By Dave Jolivet
FALL RIVER, Mass. — While the country’s and the world’s attention is focused on keeping everyone healthy during the pandemic, the Fall River Diocese’s Pro-Life and Project Rachel Apostolates are working hard to continue building a culture of life — for the unborn, the sick and dying and for those suffering the heart-wrenching effects of loss through abortion.
The apostolates recently announced the opening of a new website (prolifefallriver.org) to offer easy access for everyone in and around the diocese to be able to go online for help and resources regarding Pro-Life issues and live hotline information about Project Rachel, a ministry that aids women in post-abortion recovery and crisis pregnancies.
In a recent interview with The Anchor, diocesan Pro-Life and Project Rachel director, Irina DeLucca said, “This pandemic is one of the primary reasons we wanted to get the website live as soon as possible. We also plan to be posting video resources of how we can remain Pro-Life and keep our eyes focused on Christ in a time when many feel isolated and separated from the Sacraments and the Church.
“Our confidential Project Rachel hotline, Project Rachel email and resources are intentionally very accessible and we want anyone who needs our help, especially now, to feel comfortable reaching out.”
Work on the website, which was supported and encouraged by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., began last year, and it’s apparent that this time of crisis provided no better time to open the site offering hope, help, healing and information to people who not only have to deal with the fears and doubts of the pandemic, but also their personal, internal struggles regarding answers to questions and counseling for crisis pregnancies and options other than abortion.
“In this time of isolation and increased loneliness, it’s easier than ever to feel abandoned by God, or anyone that they might trust,” said DeLucca. “This couldn’t be farther from the truth and we would encourage them not to lose hope and know that we’re all here for them. Our website provides easy-to-use, confidential contact information either through email or phone, and we want them to know that while safety is always our number one priority, we’ll gladly serve them to our greatest capacity despite anything going on.
“The Christian call to love one another is rooted in service to each other and our Lord, and is not bound by any virus or catastrophe that could be going on.”
The website is considered to be an “ongoing project,” with topics, resources and information to be added along the way. “We plan to continue adding more resources for women and men to find the answers to any Pro-Life questions they may have, as well as be a reliable resource of Catholic social teaching on all different Pro-Life topics,” DeLucca told The Anchor. “As people begin to ask us questions via the website or any other means, we plan to update the website with the information if it’s not already there.
“This will also be a good place where anyone can gather additional information and register for the events we host (March for Life, Pro-Life Boot Camp, Diocesan Pro-Life Essay Contest).”
DeLucca also told The Anchor that there has been a recent decline in the usual amount of contacts to the Pro-Life/Project Rachel Office. She attributes that to the pandemic. People are seeing small businesses close and the Church suspending the Sacraments and Masses and naturally assume the Pro-Life/Project Rachel services have temporarily shut down as well. “This is why we plan on implementing other digital ways across the media to make sure people know we are still here for them and still have access to other means of communication,” she added.
The Project Rachel hotline is local with the pregnancy resource centers, counselors and confessors within the diocesan territory, but “a woman from anywhere is more than welcome to call asking for guidance and we’ll do our best to serve them to our greatest capacity and connect them with their local crisis pregnancy aid and resources,” stressed DeLucca.
DeLucca was quick to thank “everyone who aided our office with suggestions and advice to get this up and running as smoothly and quickly as possible. Even though we are not together as usual, please be assured of our continued prayers for all of you, your families, and your intentions.”
DeLucca encourages anyone who is debating about contacting the office to do so knowing their welfare is a priority. “This website is only the ‘summary’ of everything our office does and provides,” she told The Anchor. “We would like to encourage anyone, especially those who may be on the fence about contacting us, to feel free to reach out to us and have access to the full potential of service our office is able to provide. This can include women in crisis pregnancies or suffering from post-abortion trauma, but it can also be anyone (clergy included) who’s interested in learning more about different Pro-Life issues.
“Our office provides various classes and training geared to people from teen-agers to elderly, on how they can they can become more active and knowledgeable in the fight against the culture of death.
The website can be accessed at prolifefallriver.org. The Project Rachel Office can be reached at 508-730-2887; and the Pro-Life Office phone number is 508-675-7151.