Welcome to another potluck Wednesday post! This week I'm sharing some things that may inspire prayers or even activism.
First, several members of my extended family met a wonderful priest last weekend, and told me about him. Father John Fowles, who appeared briefly on EWTN's "Life on the Rock" program last Thursday, is a priest in New South Wales who is trying to raise money to help the people of East Timor. These desperately poor people are our brothers and sisters in Christ; in fact, about 90% of the population of East Timor is Roman Catholic! You can read about the many ways Fr. Fowles wants to help, including his hope to take ten young adults from East Timor to World Youth day in Sydney, here--and be sure to read about the unusual fund raiser Father has planned! Don't miss the story of the building of the parish church, either! This is an amazing and inspirational priest; may God grant him many years of faithful service. (And if any of you have the means and the desire to help out, here's the donation information.)
Next is a David and Goliath battle in the making, which has received mostly local coverage and has probably been under the radar for many of us outside the Illinois area. It concerns Planned Parenthood's attempt to open a new full-service abortion clinic in Aurora, Illinois, despite strong local opposition to such a thing happening. Visit this site to read about the determined opponents who are speaking out, holding prayer vigils, attending City Council meetings, and fighting the dirty and underhanded tactics of Planned Parenthood, which has tricked several residents into placing pro-PP yard signs without ever mentioning that the "health clinic" in question not only intends to provide abortions, but has already scheduled abortions to take place for September 18, the day the clinic is supposed to open! Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary; perhaps everyone would say a few extra "Hail Marys" over the next week to stand with our fellow pro-lifers in Aurora.
Finally, many of you have probably already read or heard about this issue, but in reading some of the pro-life websites out there I came across a disturbing fact. There is a family in California that has donated very large sums of money to Planned Parenthood facilities there; they are vocal in their support for Planned Parenthood's agenda and ideology, and committed to the notion of abortion on demand. And this family, the Ecke family, owns the Ecke Ranch which produces about 70% of the poinsettias sold in America; they are America's number one producer of the popular Christmas flower. Chances are, if your church's Christmas decorations include potted poinsettias, that these flowers come directly from this family's business, aiding them in their quest to spread Planned Parenthood's filth.
Most of this was known last Christmas, but I'm sure that many people haven't heard about the boycott of Ecke poinsettias that several Christian groups began last year. Though I know boycotts are often complicated and don't always do good, this one is easy, to me, because poinsettias are a luxury item and because you can do several things to avoid buying an Ecke plant: ask around for independent or local growers, choose other flowers for your Christmas decorations, decorate with artificial flowers, etc. I'm going to ask at my parish whether they avoid buying Ecke Ranch poinsettias, and I encourage others to do the same.
God bless all whose courage and faith help them to do good and fight evil!