Resources for Priests & Deacons

Help your members experience spiritual & emotional healing after abortion

On this page:

Suggestions for Succesful Communication

FAQ

Helpful Websites

Recommended Reading

What Others Say

Do you find it difficult to talk to your members about abortion? You may find these suggestions helpful.

From the Pulpit

When you try to address the topic of abortion, it might feel like you’re walking into a field of landmines. Many churches discuss these topics especially on Respect Life Sunday or the anniversary of Roe vs Wade.

Here are a few helpful ideas when addressing abortion topics:

 

  • Know that you have members and parishoniers who have lost children to abortion: moms, dads, grandparents, and other relatives.
  • Approximately 1 out of 4 of women in America have had at least one abortion, and every one of these babies had a father and other family members.
  • Speak from a place of reassurance and compassion. Sharing love and forgiveness reinforces your message of God’s love and mercy to each person.
  • You could say things like these:
    • “If you’ve had an abortion, come and see me. I will help you.”
    • “God cannot stop loving you.”
    • “Abortion does not separate you from God. God offers forgiveness and mercy for the mothers, fathers, and families of aborted babies.”
  • See our quotes page for testimonials that you can share from people who had abortions but then experienced Christ’s forgiveness.
  • You already pray the petition for an end to abortion. Also offer prayers for the moms, dads, and grandparents who have lost children to abortion. OR Pray for an end to abortion, but also pray for the moms, dads, and grandparents who have lost children to abortion. Prayer is a great way to start as it will show your members that you are aware that there are many victims of abortion, not just the children.
  • Consider serving on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for all or part of a weekend. The experience will give you greater insight into the complex trauma of abortion loss and the confidence to walk with moms, dads, and others in their healing journey.

When you are face-to-face with those who have had abortion experiences:

  • Be aware that confession and counseling are not always enough to help people experience healing from the deep pain of abortion.
  • Realize that abortion is very traumatic and healing often requires more than talk therapy.
  • Be prepared to offer information on healing ministries and refer them to Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities. Contact us for brochures or business cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Rachel’s Vineyard offer spiritual and emotional healing after abortion?
  • With the help of the Holy Spirit, Rachel’s Vineyard retreats provide a safe place and a process for healing abortion trauma through scripture, prayer, discussion, and action.
  • The weekend progresses through a series of spiritual exercises called “Living Scriptures”. Each exercise begins with a scripture reading followed by a meditation. These are designed to help attendees place themselves in the story to hear Jesus’ message to them. The meditations help to reinforce the message of the scripture. 
  • The retreats are guided by 3-4 team members, a licensed professional counselor, and 1 or 2 priests. The majority of our team members are trained past retreatants themselves who joined us after experiencing healing on their own retreat.
Why should the church help those who have had abortions?
  • Those who have been healed of the shame and trauma of abortion return to God. In turning back to God, they often return to the church, and they often bring their spouse and children with them.
  • Healing the wounded heals the body of Christ, the Church.
  • Jesus has said, “Those who have been forgiven the most, love the most.” These healed people will become some of the most vibrant life-giving members of your church!

Helpful Websites

The Good Shepherd Project

Explore “The Good Shepherd Project” offered by Priests for Life. This is a good resource for learning more about how to strengthen your parish and how to help your parishioners heal.

Recommended Reading

The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing
by David C. Reardon (useful for priests and ministers on how to talk to their congregation)

Sharing the Heart of Christ; for Clergy, Counselors, and Laity in Post Abortion Ministry
by Kevin Burke

Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion
by Theresa Burke and David Reardon. (more clinical)

Helping Women Recover from Abortion
by Nancy Michels

Psycho-Spiritual Healing After Abortion
by Douglas R. Crawford & Michael T. Mannion

Additional book recommendations are available on the post-abortion resources page

What Others Say

“The healing achieved through the outpouring of God’s mercy and compassion is extraordinary…. one person at a time, souls are rehabilitated and forever grateful.”

~ Father Michael Becker

“You are put in touch with the mystery of suffering, redemption and healing of the soul… You can see Christ working in the retreat, in the people and in yourself. It is a jolt of faith.”

~ Father Jim Livingston

“Don’t be afraid to ask God for forgiveness. He never tires of forgiving us. God is pure mercy.” 

~ Pope Francis

“Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the sacrament of Reconciliation.”

~ Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 99

“Many women and men carry the wounds and scars of an abortion from their past. God’s desire for them is that they would know his merciful love and healing. Rachel’s Vineyard retreats offer women and men a safe, confidential, powerful, opportunity to receive the healing love of Christ into the painful experiences of their past. Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities makes present the compassion of Christ to all who come at whatever stage they find themselves in processing their past. This apostolate performs an essential part of the Church’s pro-life, pro-woman, care for those who have been wounded by abortion.”

~ Bishop Andrew Cozzens