February 14, 2014

Events and ministries of the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life

The archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life recognizes that the family plays a special role throughout the life of each person.

Sustained through prayer and worship, the office seeks to provide educational, pastoral, and advocacy programs that support the family and promote the dignity of each human person, made in the image and likeness of God, from the moment of conception to natural death, in order to build a culture of life and civilization of love.

The office provides assistance and resources to parish pro-life committees to accomplish this task through public information and education on the sanctity of life; pastoral care for pregnant women, those suffering from past abortions, and for those who are disabled, sick, and dying; public policy efforts restoring legal protection to the lives of unborn children and those vulnerable to pressures to end their lives by assisted suicide; and prayer and worship efforts asking that the culture of life may flourish. (Related: Office of Pro-life and Family-life Sanctity of Life Dinner set for March 6 in Indianapolis)

Here are the office’s programs and events:

  • Birthline—Provides assistance to pregnant women and mothers of infants in need. More than 1,500 mothers are served annually and are provided material goods such as maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, baby shampoo and other necessary supplies.
  • Bereavement Ministry—Provides assistance for those who have lost loved ones through retreats, conferences and peer support.
  • Divorced and Separated Ministry—Provides assistance for those who have experienced separation from their spouses, through retreats and peer support.
  • Golden Wedding Jubilee—Honors couples who celebrate 50 or more years of marriage. Celebrated annually by Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.
  • Health Ministry—Provides assistance to parishes by promoting the compassionate healing power of Jesus Christ, encouraging health and wholeness of body, mind and soul for all of God’s people through education and advocacy. The office provides assistance to parish nurses through training, education and programming for such activities as CPR and AED, training for ushers and liturgical ministers, caregivers’ seminars, Safe Sitter classes, senior education, and programing that supports the mission of parish health ministry.
  • Helpers of God’s Precious Infants—Prayer vigils held monthly in Terre Haute and Indianapolis. Participants attend Mass and provide a prayerful presence in front of local abortion facilities.
  • Local Solemn Observance of Roe v. Wade—Held annually at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Jan. 22 to witness and pray for the legal protection of the unborn.
  • Natural Family Planning (NFP)—Reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. The office promotes NFP through class listings throughout the year, as well as activities during Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, the third week in July.
  • Project Rachel—A compassionate and confidential ministry, extending God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, to women and men who experience the tragedy of abortion. Project Rachel offers a yearly retreat as well as referrals to counselors and priests.
  • Respect Life Sunday—Celebrated nationally each year on the first Sunday of October to bring awareness of the gift and dignity of each human life. The Mass is celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis for the archdiocese.
  • Substance Abuse Ministry (SAM)—Provides education about addictive disease, increases awareness of the pain in peoples’ lives, provides guidance to where help can be found, and offers support, acceptance, understanding and healing. Available in parishes throughout the archdiocese.

Office of Pro-Life and Family Life Staff:

  • Rebecca Niemerg, Director
  • Elizabeth Ricke, Program Coordinator
  • Jená Hartman, Birthline Coordinator
  • Deb Van Velse, Divorce Ministry and Bereavement Ministry Coordinator
  • Joni LeBeau, Health Ministries Coordinator
  • Keri Carroll, Administrative Assistant

(For information on any of these ministries, contact the Office of Pro-Life and Family Life at 317-236-1521, or 800-382-9836, ext. 1521.)

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