A Different Lenten Preparation

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Normally, during this time of year, I find myself a willing participant in all things Catholic…from the Lenten observances of fasting and prayer to the Polish way of preparing for the Easter Triduum. I would spend more time at Adoration, meditating on the Stations of the Cross and enjoying the feeling of calm that comes with the advent of spring.

Yet this year is different. We are being summoned to action, not meditation. This year we are called to go forth and fight for our Church’s, and ultimately all denomination’s, right to Exercise Freely their Conscience. This year we need to gather information to use as ammunition to combat the growing cacophony of calls to force our Church to go against her teachings and not only fund, but ultimately supply, contraceptives, abortifacients, and free sterilization as part of the new Health and Human Services Mandate.

So, instead of attending daily evening Mass last night, I found myself listening to a panel discussion about the HHS Mandate. I found myself scribbling furiously, trying to write down sources and websites to visit, to educate myself on what is to come if this mandate is allowed to stand. More importantly I found myself surrounded by my fellow Catholics, who are ready to answer the call of the bishops.

I discovered that 20% of all healthcare institutions are run by Catholics. I was reminded of the thousands of children who were adopted through the Catholic Adoption Centers only to have them close one by one because certain organizations demanded the Catholic Adoption Centers allow couples of the same sex to adopt children. And I learned that the US Department of Health and Human Services, under Kathleen Sibelius, has reclassified pregnancy as a disease under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

My four children are the byproduct of a “disease”? I was “suffering” the effects of a disease when I experienced morning sickness, saw the ultrasound picture for the first time, and when my weight ballooned to….well, that’s not important is it? HHS and Kathleen Sibelius, believe it was the “disease” of pregnancy, four times over, and not God, that gave me the four wonderful caring individuals who love me, care about me, and who call me by that beautiful name – Mom!

So it was with pride that I stood in the basement of our Church and listened to those who educated us about the future of Catholic institutions such as Catholic Charities, Catholic universities, and Catholic hospitals in America if this mandate is allowed to stand as written, without any changes, contrary to the words of our president who said he had made “accommodations” for the Catholic Church. It was with pride that I realized our Church is standing strong in its pursuit of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act now before the Senate. And it is with complete confidence in His Divine Intercession we will be stand united, with our priests and bishops, as we uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Those four wonderful byproducts of “pregnancy”, and their children, deserve no less.

We have prepared many times for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ to rise on Easter Sunday; now it is time to prepare cohesive, well thought out arguments during the next few months as the country discusses this issue. Visit the links I have provided and educate yourselves. Listen to the other side. The Holy Spirit will guide all of us as we strengthen and unite in defense of the most basic tenet of our faith – the sanctity of life and the rights of all faithful to act in accordance with their conscience.

Happy Easter to all – and God bless.

What we can do to stop the HHS Mandate:

Share the fact sheet found on www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com

Call 202-224-3121 – ask your Congressman and both U.S Senators to support legislation overturning the HHS Mandate.

Vote for candidates who respect freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

Visit the website above and sign onto this effort. Learn how we can work together to stop the HHS Mandate

Copyright 2012 Carol S. Bannon

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About Author

Carol Sbordon Bannon is a full-time writer with a degree in elementary education from Worcester State University. She is a substitute teacher and has been a catechist for over thirty years. In addition to A Handshake From Heaven, she is also the coauthor of Our Family's Christmas Elf. She is happily married and currently resides in Concord Township, Ohio. Visit Carol at www.handshakefromheaven.com.

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