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The Deacon's Bench

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is launching a new ministry to reach out to men affected by abortion — and deacons are involved in coordinating it.

From the St. Louis Review:

Project Joseph will provide free, confidential professional counseling, spiritual direction and retreats for men who either have been directly involved in an abortion experience, or affected by a loved one’s previous abortion experience. The first daylong retreat will take place in St. Louis next month.

Project Joseph is being coordinated by the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate, in cooperation with the permanent deacons of the archdiocese.

While post-abortion ministry always has been a critical part of the work of the Respect Life Apostolate, said director Beth Lauver, the apostolate is looking forward to expanding this ministry to more directly approach men.

“The introduction of Project Joseph will hopefully help to more formally bring to light and ease the pain of the fathers of aborted children,” said Lauver. “It’s certainly a very different kind of grief from what mothers experience, simply because it doesn’t involve the physical procedure. The loss is still just as deep and painful, though”

More than a dozen permanent deacons have volunteered to assist with planning efforts. Deacon Alan Whitson, who is helping to coordinate the September retreat, said that permanent deacons make a perfect match with this ministry.

The format of the retreat, he said, is “men for men.” In addition to making a priest available for Mass and Reconciliation, a member of the laity will share his personal reflections and insights on the subject. Deacons also will be on hand that day.

“The family is under tremendous attack from virtually every corner,” said Deacon Whitson, who serves at St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Ellisville. “The family is vital to society and the Church. Abortion, I believe, is probably the most devastating” issue.

You can read more at the link.

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