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My name is Phyllis Young. When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion. It was the worst decision I had ever made in my entire life. For almost 30 years, I suffered in silence, with the shame, guilt, pain, loss and isolation that comes after an abortion. Several years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat! There, I experienced the profound mercy, healing and restoration that only God can give! I was given the chance to name and give honor and dignity to the baby I lost through my choice of abortion. I now have a great passion to help others who’ve had an abortion. I’ve since been trained, approved by and joined the worldwide ministry of post-abortion retreats called, Rachel’s Vineyard. Sister Nancy Boushey, along with Sisters Fran and Luella, have welcomed us with open arms and every means of possible support, to their Benedictine Monastery of the Good Shepherd just outside of Rio Grande City. There, they have provided us with a perfect setting for these retreats where men and women alike can come for a weekend retreat away from it all. So, for those of you who have had an abortion and need healing, this is your time! Consider this your personal invitation.

This is your time to heal and receive God’s forgiveness and mercy! This is your time, to be rid of the pain and suffering and to start the amazing life that God has truly intended for you all along! This is your time to give your baby a name, as well as, the honor, dignity and respect that they deserve! I speak from my heart and from my own experience. Know that all has been prepared with great care and with much prayer for you. The Benedictine Monastery is the beautiful oasis that has been chosen for these retreats. When you step onto the grounds you feel that you’re truly stepping upon holy ground. Here, you will find a safe non-judgmental atmosphere in which to heal. Although this is a Catholic retreat, all are welcome. We will celebrate Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available. All meals are provided. If the cost of the retreat is an issue, please let us know. All inquiries are confidential! Please call me at the above number or email me at the email address above! Take courage, Jesus is calling you!

Catherine Garza Hake

By: Catherine Garza Hake Director of McAllen Pregnancy Center

As with all things in life, my understanding of the pro-life ministry and mission has grown more complicated as I’ve grown older. My first experiences with the pro-life ministry and what “prolifers” do are probably a bit different from those of most. When I was four years old, my father took me to the abortion clinic in Harlingen. I remember it was near a fast food restaurant. I remember it was hot outside and we were there to pray for the babies- that was about the extent of my understanding. I remember my father explaining to me that they would kill babies in that building. I can’t remember his explanation for why; all that really stuck with me was that they were killing babies. So, there I stood, with my sign featuring a baby seal, right next to my daddy. As I grew older, I picked up snippets of adult conversations about abortion and continued to find myself at health fairs surrounded by plastic baby models, at life chains and on that same sidewalk near that fast food restaurant. I knew abortion was wrong. I had been raised to believe that a fetus in the womb was a baby; a unique human life that deserved For Advertisement call: (956) 295-1458 or (956) 295-1460

a chance to live. But, abortion remained an abstract concept. I didn’t know anyone who was pro-abortion. The women who went into the abortion clinic were faceless. I was pro-life with no real understanding of what that meant. My first close encounter with abortion was in high school. I heard whisperings from friends talking about seeking or having abortions. I know at least two who actually did. I remember looking for the words to say no, but suddenly, I found myself the contradiction of the group’s thinking. I was the one who was wrong for saying no to abortion. I wish I had had more to offer than a feeble, “abortion is wrong” statement. I continued knowing that abortion was wrong, but for the first time, I found myself looking for more powerful whys than “because my daddy said so.” My college studies in the areas of developmental biology and philosophy and theology of science lead me to my own personal answers. I could say that based on biology and what science considers a human person, “Abortion ends a unique human life.” I found

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Find Your VOICE For Pro-Life that philosophically, “Abortion is counter to the common good.” But, perhaps more importantly, I realized that we are morally obligated to seek an end to abortion, care for women in need and forgive those who have already chosen abortion. I was lucky that I had been granted an education at a Catholic university which fostered my growth as an intellectual pro-life Catholic, but I knew that once I left my safe haven, I would once again find myself on the outside as the “lifer.” After college, I joined the Peace Corps and served in a large Southeastern African country. Peace Corps girls would discuss the program’s policy of sending pregnant volunteers back to the U.S. either to have an abortion and return to service or to continue the pregnancy and not be allowed back. I was surprised that this was the unspoken meaning of an official policy. Other volunteers were surprised by how quickly some of our peers knew that they would rather have an abortion than be impeded of their dreams. But, the thing I really struggled with was how could I, as a woman and a woman who has fought for the rights of women, argue that a woman should be forced to have a child just because she found herself pregnant? That was when I realized that I had been looking at abortion and pro-life from the wrong angle. When pro-lifers talk about abortion, we talk about the baby. When


