Cherish Life Network is launched
The diocesan ‘Cherish Life Network’ members met on Saturday 20th February at DABCEC for a valuable event that challenged and inspired the 31 people present. Fr Terry Martin opened the session with prayers on the Theme of Cherish Life, reflecting on Psalm 139 and 1 Corinthians 13: 16-17. Bishop Richard welcomed the group and shared some personal stories which have made him passionate about all life issues. He concluded with a call to recognize the gifts God has given us so that we can do all what we can to support life in all its fullness and advising us all to ‘keep with it’.
The key speaker was Dr Pia Matthews who identified Jesus as being at the centre of all we do and think. She said we have a message of hope and cherishing life is embedded into our tradition. The Cherish Life network is a place to discuss difficult issues, grow in education and find answers. It is also a way of building on the hope and joy we already have. Pia concluded with saying “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).
Following Pia was Stephen Sharpe the Chief Executive Officer for LIFE. Stephen suggested that all pro-life groups should unite and pool resources to make the biggest impact. In particular, this would enable these groups to better assist the Church to ensure that clergy are able confidently to refer those with problems connected to pregnancy or suffering after an abortion to appropriate resources.
Pauline Gately (pictured), the network co-ordinator, distributed the Cherish Life Network Questionnaire and outlined the network purposes:
In accordance with the Church’s teaching, and in the spirit of St John Paul II’s encyclical the Gospel of Life, to work to protect all human life from conception to natural death by:
- Making best use of existing ‘pro-life’ resources within the Diocese through networking and mutual support and ensuring that priests and others in the ‘front line’ are aware of these resources.
- Discussion with those on the ‘front line’ and others to establish needs and gaps in provision and work with the network and others to supply these.
- Increasing awareness of and engagement in all aspects of pro-life work and supporting priests in this work.
- Encouraging and facilitating spiritual activities in support of this work.
Pauline said the Network is now open to new members and questionnaires were distributed so that those present could take them back to their parishes and invite others to join. She suggested that deanery groups could be developed with people from across the diocese working together, deanery by deanery to support each other in building these.
The sessions ended with a question and answer with all the speakers, and Fr Terry led us in closing prayers centred around Ephesians 2: 4-10.
We now want the network, in the spirit of unity, to help us all continue and develop our essential work to protect human life.
If you would like to learn more about joining this network, completing a questionnaire or other Justice & Peace initiatives please contact Aidan Cantwell, our Adviser, t 01293 651154 e firstname.lastname@example.org