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September 30, 2016

Philadelphia archdiocese to launch post-abortion ministry

Project Rachel offers counseling services to people who aborted a child

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is set to launch a post-abortion ministry that provides pastoral counseling and other services to people who chose to abort a child.

Archbishop Charles Chaput will detail Project Rachel, a ministry adopted by more than 110 dioceses in the United States, at a press conference Monday.

The ministry provides spiritual direction, support groups and referrals to licensed mental health professionals for men and women struggling with the aftermath of abortion. It also offers forgiveness for abortion, which the Catholic Church condemns as a sin.

Founded in 1984 by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Project Rachel consists of a network of trained clergy, spiritual directors and therapists who provide one-on-one care.

Chaput spoke Thursday at a Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation dinner, encouraging anti-abortion advocates to proclaim their beliefs despite criticism from a culture that he said venerates abortion as a totem.

"We need to work to change the culture," Chaput said. "And that demands a lifelong commitment to education, formation and, ultimately, conversion. Only genuinely holy persons really change the world. And therein lies our ultimate victory: If we change one heart at a time, while we save one unborn life at a time, the day will come when we won't need to worry about saving babies, because they'll be surrounded by a loving and welcoming culture."