Parishioners take action to tell legislators they are pro-life Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Sue Barry, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

SAUK CITY -- Parishioners, including students of all ages, from Divine Mercy Parish in Sauk City have started a project of writing letters to state and federal law makers to let government officials know they believe abortion is wrong.

Julie Keith, Divine Mercy’s pro-life coordinator, headed up the project last fall and began asking for letters to be written in time for the landmark Roe v. Wade 44th anniversary in January.

“We have pictures from children as young as four with life affirming messages. They express love for their families and clearly understand the meaning of ‘thou shalt not kill,’” said Keith.

Seed planted by young parishioner

Keith explained that this project came about after she spoke with a group of young people who were learning about what it means to be pro-life.

Though they were interested in what was going on, it was one young lady who stated, “These activities are all good (referring to ongoing pro-life activities in the parish), but what are we really doing to stop this actively? Who makes the rules and can make changes to stop this?”

“With that seed planted, we started a mission within our religious ed groups, St. Aloysius School, and our parishioners at large,” said Keith.

She asked them to write letters or draw pictures (for the younger children) on why they believe life is important, what they love about babies, and for the older children what it means to protect life, the commandments and what they mean, and for the older and those into adulthood, letters concerning abortion and the right to life.

The plan presented to the parish started with a question: if we are God’s hands and feet, what can we do to really make a difference in our world and as a parish family?

The answer Keith proposed was that the parish send two letters every other day to a Wisconsin senator who votes pro-life, one that is pro-choice, the governor, and the president. Who would write these letters and what might they say?

She explained that the parish Right to Life group asked every adult to step out of their comfort zone and write a letter (long or short) focusing on ending abortions, promoting adoption, closing and defunding Planned Parenthood, and encouraging places such as CareNet and Women’s Care Centers, and Catholic Charities (all available in Madison and surrounding areas).

She said, “We want to make it clear to those who affect our laws that we believe in life from conception to natural death and we are not going away until we are heard, laws are changed, and innocent children are saved. We want legislators to know that we also teach our children that value and those children will grow up and continue to fight for protection of the unborn and the right to life.”

How to talk with children about abortion

Keith explained to parents and religious education teachers when the project began about how to help young children value life and family.

“Obviously, we do not expect parents to speak to their young children about abortion, but to focus on life by drawing their family or by cutting out a picture of something special to them about life or to maybe color a picture of themselves,” she said.

Older children can write a small letter about how important life is, what makes it special, and what they want to do when they grow up, what they like about their families or even -- if they understand -- what they feel about protecting life, the commandments, or a Bible verse, she added.

Keith referred to a powerful YouTube video that has gained attention, especially for pro- life teenagers. The video is a response from a 16-year-old girl who was appalled at an article in Teen Vogue talking about abortion and especially about how girls might handle themselves post-abortion.

“Often our culture is trying to confuse and deceive women and make light of the culture of death,” said Keith. “The woman in this video is courageous and has a powerful message for all of us. This might be a good video for high school or college age women or for mothers of daughters in high school or college as a conversation starter about abortion.”

The pictures and heartfelt comments the children of all different ages made in the letters received so far at Divine Mercy Parish “definitely show that they understand love and what it means to be part of a family,” Keith said.

Letters come in weekly

The parish Right to Life group initially hoped to have 300 letters to send and to date they have received about 70. But Keith said she is not discouraged, because the letters keep coming in daily.

There is a box in the church lobby by the Right to Life table where people can drop off their letters. The plan has been revised a bit with two letters being sent out each week on Mondays and Wednesdays. They will continue to go out for the next eight months or longer as the letters come in.

Keith said, “More letters arrive every day and these letters get blessed by Fr. John (Blewett). The letters are again sprinkled with holy water and prayed over as they are sent out and being walked to the mail box. The prayer is that all who touch or come in contact with the letters may be changed by God’s love, grace, and mercy.

“Each mailing will include one letter from a child and one from an adult,” she said. She also asks that people continue to pray that these letters will be received and acted upon.

“So far, we have not received any responses back but we are in the early stages of sending the letters, so it is not surprising,” she said.

“Children are addressing all the envelopes that will be sent to our lawmakers,” Keith said. They are adding their special touch to all the envelopes to make sure they stand out with pretty pictures or coloring.

“The Kruchten family is heading up that project and is customizing 137 envelopes as we speak,” she explained.

Getting involved

“There are many ways to get involved in the pro-life movement,” Keith encouraged. “It’s amazing how many different things are going on throughout the diocese and the opportunities available to pray in all of the parishes. There are opportunities to be very vocal or for quiet contemplation in prayer depending on each person’s style.”

Some other pro-life activities at the parish include: praying the Rosary every week, sponsoring speakers for the Sauk County Right to Life annual meeting, praying outside Planned Parenthood, participating in 40 Days for Life, celebrating Baptisms, celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day, and providing pro-life information on church bulletin boards and at the high school.

Contacting lawmakers

Below are the addresses of lawmakers getting letters from Divine Mercy Parish. People can also send letters directly.

• Representative Dave Considine, State Capitol, P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708

• Senator Jon Erpenbach, Room 7 South, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53707-7882

• Representative Robin Vos, Speaker of the Assembly, State Capitol, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708

• Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Senate Majority Leader, Room 211 South, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53707-7882

• Governor Scott Walker, 115 E Capitol #1, Madison, WI 53707-7882

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