05 October 2009

Respect Life & Service Day

Dear Villagers,

Wow! What a big weekend we had, with 83 Grown-Up Soda & Village teens at the Corn Maze on Friday night, and bunch of us at Life Chain- not to mention our regular Village meeting on Sunday. Last night we had Respect Life Night at Village, and we had special guests Beth Ann Smith and Paul Schulz join us from the St Thomas Respect Life Committee to field some of your questions! Mother Teresa once said of abortion, 'It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

You asked some tough questions about the right to choose abortion in cases of rape- such a horrible situation. Rape is *never* okay, and a woman in this situation is certainly a victim of a morally reprehensible crime. All the same, women in this situation are encouraged to consider the many alternatives to aborting the life of the child. The innocent child should not be killed to make up for the sins of the father- especially when Adoption and Free Parenting Resources are so readily available.

Instead of just debating these issues- or simply sweeping the problem under the rug with indifference- we are going to do something to help! At our first Village Service Day this Saturday, we are going to do a clothing & supplies drive for the Pregnancy Help Center here in Ann Arbor. We will be putting fliers in people's doors letting them know about these local resources- and inviting them to make donations to the Pregnancy Help Center which we will be picking up next month.

---ArborVitae is a free medical clinic (below Starbucks on Liberty St, 734-994-8863) providing pregnancy testing, counseling, and ultrasounds all free of charge!

---The Pregnancy Help Center (at Packard and Platt, 734-975-4357) provides cribs, diapers, formula, and clothing free of charge!

---The Pregnancy Counseling Center provides free anonymous counseling support via their free hotline (734-434-3088)

Come this Saturday from 9am-1pm to reach out and make a difference in our community! We will meet for 9am Mass, pray together, perform some real service, visit the Pregnancy Help Center, and debrief over a pizza lunch here at St Thomas. Join us as we raise awareness about the *many* resources available to help those at risk of choosing abortion while supporting these local centers by collecting baby clothes. Please pray for this outreach, especially if you are unable to join us!

God Bless, Beth

The Village News 10/4

This Thursday Oct 8: First Dead Theologians Society
Join us this Thursday October 8th from 7-8pm for our (now) regular DTS meeting! We will gather in the Youth Room for snacks and social time starting at 6:30, move to the Church Choir Loft at 7:10pm, and have more snacks and social time from 8 to 8:30pm. If things are busy, feel free to skip social time. DTS is an opportunity for you to encounter the Saints and receive the graces you need to become a Saint yourself!

This Saturday Oct 10 from 9am-1pm: First Village Service Day
Join us this Saturday from 9-1pm for morning Mass, quick prayer, real service, and a short debriefing at the Parish over pizza. Please bring a note from your parents giving permission for you to come! We’ll be running a clothing drive for the Ann Arbor Pregnancy Help Center, and putting together care packages for our graduated Villagers off at college! Drivers & Volunteers are needed.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Spring Retreat, we now have monthly Service Days as an outreach of The Village! Pope John Paul promises us that “life flourishes in the gift of self to others…so that all can share the gifts they have received, in a spirit of solidarity, especially with the poor and the needy.”

Next Sunday: The Good News & Bad News about Free Will
Join us Sunday from 5-6:30pm for the real scoop on free will– why it is the best gift God gave to humanity and at the same time the hardest thing about being human! We’ll also delve into some of your questions...Why did God give us free will? Why does God allow evil in the world? How was free will weakened by Adam and Eve? Why did Protestant Reformers Calvin & Luther deny the existence of free will? Is it really free will if God already knows what we will choose?

Your Questions of the Week:
How do you explain modesty to an agnostic?

We live in an over sexualized world, and are constantly bombarded with the message that our body matters more than who we are inside. This can lead many of us, especially women, to a need for external validation about our appearance. We are called to dress modestly to guard our dignity as men and women. If we were explaining modesty to a Catholic, I would spend more time explaining where our dignity comes from- being made in the image of God and designed for relationship with Him. I would encourage your friend to know that whether she/he knows it or not, she/he is deeply loved by the God of the universe, and has incredible worth!

We are called to dress modestly to guard the sacredness of our own sexuality. Whether or not your friend believes as we do that sex is intended to be a promise made to one’s spouse to love them faithfully for life, freely, totally, and with an openness to having children- most people believe that sex is special. When we dress immodestly, we can encourage others to objectify us- to think of us as merely an object for their own sexual pleasure.

Remember that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather use. When others use us for what we can give, it is worse than if they were to hate us! We are each worthy of being loved for our own sake and not for what we can give. When we dress primarily to attract the opposite sex, we send the message that we are unsure of our own dignity, and might accept those who wish to use us instead of love us. When we dress primarily to be attractive, we send the message that we have dignity, and are worthy of being loved for our own sake and not just for what we can give to others.When we dress modestly we guard our dignity as men and women, we guard the sacredness of our own sexuality, and we encourage others to love us rather than simply use us!!

Is plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons a sin?
The Church does not have a specific teaching on elective (unnecessary) plastic surgery, but here’s what the Catechism does say, “If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it's sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports.” [#2289] The idea here is that getting plastic surgery probably entails idolizing physical perfection, and seeing the body as a full representation of who you are as an individual. You are so much more than your appearance! You are created with incredible dignity- made in God’s image and designed for relationship with him! Let us work towards accepting our bodies as they are, realizing that our dignity comes from God and not in comparing ourselves with overly photoshopped magazine covers! Beyond these reasons not to have plastic surgery, there are some pretty high costs and serious health risks that come along with it. Talk to your parents for more!

More about The Village
Our mission is to prepare each of us for our encounter with the Risen Christ, especially in the Blessed Sacrament. Some of us may have doubts like our patron St Thomas did. Others have already joined St Thomas in those words of faith, "My Lord and My God!” Like St Thomas, we are asking real questions, having real dialogue, and developing real faith. The Village meets on Sunday nights from 5-6:30pm, in addition to having socials and service days. The highlight over and above all of these activities will be our Fall Retreat! Check us out online at www.findthevillage.com for more info.


Minni-Mo said...

83 people?! WOW! That is SO wonderful! =)

DucInAltumBeth said...

I know, right??! :) Love the Dominica, hope all is well! Heard James and Tom got out there for a day, so fun!