Thursday, 15 January 2009

White Flower Appeal

The weekend was spent at the Parish of the Sacred Heart and St Oswald in Peterborough where I made SPUC's annual White Flower Appeal. I try to make the fundraising appeal at a different parish each year to take the pro-life message to new people. Parishioners tend to appreciate someone from an organisation specifically coming to visit their parish as opposed to just having a retiring collection at the end of Mass.

I go over to the parish for a Tuesday evening Mass when I can as it's only 45 minutes from Kettering and I know the parish priest, Fr Bruce Burbidge. When he said he was holding the appeal this year I offered to do it for him.

There were three Masses - one on Saturday night, one on Sunday morning and another at midday on Sunday. I managed to struggle through the Sunday Masses (having fallen ill overnight) and then had a big nap in the afternoon after it was all over.

The appeal has been held in Catholic (and other) Churches across the UK for about 30 years. It highlights the pressing pro-life issues of the day to lay folk and attempts to generate some income for the society's work. This year the appeal letter focused on three main themes; the right to conscientious objection for doctors and nurses, support for women suffering with their abortion experience and help for women in crisis pregnancy situations.

SPUC is launching a leaflet to GPs to give to patients who ask for an abortion. This gives women factual information about the development of their unborn child and what abortion and its aftermath really involve. It also includes details of organisations which offer help in a crisis pregnancy situation.

British Victims of Abortion, funded by the SPUC Educational Research Trust, offers a post-abortion helpline which provides counselling and support for women and men struggling to come to terms with an abortion experience, sometimes many years after the event. For more information, click here.

All doctors and nurses have a right – and we would say, a duty – not to be involved with abortion, but this right is being challenged by the pro-abortion lobby and the Department of Health. SPUC is launching a new support helpline for doctors facing pressure to participate in abortion and other anti-life practices. The appeal postcard contained a public declaration of support for medics who refuse to be involved in abortion. This will be sent to the General Medical Council and the Nursing & Midwifery Council.

The appeal in Peterborough made about £360 - a great effort from the parish there. I had a good chat with several people, some of whom had daughters having to fight for conscientious objection to abortion as medical students. Others were really sincere about their admiration for the work of the society and others were happy to simply put their change in the basket. I'd like to thank the parishioners for their generosity, whether they gave 1p or £20.

No comments: