Friday, August 15, 2014

Spirit and Life: Helping CAMs Save Lives for 25 Years

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:14-17)
The Apostle James urges us to not just believe in something, but to put our faith in action. Twenty-five years ago, Jorge Serrano felt an urgent need to do something about the growing threat against human life. Like many pro-life Catholics, he believed -- and still believes -- that every life is precious, and must be protected at all stages from conception to natural death. In fact, many times he courageously defended his belief in the public square.
Shortly after attending a pro-life conference sponsored by Human Life International in New Orleans in April of 1989, Jorge found himself in a public debate with a radical feminist. She was aggressively defending the right of a woman to have a doctor kill her unborn child. "What are you doing for the woman who wants to have an abortion?" she demanded.
With a pierced heart, Jorge considered the options available around Mexico City for women facing desperate situations. How many women choose abortion, the only option, as a remedy to their dilemma? He turned to the Bible, specifically, to James 2:14-17, for an answer.
Two months later, Jorge and his team of pro-life volunteers began their heroic efforts to build a Culture of Life. They launched an outreach program with a telephone help hotline and advertisements in the local newspapers: "Unexpected pregnancy? There is a solution. Call us."
On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, the first woman arrived at their fledgling pro-life headquarters, the first Center for the Help of Women (Centro Ayudar Mujeres, or CAM). She received a pledge of support in her desperate time of need. Jorge and his team assured her that she was not alone, and their lives - hers and that of her unborn child -- were precious. Through the center, they helped her acquire healthcare, clothing and other resources she would need.
By January 1990, the center was flourishing. Jorge and his team successfully founded additional CAMs in Monterrey, Guadalajara and Puebla. Reaching beyond Mexico, they opened centers in El Salvador and Argentina from 1994-1995. Twenty-five years later, 146 CAMs have helped over 214,000 women throughout Latin America.
Isn't it amazing what one person can do to build a Culture of Life? Our support of human life is manifested in what we actually do - in our personal witness and action. When Jorge was confronted with that defining question, his response was to do more than just defend human life in words.
You can't imagine the persecution Jorge and his family face today. Risking everything, his conscience impels him to keep proclaiming the Gospel of Life. Jorge is a humble man of deep faith, glorifying God in all the victories for life won by the CAMs. He has inspired hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people throughout Latin America to get involved in the defense of life. Jorge's faith in action grew from his participation in HLI's pro-life conference so many years ago.
Today, I am deeply honored to be in Mexico City with Jorge, his wife Magdalena, his family, CAMs directors and staff, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the first CAM Center. Throughout the years, Jorge has always expressed gratitude to Father Marx and HLI for continuing support in the defense of life and family. HLI congratulates Jorge and his fellow servants of Life for stepping out in faith and trust - and heroic good works. May their inspirational achievements endure and cultivate the Culture of Life in all Latin American communities.
CAMs, Centers for Helping Women, save Lives!
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr Boquet120px
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

Beloved HLI Chaplain Announces the Acceptance of a New Apostolate
by Krista Thomas
Father Frank Papa, S.O.L.T., J.C.D., has begun a new apostolate as resident chaplain with Loving Arms, a faith-based assisted living and retirement community in Front Royal, Virginia. Father Papa was formerly the resident priest and chaplain for Human Life International, a grassroots pro-life and pro-family Catholic organization. The beloved priest, known for his Catholic orthodoxy, spent almost ten years compassionately serving HLI and the Catholic community of Front Royal.

Before Father Papa's ordination in 1989, the Bristol, Connecticut native spent 25 years working in youth ministry. He founded Teens Inc. in 1963, which grew to serve more than 500 young men. In 1968, he established and operated Teen Homes, a 10-year mission that housed and raised young men struggling from broken homes. [more]

From Ocean to Ocean

Canadians Warmly Receive the Black Madonna in Vancouver
by Father Peter West with Chris Morales
Our July 12 arrival at St. Casimir Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, marked our first return to Canada since we left Brampton, Ontario in mid-April. It was a welcome sight to see the Polish Mission Church in Vancouver overflowing with pilgrims who came to greet Our Lady of Czestochowa. Father Slawomir Oblak celebrated Mass and Father Wieslaw Narazuk, OMI, preached about the many times the Black Madonna has intervened in Polish history to aid her children. I then gave a brief explanation of the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life. Though it was very warm, the faithful stayed to venerate the icon in the unairconditioned church.

The next morning we brought the pilgrim icon to the Holy Rosary Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, home to almost 500,000 Catholics. I spoke to over 1,300 people about the Ocean to Ocean Campaign in Defense of Human Life. [more]
Veneration at the Holy Rosary Cathedral
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Follow Father West's pilgrimage with the Black Madonna...


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