The Charlotte Helpers are Changing Things Up for a Bigger Impact

Thank you to all of you who have regularly and faithfully attended our monthly pro-life prayer vigils. It is hard to believe that almost a year and a half has gone by since Msgr. Reilly visited Charlotte and our local chapter of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants began.

The goal of the Charlotte Helpers has always been to “go big” with our events and to attract many Catholics who would not normally go to the frontlines to pray at our local abortion clinics, as Msgr. does so successfully in the suburbs of New York City. Thank you for helping to make that happen!
Who is Msgr. Reilly? Read about him here.

After consulting with some of our diocesan priests who lead our vigils, we have implemented a few changes to further help us in this goal.
Earlier this year we began using a new prayer format on the handout sheets, which many of you have appreciated and have taken back to your own parishes for further use in pro-life prayer.

We also want to implement some other changes.  Earlier this year we received some advice from Fr. Winslow as to how we can improve and market our vigils so that they have wider appeal and greater attendance.
After further discussion here are the new things the Charlotte Helpers would like to do:

1) Better verbiage:  Call our events a pro-life “procession” rather than a “vigil” to give people a better idea of what we do.  The name of our “prayer vigils,” for marketing purposes, will now be called a “Procession for Life.” This also means that we want to improve the procession aspect of our events, as this is what is unique to our group, and also because just as much time is spent processing to and from the clinics as there is time spent on the sidewalk as a prayerful presence. Processions are also a rich part of Catholic liturgical tradition emphasizing the pilgrimage aspect of our Christian faith, symbolizing our constant movement towards God and heaven; and our events are rooted in the Eucharist by being tied to the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

2) Better outreach: On the weekends prior to the event, give an announcement in person after the Sunday Masses at the parish where we are hosting the event in order to have greater attendance from that parish.

3) Better marketing: Increase the visibility of these events in the parish bulletins and the Catholic News Herald, and invite more parishes and priests to be involved.

These are all excellent ideas given to us by Father, and we (Francesca Sperazzo, Mary Richardson, and Gretchen Filz) realized that there is no way we could keep up with these changes if we continue to have our events on a once monthly basis.

We have decided that since our goal is to have bigger events, we will work harder on fewer of them.

This seems like a good idea to us as we already have consistent Catholic prayer coverage at the clinics with  Fr. Buettner at Latrobe on 1st Saturdays, and Fr. Reid at Hebron on 4th Saturdays.  Rather than reinvent the wheel on this, our once monthly prayer vigils can be to join and support these priests in what they are already regularly doing.

This will allow the Charlotte Helpers events to cast the net more widely with fewer but (hopefully) bigger vigils.  We will have 4 “big” vigils a year in January, April, July, and October.

This October we will have our first “big” vigil on October 25th at St. Mark’s. We’ll have 9am Mass followed by prayer at the Latrobe Dr. abortion clinic with Fr. Putnam.

We will have a Charlotte Helpers booth at the Eucharistic Congress.  Please stop by and say hi, let us know what you think about these changes, and if you have any other good ideas on how to make our pro-life processions even better and more prayerful.
What you can do: Please help us promote our events in your parishes and to your family and friends. Together we can help create a Culture of Life in our own city!

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