My son Timothy, coordinator of the Bethesda Healing Ministry, writes about a recent training session for Catholic seminarians who, when they become priests, want to more effectively counsel and minister to women who have had abortions.
Formation Day on October 4th, which included talks and presentations on topics related to post-abortion ministry, mass, testimonies from several women who have gone through the healing journey with Bethesda and now serve as Companions for others, and a panel discussion with Q&A. Theresa Shively, the Companion Coordinator for Bethesda, facilitated the day’s events and Fr Dean Mathewson, Bethesda’s Ministry Chaplain, offered advice to the seminarians on how they might incorporate these ideas into their priestly ministry in the future, teaching them how to approach and handle pastoral situations with the heart of Christ, and how to make sure the mercy of God does in fact reach souls. These were priests and future priests once more listening to the heart of Christ.
Nowhere was this more evident than when the Companions gave their testimonies. These women shared with everyone present their heart-rending stories of having made the sorrowful decision to abort their babies, the subsequent grief it caused them, and the effect it had on their lives. They spoke of the painful period – often years — when they struggled and grieved until they finally came to rediscover the love and forgiveness of God. They summoned the courage to start on the difficult journey of healing. They sought to come home to be made whole, to be forgiven. And they were.
There was not a dry eye in the room as these women spoke from the heart.
Afterward, one seminarian commented, “Now I know what my priesthood is for; now I know what it’s all about.” His classmates nearby all agreed and voiced similar sentiments. (continue reading)
NB: If you’d like to be in touch with Tim about this vital apostolate (timothymadrid at gmail dot com),visit http://bethesdahealing.org.