NEW YORK — The National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life has called for the establishment of June as “Abortion and Acts of Violence Awareness Month,” according to a press release.
Beverly A. Carroll, assistant director of cultural diversity for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, said June “is a good time to raise up the importance of life and denounce violence.
“As Pope Benedict XVI said, violence and cynicism so often seem to choke the fragile growth of grace in people’s hearts,” she said.
Franciscan Father James Goode, president of NBCAL, called the effort “a prayerful, conscious awareness, sustained effort of converting hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life — one life at a time.”
He also quoted Pope Benedict, from his 2008 visit to the United States, when he said “the church is called to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life and to promote a culture of life.”
As part of its efforts to stop violence and end abortion, the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life suggested the following:
• Encourage prayers for peace and an end to abortion during intercessory prayer at Mass and say the “Prayer for Life” daily. It is located at www.blackcatholicsforlife.org.
• Sponsor a special forum for youth to discuss abortion, an end to violence, gangs and gang activity through parish and diocesan youth ministry initiatives and/or Junior Knights and Daughters of St. Peter Claver and St. John.
• Offer initiatives with and among youth that foster self-esteem and family togetherness, especially through retreats and service ministry.
• Support Neighborhood Watch groups that encourage peaceful resolutions to community issues.
• Contact and become acquainted with efforts sponsored by your local Respect Life Office.
• Contact the NBCAL at firstname.lastname@example.org to share the efforts pursued this month, or for information go to www.blackcatholicsforlife.org.
The NBCAL was inaugurated in the fall of 1997, with the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and the Franciscan Solid Ground Ministry as sponsors and with the support of Cardinal John O’Connor, archbishop of New York and the Archdiocese’s Office of Black Ministry.
In the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., Kathleen Merritt, director of ethnic ministry, said the topic will be discussed at the Black Catholics Day of Reflection, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 6. It is hosted by St. James the Greater Mission, 3087 Ritter Road in Walterboro.
For information about the Day of Reflection call (864) 242-2233 ext. 209.