked for the evidence for this, the doctor undertook to send some information, but this never arrived.
Two weeks ago one young man called Matt Frad, shared his dramatic and powerful story of how God freed him from his addiction to pornography.
Speaking at a monthly evening organized by Catholic Men’s Conferences in Belfast, Matt shared with breath-taking honesty how he got involved in pornography. He spoke of the silent devastation it caused in his life even after he got married and how he was freed only by God’s grace and the power of the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession.
Matt shared how he believes that pornography is one tactic by which the devil ‘takes men out’ with devastating efficiency. He spoke of how pornography emasculates men from exercising true love, courage and responsibility towards the women in their lives.
It is at such men’s meetings, where men share frankly and deeply about their real struggles man-to-man, that they are empowered and encouraged to act with the masculine strength and character that God created them to have.
The next Belfast Catholic Men’s evening is due on Wednesday 20th May. Men interested can call Jason on +44 7932074104 to confirm date, time and venue.
A similar men’s group who meet in Dublin monthly can be contacted through Pat on 087 6890495 or Damian at 087 6356470.
I’d like to invite men to come on a men’s five day Ignatian silent retreat in Ards Monastery, Donegal 6th-11th July 2009. This retreat has had a major impact on my life this last three years.
Conducted by Benedictine Monks from Abbeye St Joseph in Flavigny, France, the retreat leads participants into a real and deeper encounter with Jesus Christ. Yellow leaflet enclosed.
Following a format recognized by the Church for centuries, these Ignatian retreats bring you through fundamental aspects of our Catholic faith. This retreat had such a big impact on myself because it affords the opportunity of actually taking the time to more deeply consider the realities such as Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgement.
We all know about these things, but we are all so busy that we rarely grant ourselves the chance to actually stop and consider such truths. Each day has six or seven talks and the only time one speaks is in the one-to-one consultations with the retreat directors.
Please do fill out the registration form or register online at www.clairval.com.
Space restricts a report on Archbishop Chaput’s stirring, provokative talks at our conference in February co-sponsored by the John Paul II society. Archbishop Chaput – recognized worldwide as a clear outspoken champion of Catholic Church teaching – gave a crisp and stirring message to prolifers in Ireland based on lessons from the American experience - as well as thought provoking talks from Senator Ronan Mullen, Declan Ganley, Elizabeth Holmes and others. These are available for €30 for a set of 5 CD’s. Order by clicking here for our online REPLY FORM
I have the privilege of being invited to be part of a pro-life mission to Lebanon in July. Comprised of Irish, English and American speakers we have been invited by a Lebanese Archbishop and a Lebanese Catholic satellite TV station which beams into many Arabic-speaking countries of the world.
Lebanon is 60% Muslim and 30% Catholic and I myself will be speaking mainly on contraception in marriage.
Please keep this fervently in your prayers as you have been so good at doing in the past.
Patrick McCrystal Chairman HLI (Ireland)
PS For your gift of €35/ £30 towards our pro-life, pro-family apostolate, I’d like to send you one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read in giving insight into the daily life of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph.
The Life of Mary as seen by the Mystics is based on the revelations and visions of four of the most privileged souls in the history of the Church: St. Elizabeth of Schoenan, St. Bridget of Sweden, Ven. Mother Mary of Agreda and Sr. Ann Catherine Emmerich.
Highlighting 27 key points in the life of Jesus and Mary, as seen through the eyes of Mary, I’ve read astounding things I’ve never read or thought of before, as well as many questions answered.
Insights on the life of Mary’s parents, Joachim and Ann, the annunciation, the nativity, the life of Joseph and Mary in Nazareth, Christ’s public ministry, his crucifixion, resurrection, Pentecost, Mary’s last years, her Assumption and Coronation in heaven give fascinating detail which are captivating and illuminating.
No-one is bound to believe private revelation, but when the seers are sainted by the Church or their causes are well underway, the credibility of what one reads is greatly enhanced. These are writings freely allowed and encouraged by the Church. The book bears an imprimatur.
Everything is in complete concordance with Scripture and resonates as true in the heart.
My gift to you for your gift of €35 / £30 or more to our pro-life, pro-family apostolate.