pro-abortion advocates talk about abortion, they talk about the woman. We each tend to get so wrapped up in the woman or the baby that we forget about or turn a blind eye to the other. Abortion is not just about the slaughter of the innocents, nor is it just about women’s liberation and rights. Abortion is about families of women, men and children. We cannot be pro-life and forget to support the woman. After a woman agrees that she is carrying a baby, her baby, to be pro-life we must do all that we can to support and nurture her in any way that we can, including prayer. After a baby is born, we must accept that child into our communities and into our families and offer to them what we can, including our prayers. We must encourage men to support their partners in a loving and caring way, including through our prayers. We must remember that abortion is harmful to women, their children, their partners who suffer alongside them and to our society as a whole. As such, we each must find our voice for pro-life. Some of us are called to offer our prayers while some are called to be a presence at the sidewalks outside of the abortion mills. Others amongst us may be called to counsel, advocate, share our experiences, volunteer, plan events or donate baby items. There is a place for every voice and every talent in this ministry. The true beauty of this ministry is that every word and action pg. 8

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The following is an interview with Ruben Rosales, Director of Sidewalk Counselors in the Upper Valley. He reflects on his struggles, growth and blessings from this ministry.

about the McAllen Pregnancy Center. They will be informed about all the free resources available to them and their unborn child.

The prayer warrior will stay in MC411: What is a pro-life prayer warrior? How does it differ from being constant prayer up until the time they start talking and then return to a sidewalk counselor, or does it? Tell prayer immediately once they are done us about your situation. sharing this information. If they were able to persuade the individual(s) to Ruben: A pro-life prayer warrior is visit the McAllen Pregnancy Center, someone that is in constant prayer for they may offer to walk with them as the those involved in a difficult situation center is only two blocks away. that may have a family, a couple, or an individual contemplating an abortion. Sidewalk counselors are willing and Prayer warriors will pray in front of readily available to approach anyone the abortion clinic and are a witness and are prepared to accept rejection to society of God’s love, mercy, and as well as a successful outcome. They forgiveness. The joy of a prayer warrior realize this is a spiritual battle and is to pray for the well being of both the enemy will use any ploy to try mother and child. So, as a prayer and discourage them from trying to warrior, no interaction with anyone is save that unborn child. Let me share necessary and some people are content with you my first venture from prayer with this ministry. warrior to sidewalk counselor. On this particular day, I was praying alone at However, prayer warriors that feel the abortion clinic and there were no the Holy Spirit calling them to sidewalk counselors present. Girls were approach someone walking towards just going in to the abortion clinic and the abortion clinic can do so. They there was no one to offer information will lovingly share the information


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Finding Yourself On The Sidewalk

to them about other options. There was no one there to inform them about the choices and the services that are available at the McAllen Pregnancy Center which is located just two blocks away. With that, I promised myself I’d start sidewalk counseling, even if it meant being humiliated in front of my friends. MC411: Ruben, tell us about your initial introduction into the prayer vigils at the abortion clinic. Ruben: In April of 2009, a lady approached my wife, Irene and I, after Mass and asked if we would be interested in participating in a prayer vigil in front of the abortion clinic in McAllen. I thought the idea was a very noble one and we told her we’d be there. We put it off for three months before we actually went in July. You see, even though I am pro-life, I knew that abortions were legal and I just might be wasting my time standing out there. Was it even going to make a difference? That was what went through my mind back then. Can you imagine that? That was my basic Catholic, “mind my own business” mentality. I am so happy the Holy Spirit inspired us to go and begin our pro-life journey. I have seen the difference that our presence makes. I have experienced the impact we make when I see a person change their mind and not enter the abortion clinic. I know now by the many babies that have been saved by sidewalk counselors and prayer warriors that we do make a difference and I thank God for allowing us to experience this wonderful blessing.

MC411: Tell our readers what happened or what you experienced on those first few days that made you want to continue? Ruben: As we prayed our rosary, on one of the first days, we saw some other ladies praying as well, but they were standing towards the back of the clinic. We noticed that they would approach girls coming to the clinic and offer them some literature. Well, I later found out that they are referred to as “sidewalk counselors.” The rosary only took us about 30 minutes to pray so we decided that next time, we would also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, as well. The following week, the same ladies were there. While praying, a young girl was going into the clinic and walked right in front of us! One of the sidewalk counselors approached her and, before she could say a word, the girl cussed at her and told her to get away. The sidewalk counselor stepped back and respectfully responded with some kind and caring words. Right then and there, I knew that I definitely did not want to do that. Although, I will tell you this: what left an amazing impression on me that day was to see this same lady, with the biggest smile and warmest heart, continue to approach girls walking into the abortion clinic trying to change their minds. I knew it would be tough, but I had the desire to be courageous and express the Christian love that this counselor so beautifully demonstrated to complete strangers. MC411: You just said, “I knew it would be tough,” but how tough was it? pg. 10

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Lord God, Author of Life and Source of Eternal Life, move the hearts of all our public officials and especially our President, to fulfill their responsibilities worthily and well to all those entrusted to their care. Help them in their special leadership roles, to extend the mantle of protection to the most vulnerable, especially the defenseless unborn, whose lives are threatened with extermination by an indifferent society.


