Archive for January, 2016

5 Tips to Help Contact Your Elected Reps

Writing your elected officials is important because it allows you to explain how a particular issue affects you and to express your support or opposition to a proposed law, policy, or course of action. It provides accountability for the elected officials so that they know their constituents are aware of what they are doing and have a genuine interest in how they do their jobs. Here are five easy tips to help you contact your elected official.

(1) Be brief.

Elected officials are busy and get a lot of letters and emails. The best way to make sure your letter gets read is to keep it short and to the point. If at all possible, stick to one issue per letter.

(2) Be clear.

Identify yourself and any relevant organization with which you are affiliated. State whether they are your representative.

State your position up front and what you would like him or her to do; don’t make them guess what you are trying to say. letter_writingExplain what your understanding of the issue is.  If you are writing about pending legislation, be sure to include the bill or resolution number so they know to what you are referring.

Explain why the issue is important to you and how it will impact you, your family and friends, and your community. Support your position with facts as much as possible. Avoid “I believe” or “I feel” statements. If you are writing in opposition to legislation, offer an alternative course of action if possible.

(3) Be accurate.

Proofread your letter or email before you send it. Make sure you have their correct title and address, whether postal or email.  Include a way for them to write back or reply to you.

(4) Be timely.

The best times to contact your representatives are just before an election, just before an important vote, before or during a budget process, or immediately after the representative has done something you approve or disapprove of.

It does no good to send an email or letter after a vote has already taken place. Stay up-to-date on relevant legislation. The NCHLA has relevant Action Alerts as do local bishops conferences such as the Missouri Catholic Conference. Most also allow you to receive email notifications when action is needed, so sign up.

(5) Be grateful.

If at all possible, thank your representative for any past support in your letter.

Also, be sure to follow up, particularly if he or she takes the position you wanted. Regardless of whether your letter changed his or her mind, letters of appreciation go a long way in encouraging him or her to take a similar stance in the future.

Why We March

March for Life participants make their way up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building Jan. 25. The pro-life demonstration marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS photo /Bob Roller) (Jan. 25, 2012) See MARCH-COLOR and MARCH-SPEECHES Jan. 25, 2013.

For the past 43 years, thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. on January 22 from across our nation to participate in the March for Life. People drive from two hours away and people ride buses for 14 hours. They will brave the elements to walk two miles from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Supreme Court. They will offer prayers. They will speak with our elected representatives.

Today will be no different.

Why?

We march because babies are dying of abortion every day. In the U.S., there are over 3,300 abortions performed each day on average. In comparison, there are approximately 44 homicides in the U.S. each day.

We march because we are missing our potential siblings, cousins, peers, teachers, coaches, and spouses. Abortion takes away a person who would have made a difference in someone’s life.

We march because we cannot pretend to be ignorant to what is happening in abortion facilities, including what has been revealed in the Center for Medical Progress videos.

We march because women are being hurt physically and emotionally from abortion.

We march because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and has an inherent dignity from the moment of conception.

We march because abortion is not women’s health care.

We march because women deserve better than abortion….and so do men.

We march because we can change the hearts and minds of others in our country to respect all human life.

We march because we are the survivors of abortion. As survivors, we have an obligation to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.

We march because every person matters.

For live coverage of the Generation Life pilgrimage to the March for Life sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, visit genlifestl365.com or follow @GenLifeStl on Twitter.

Nine Days for Life

usccb-9-days-round-logo-gry-crcle-orgNext Friday, January 22, will mark 43 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in our country at all stages of pregnancy. Since then, an estimated 58.5 million babies have been killed by abortion. Join us in nine days of prayer in a very particular way for an end to abortion starting on January 16 and ending on January 24. Prayers, reflections, and action suggestions are sent to you daily.

What’s With Nine Days?

The number “nine” recalls the nine days of prayer of the Apostles who gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem after Christ’s Ascension and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. This first “novena” was commanded by Christ who told them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father. (Acts 1:4)

By the seventh century, the Church kept a nine-day period of special prayer to prepare for Christmas. These nine days were symbolic of the nine months during which Mary carried Jesus in her womb.

We pray for nine days with a particular intention in mind because we hopefully anticipate an answer to our petition. The steadfastness to one particular prayer intention awakens in us an even greater desire for that intention and is a witness of our faith in God’s power.

Why Should I Join?

We know that prayer has much power to overcome great evils. Jesus Christ told his disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) We can spiritually join together by uniting our prayers together during these nine days. Uniting together in prayer is really a mark of the universality of our faith.

Joining also helps you to remember to pray every day for an end to abortion! It can be easy to forget when you are busy with school, work, and daily activities. Having a reminder pop up in your email or on your phone is a great way to reinforce the commitment you have made – and it will hopefully start a new habit of prayer!

How To Join

Participating is easy. You can either download the app, join by text message, sign up for daily emails, or access the prayers and reflections online.

Make the time to join in this simple prayer and be amazed at what God can do through you!

How to Pray for an End to Abortion

John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000, was a long-time pro-life advocate. As he was praying to understand why efforts in the pro-life cause were not garnering the expected results, he came upon the Scripture passage: “This kind of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Cardinal O’Connor realized the need to return to these spiritual weapons to root out the forces seeking to destroy life. Prayer remains critical to ending Planned Parenthood’s atrocities in our nation.

Power of Prayer

Prayer is the most important weapon we have to end abortion; we cannot underestimate the power prayer has. We see the example of Jesus in the Gospels who regularly prayed to the Father, particularly before his baptism and Transfiguration and before his prayerPassion. In prayer, we engage in a profound dialogue with God, uniting our will with His will. We place our trust in God, who knows us intimately and loves us beyond our comprehension.

Yet, it can sometimes feel ineffective against the tragedies we see in the CMP videos. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of prayer in earthly terms so that when we see another young woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic, we feel defeated. However, we may be unaware of the effects our prayer truly has; there are countless stories of women choosing life for their child because of prayers that were offered for them, even if they didn’t know they were being prayed for at the time. Truly, we will not know the extent of how we have helped to save lives through prayer in this life.

“Teach Us to Pray”

So how can we be prayer warriors?

First, we can follow the directives of Jesus, who, when asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, told them the parable of the friend who asks at midnight for three loaves of bread. Jesus tells them, “If he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” (Luke 11:8) Jesus goes on to tell the disciples:

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be open. (Luke 11:9-10)

We learn from Jesus that we must not become discouraged but rather be persistent in prayer. We know, in faith, that God grants what is good for us and if cannot answer us, it, too, is for our benefit.

For what shall we pray? We can pray to intercede for those who are at risk of abortion, the parents who are contemplating abortion, and those who work in the abortion industry. Numerous prayer resources for the cause of life are available. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat offers many pro-life prayers for individual or group settings.

Finally, borrowing from Nike: Just do it! Make time for prayer. Don’t get so caught up in “doing it right” that you don’t do it at all.