Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput announced Monday the launch of Project Rachel that will include a partnership with Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry for healing men and women who have been victims of abortion.
Rachel’s Vineyard co-founder Kevin Burke, a pastoral associate of Priests for Life, and Doylestown Rachel’s Vineyard site leader Evelyn Walsh attended the press conference at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. Two alumni of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa offered their testimonies, sharing powerful accounts of their suffering after abortion but also the deep emotional and spiritual healing they experienced from the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat weekend and the ministry of the Church.
Archbishop Chaput thanked them for their courage and willingness to share their experience in hope of reaching out to others in need of the mercy. The archbishop also thanked Mr. Burke and Ms. Walsh for the ministry of Rachel’s Vineyard in the Archdiocese.
“Rachel’s Vineyard is excited to be a partner in this new launching of Project Rachel and to be part of this comprehensive outreach of Project Rachel to bring healing to women and men wounded by abortion loss,” said Mr. Burke, a licensed social worker and an authority on men and abortion. “In addition to Sacramental Reconciliation, the diocesan-based Project Rachel ministry provides a broad range of services including pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, support groups, referrals to licensed therapists, and healing retreats such as Rachel’s Vineyard.
“Rachel’s Vineyard will be working closely with archdiocesan Project Rachel Coordinator Estela Reyes-Bugg to establish Spanish language Rachel’s Vineyard retreats in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.”
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard, said he was grateful to the Philadelphia Archdiocese and to Archbishop Chaput.
“One of the greatest joys of my pro-life ministry is to serve as pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard throughout the world, and to see the collaboration of many dioceses — including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where the Rachel’s Vineyard international headquarters is located,” Fr. Pavone explained. “As I’ve often reminded people, Rachel’s Vineyard enjoys the strong personal support of Pope Francis, who, during one of my conversations with him about our ministry, exclaimed, “Rachel’s Vineyard is a wonderful work… it is excellent… go forward with that!” With the collaboration of dioceses like Philadelphia, we will certainly fulfill the Holy Father’s exhortation.”