The Angel Gabriel came to Mary saying, “Rejoice, so highly favored. The Lord is with you. Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.” Mary accepted God’s plan, and was overjoyed to conceive the Son of God. Her womb became a holy tabernacle.

Mary, we pray that all mothers who are with child will respect their privilege as you did. We pray that the laws of nations and social attitudes will encourage all expectant mothers and protect their unborn babies. May all expectant mothers proclaim, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me.” Mary, you know that God alone gives the gift of life. Help all abortionists to realize that only God has the right to take life.


Mary had heard from Gabriel of Elizabeth becoming pregnant, despite her advanced years. And so the Holy Virgin went to stay with her. “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” exclaimed Elizabeth. The two holy women treasured the new lives growing within them. Mary and Elizabeth and John the Baptist, please pray to Jesus that our society will treasure every human life from conception till natural death.


Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, in obedience to the command of Caesar Augustus. Mary’s time had come, but only a stable was available for lodging. There was no room at the inn.

Mary, in our day there are many expectant mothers with no proper place to have and raise their children. Society would rather they Guide all destroyed the child instead. Grant courage public officials by your to those in such need, and teach wisdom and grace to cease our civil authorities to act supporting any law that fails to protect humanely and rethe fundamental good that is human life itself, sponsibly.

which is a gift from God and parents.

You are the Protector and Defender of the lives of the innocent unborn. Change the hearts of those who compromise the call to protect and defend life. Bring our nation to the values that have made us a great nation, a society that upholds the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Mary, the Mother of the living, help us to bear witness to the Gospel of Life with our lives and our laws, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


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HUMAN SACRIFICE THEN AND NOW Some nine million Aztecs were converted to Christ by the power of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At that time, the Aztec peoples were practicing human sacrifice. As a result of the image’s presence among the people, their hearts were converted to the true God and the practice of human sacrifice was abolished. A key theological dynamic operating here is that Our Lady turned the Aztecs from a worldview of despair to one of hope, from a conviction that the gods were against them to a conviction that God was so much for them that He became one of them. We can listen to stories of Aztecs cutting out their victims’ hearts or placing their heads on poles and say, “Oh, how terrible that was!” But America is not doing any better, as the hearts and heads of innocent babies are destroyed by abortion! The image is therefore being used again to change the hearts of our people.

4. THE

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Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, in obedience to the law of Moses. They presented the Child to God, his Father. Simeon rejoiced to see the light of the world, but spoke also of Jesus as a sign of contradiction, and foretold the sword of sorrow that would pierce Mary’s heart.

We pray that all babies be privileged to come to birth and then to baptism in their parish Church. May all mothers praise and thank God for their children.


On coming of age Jesus’ first act is to be about his Father’s business. His second is to submit himself to Mary and Joseph as an act of free and mature deliberation. His three days’ absence from them foreshadows his absence in the tomb. Mary treasures all these things in her heart. Her Son has given her much to ponder. Jesus, teach all mothers to choose to be with their children and renounce the violent separation of abortion. Comfort all those who suffer the separation of bereavement.

Imprimatur: January 22, 2009 Most Reverend Robert J. Baker - Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama

For instructions on how to pray the Rosary go to

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in support of life contributes to the saving of innocent children, their mothers and their fathers. Every day, I continue to see the effects of abortion on women and children and in the face of so much pain and anguish, I thank God to be blessed with the more hopeful visions provided by the prayer warriors on the sidewalk, the counselors at McAllen Pregnancy Center and the smiling children who were once in danger of being aborted. The more I see and the more I learn, the more I grow in my convictions that abortion is wrong, it hurts children and it severely wounds women in irreparable ways. I have


Find Your VOICE For Pro-Life been blessed to find my voice for pro-life. Have you found yours?

Biography: Catherine Garza Hake is the current director of McAllen Pregnancy Center, a Catholic pro-life pregnancy resource center located in downtown McAllen. Catherine is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. She still prays outside of the abortion clinic in McAllen next to her dad.

