April 22, 2016

Post-abortion healing ministries: ‘Extending God’s love and forgiveness’

By Natalie Hoefer

Upcoming post-abortion healing retreats:
Indianapolis: Rachel’s Vineyard, May 13-15.
Bloomington: Project Rachel Retreat, Aug. 26-27.
For information on either, contact:
Bernadette Roy or Rebecca Niemerg at
317-452-0054, or e-mail projectrachel@archindy.org
Project Rachel contact information for nearby dioceses:

Cincinnati Archdiocese:
Project Rachel
Phone: 513-784-0531
Email: projectrachel@catholiccincinnati.org
Website: www.projectrachelcincy.com
Evansville Diocese:
Project Rachel/Catholic Charities
Phone: 812-423-5456
Email: dfaraone@evdio.org
Website: www.charitiesevv.org
Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese:
Project Rachel
Phone: 855-722-4354 (855-RACHEL HOPE)
Email: projectrachelhope@gmail.com
Lafayette Diocese:
Project Rachel-Emmanuel Ministry
Phone: 765-477-7706
Hispanic Phone: 765-477-7695
Email: jenniehack@gmail.com
Louisville Archdiocese:
Catholic Charities / Project Rachel
Phone: 502-471-2155
Email: projectrachel@archlou.org

“Rachel mourns her children. She refuses to be consoled because her children are no more” (Jer 31:15).

These words from Jeremiah ring true for many women and men who have been involved in or affected by abortion. Their children—or grandchildren, or siblings, or nieces or nephews—are no more, and it is difficult to find consolation in a world that often does not understand the depth of their pain.

Those hurting from abortion are in great need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. For this reason, during the Holy Year of Mercy, the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life is increasing efforts to make its post-abortion healing ministries more widely known.

“Project Rachel extends God’s unconditional love and forgiveness to women and men who experience the tragedy of abortion,” whether they are the mother or father, or a relative or friend, says Rebecca Niemerg, director of the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life. “By offering a safe place for those suffering to be reconciled with God and his Church, Project Rachel helps those suffering after abortion experience mercy, forgiveness and peace.”

Here are some of the post-abortion healing ministries the archdiocese offers:

  • Help line and e-mail: Those seeking healing after an abortion can speak with someone or leave a message at 317-452-0054, or e-mail projectrachel@archindy.org. All calls and e-mails are kept confidential.
  • Retreats: Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are offered in Indianapolis, with the next one scheduled on May 13-15, and a Project Rachel retreat is scheduled in Bloomington on Aug. 26-27.
  • Literature: “We have brochures, but we also have business cards,” says Niemerg. “Business cards are small, so they can go in restrooms, or easily be confidentially handed to somebody without it being a whole brochure. They’re available for free for parishes, groups or individuals upon request. They do no good sitting in my office!”
  • Priest referral list for confession: “While of course every priest can offer absolution in the sacrament of reconciliation, sometimes those in need of healing would like to go to a priest they don’t personally know, or not go [to confession] at their parish,” says Niemerg. “We can offer contact information for priests outside of their parish. That way they not only can have anonymity, they could also call ahead for a private appointment so they don’t have to stand in the regular confession line. The priests on the referral list have agreed to be on it, and it covers the whole archdiocese.”
  • Referrals for counseling and other ministries: “We offer referrals to counselors [around the archdiocese] and to Healing Hidden Hurts,” a Christ-centered, 10-step program offering confidential one-to-one care which is both spiritual and therapeutic, says Niemerg. “We also post Project Rachel information for the Lafayette, Evansville, Fort Wayne-South Bend and Gary dioceses, and for the Cincinnati and Louisville archdioceses on our website.”
  • Ongoing support: In the greater Indianapolis area, the archdiocese offers confidential monthly meetings called Rachel’s Network. The meetings are for those seeking to continue their healing process after having completed the archdiocese’s Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortion healing retreat or something similar.
  • Training for counselors, priests and laity: The Office of Pro-Life and Family Life offers training for counselors, priests and lay people in how to help those hurting from post-abortion pain.

(For more information on the post-abortion healing ministries in the archdiocese, log onto www.archindy.org/projectrachel, call Bernadette Roy or Rebecca at 317-452-0054, or e-mail projectrachel@archindy.org.)


Related story: Rachel’s Vineyard retreats ‘allow God’s mercy to flow’ for women and men in need of post-abortion healing

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