Voices Online Edition
Vol. XIX No. 4 - Advent/Christmas 2004
This season, as we begin Women for Faith & Family's 21st year, we also launch a major change: we are "setting out into the deep" and moving to a new office!
Since September 1984, Women for Faith & Family has provided a public voice for Catholic women who understand and value the authentic role of women and the family in our culture and in the Church.
For the past twenty years we have publicly defended -- and promoted -- the real dignity of women and the deeply important truths connected with faith and family. We have done this "in season and out of season", in secular settings and media; we have done this within the Church, at meetings, at bishops' conferences, and in the Catholic media.
We have read reams of documents and reported on them. We have written articles and made public statements in order to keep people abreast of the important issues and challenges that affect our lives as women of faith and family. We have represented the real concerns of Catholic women on your behalf. And the need for our effort has continued to grow since 1984.
In addition to our magazine, Voices, WFF's ever-expanding web site provides not only timely articles and columns on topics of most concern to Catholic women and families, but also a useful interactive Calendar of the Liturgical Year, many Church documents, prayers and devotional pages, and an online magazine on bioethics, "About Medicine and Morality".
In May 2004 we created a unique new section on our web site, Catholics and Political Responsibility -- as the United States faced a crucial presidential election, and unprecedented challenges to Christian moral teaching on fundamental issues -- abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell and cloning research, and marriage. This web section includes relevant Church documents, statements of individual bishops, and selected commentary. A sample of the contents of "Catholics and Political Responsibility" was included in the Pentecost 2004 issue of Voices. No other web site had such a complete collection of statements of Catholic bishops! During the month of November alone, our web site had 524,000 "hits" -- a new record for us.
Unlike some other good sites, we never charge for anything on our web site. Our aim is to be of use to as many people as possible. (We wish we had space to tell you some stories of people who have told us that information from our web site had a profound effect on their faith!)
This year we have shipped thousands of prayer cards to our troops in Iraq. In 2003 we distributed 20,000 "Family Prayers for Advent" folders, and thousands of Christmas Novenas. We have also sent out hundreds of "welcome packets", containing Voices, Novena brochures and prayer cards. Perhaps your parish or pro-life group could make use of this service, too! Contact us for details, or see our web catalog.
We know from the many letters, phone calls, and requests that people are looking to us for leadership, helpful information, and practical advice. We have also learned by experience that many of the best things in life are NOT free. They often require a great deal of time, labor, prayer for guidance -- and financial support. We truly need your support and your prayers, and your financial help to maintain WFF's unique service.
In this issue of Voices, we present two recent important documents from the Holy See, which we strongly recommend for your careful study and reflection.
First, Pope John Paul II's Mane Nobiscum Domine ("Stay with us Lord"), his apostolic letter for this Year of the Eucharist, October 2004-2005. The Holy Father calls faithful Catholics to focus our thoughts with special intensity on the meaning of the Eucharist, and to renew our devotion to Christ Jesus who manifests Himself to us through the sacramental reality of His sacred Body and Blood at every Mass. Pope John Paul II stresses Eucharistic devotions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Our "sister" organization, Adoremus, has distributed nearly 80,000 copies of a booklet, The Holy Eucharist, that provides a basic guide for celebration of adoration and Benediction, traditional prayers and hymns in English and Latin. (See the ad on the inside front cover.)
Next October, this Year of the Eucharist will conclude with a Synod of Bishops on the crucial topic of the Eucharist, which is the "source and summit" of our live as Catholics.
The second document is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "On the Collaboration of Men in Women in the Church and in the World", released July 31 this year. Here the Holy See reviews the Church's theology of the natural relationship between men and women - a relationship that has been disfigured by original sin, causing skewed ideas of femininity and masculinity that lead both to domination/subordination distortions and feminist ideologies. The Letter stresses that "defense and promotion of equal dignity and common personal values must be harmonized with attentive recognition of the difference and reciprocity between the sexes".
The letter deserves careful study by all Catholic women, especially those involved actively in work for the Church. We recommend this document for small discussion groups.
If your study group or parish could use extra copies of this issue, we would be happy to send them to you (while our supply lasts), asking only for a donation to cover costs. The documents are also accessible on our web site.
Also in this issue is a brief report on the US bishops' November meeting that Susan Benofy and I attended. We will return to some of the bishops' actions and plans in a forthcoming issue.
God willing, we will be moving into our new office (with Adoremus) in January - and we hope to give a good a report on that major change next time!
Many of you can sympathize with the complexities of moving. Until now we have worked from "home offices"; so this is a new experience. We ask for your prayers -- and financial support -- for the work we do to bring the teachings of Christ and His Church to as many people as we can. We hope that you will consider helping us in one or all of the following ways:
- Make a special donation now to help us cover some of the expenses in relocating our office.
- Include WFF in your annual gift-giving budget by donating on a regular basis; for example, $10 monthly, $50 bi-monthly, or $100 quarterly. (We'll be happy to send you envelopes for this.)
- Spread the word about WFF and Voices and encourage others to join us in this work. You are free to duplicate the Affirmation for Catholic Women. Please send it to Catholic women you know who should have an opportunity to give this witness.
- Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit will guide all our work.
We deeply appreciate your encouragement and prayers, and your generosity in the past.
May the Lord richly bless you and yours during this Year of the Eucharist, and throughout the holy season of Advent and Christmastide.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Helen Hull Hitchcock
Women for Faith & Family
PS. If you can make quarterly or monthly donations, we will be happy to send envelopes to you for this purpose.
PPS. If you can use prayer cards or Novenas to send to others (or for your parish or prayer group), please contact us by phone or e-mail (or see our catalog on our web site).
PPPS. Our postal address and telephone number will not change when we move!
**Women for Faith & Family operates solely on your generous donations!
WFF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
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