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Ruben: That is an article all in itself, but very briefly, it was a horrific experience. In retrospect, I realize I was at fault for that. I wanted to succeed and convince everyone going into the clinic not to do so. I was so hard on myself whenever I was rejected. My ego would come home much deflated. I started looking at myself and asking God to help me to see this ministry the way He wanted me to see it and approach it that way. The director of sidewalk counseling at the time was Yolanda Chapa. She shared with me a very special thought. She said, “Ruben, the love you show these girls and their unborn babies is the only love these babies will ever experience before being killed!” This statement made a profound impact on


Finding Yourself On The Sidewalk

me. It was like an epiphany for me and it all seemed to come together in light of an article I had just read. I received the article from Ronnie Cantu, a fellow Knight. The article expressed that we are not asked to succeed in our effort to defend life, but only to try. The article shared the thought that someday, these same babies will be our advocates when we face God in our judgment. It was a true revelation for my ego as to who might be saving whom, and it was a prayerful journey that I experienced in God’s time of a little over a year. For the rest of this interview, please visit and for more information on sidewalk counseling, please Contact Ruben Rosales at (956) 605-4242.

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Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, Ph.D. and her husband Mike became active in the pro-life movement in 1973, housed the first of many pregnant girls in 1975, and started a pregnancy center in Columbus, Ohio, in 1981. Peggy became President of Heartbeat International in 1993. *Names used in this article have been changed.

Ana had changed her mind. At the last moment she got up from the abortionist’s table and walked out, knowing that her decision to spare her child’s life also meant that she’d be deserted by her boyfriend and her parents. Ana felt scared and alone. Searching desperately for help, she found a small pregnancy help center with a volunteer named Grace who provided ongoing love and support during this lonely and difficult time. This kind of love and support is offered again and again in over 3,700 pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, and related ministries (including pro-life social services, maternity homes, and nonprofit adoption agencies) in the United States. Some of these organizations were formed in the late 1960’s, when a handful of states began to decriminalize abortion under narrow circumstances. After the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion for any reason, the number of pregnancy centers multiplied dramatically. Since then, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have served unselfishly in this grassroots effort. Currently, over 70,000 people are actively assisting in pregnancy help centers in the United States. Among them are medical personnel, social workers, counselors, teachers, homemakers, young people, business people, and clergy. This continued, selfless outpouring of kindness is truly a movement of compassion. Heartbeat International hosts an online Worldwide Directory ( of resources in the United States and the nearly 2,000 additional ones around the world. Option Line (, 1-800-712-HELP) connects people in need with life-saving help, 7 days per week, in both English and Spanish. Prolife pregnancy centers and related ministries operate on limited budgets—but with no limits on love—in responding to the wounded and suffering, just as the Good Samaritan did. Now contrast this free, generous, lifeaffirming, and multi-faceted response of Catholics and other Christians with the response offered by the abortion industry. We respond to the “crisis” with love for both the


SECRETARIAT OF PRO-LIFE ACTIVITIES United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 3211 Fourth Street NE • Washington, DC 20017-1194 Tel: (202) 541-3070 • Fax: (202) 541-3054

Excerpts from The Gospel of Life (1995) and God Is Love (2005) are used with permission of Libreria Editrice Vaticana. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C.

mother and child, doing all that we can to eliminate the crisis, while the abortion industry offers to eliminate the child. And by taking the life of a child, the industry answers a short-term challenge (continuing the pregnancy through birth and adoption placement, for example) by creating what can become a life-long crisis for the child’s mother, father, and others involved in the decision. Many of the parents and grandparents of aborted children now seek counseling to cope with their grief and remorse. Many have endured their anxiety and selfloathing for decades. Planned Parenthood’s own figures illustrate the industry’s response to crisis pregnancy better than any words can. In 2010, the country’s largest abortion provider performed 329,445 abortions. It referred exactly 841 women to adoption agencies. That works out to 392 abortions To volunteer or support a for every adoption pregnancy center contact: referral. Planned McALLEN PREGNANCY Parenthood’s CENTER “prenatal clients” 717 S. 12th McAllen, TX have steadily (956) 631-4585 declined over the PREGNANCY TESTING years, so much CENTERS: so that they now Mission, TX report “prenatal 216 E. Tom Landry services” rather (956) 519-9997 than clients. This Harlingen, TX 1902 Peace St., Ste. B makes it impossible (956) 423-4355 to track how few Brownsville, TX pregnant women 2390 Central Blvd., Ste. F they see through a (956) 546-0589 full-term pregnancy, Weslaco, TX 260 S. Texas Blvd., Ste. 305 but it is generally (956) 973-1691 estimated that between 91 and 97 percent of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood end up having an abortion.

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