Jubilee Year of Mercy is a Time to Heal the Scars of Abortion
Rachel’s Vineyard retreats for post-abortion healing are scheduled for April 15-17, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Retreat Center in Wheeling, W.Va., and Nov. 4-6, 2016, at Saint John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston, W.Va. The retreats are sponsored by Catholic Charities West Virginia.
The retreats are open to people of all faiths. Organizers recognize the importance of planning retreats for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy that begins this December and ends in November 2016. In a letter Sept. 1, Pope Francis says, “…the Holy Year [is] to be for all believers a true moment of encounter with the Mercy of God.”
In that spirit, the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats provide a spiritual opportunity for women and men suffering the pain and regret of abortion to experience healing and forgiveness; to share their stories, often for the first time, in a safe place and without judgment. It allows them to acknowledge their unborn child and openly grieve the loss. “The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented…” Pope Francis states in the letter.
Pope Francis recognizes, in the letter, the circumstances of immaturity or hopelessness that may have existed when a person made the choice to abort their child; that a devastating scar remains on the heart from this profoundly unjust decision; and “yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope.”