A Festive Luncheon

A Festive Luncheon – by Catherine Donohoe, President

Amongst pandemonium of this season of preparation—with the decorating, the card writing, the baking, the parties, and more—it was delightful to take a break to attend the annual Bishop’s Luncheon at Russo‘s on the Bay. We were happy to catch up with many of our supporters, especially pastors from local churches who have supported our work at Bridge for many years.

We were afforded the opportunity to elaborate on some of our recent activities at Bridge.  They were thrilled to hear that Santa Clause would be coming for a visit during a Material Assistance day this month, complements of St. Ann’s Knights of Columbus. The Knights have also included us in their coat and toy drive this year, for which we are abundantly thankful.  We were also grateful to be able to introduce ourselves to some new supporters.

Our hope for you all during this busy season is that you take the time to enjoy the warmth and love that comes this time of year and know that, here at Bridge, we are spreading that love even further to our moms and children with your support.

Wishing you all our best for a joyous Christmas and holiday season and a very happy New Year. 

Everybody loves a baby.  We were gifted to see a presentation given to us by students from the Immaculate Conception Academy in Astoria.

 

 

 

A quick picture with Bishop DiMarzio: our Board of Directors members are Julia Chitos, Vice President,  and Cathy Donohoe, President.

New York Post

“All I tell [women in need] is you have choices,” says The Bridge To Life’s Virginia Gallo. “I can help you with adoption… get you free medical care. It’s not all political.”

Please check out this article from the New York Post. It remains relevant and necessary. We are the largest provider of material assistance in the NYC area and our number one priority is to serve mothers who need our support and provide the resources they need to make informed decisions. Our mission is to ensure that mothers are able to raise their children in a loving and secure environment. We are here throughout their lives to carry their burdens and their joys with them. Thanks for the coverage, NY Post!

Seek What Unites, Not What Divides

By Mary Grace Donohoe – Interim Administrator

We were recently offered the opportunity to run a workshop at the Students for Life Northeast Regional Leadership Conference. This was a fabulous opportunity to allow local, college-aged folks to learn more about the services we provide and how we utilize our network of support and resources to give women the choice of life when they are faced with unplanned pregnancies and other forms of crises.

We had a very interesting conversation about the nuances of the pro-life and pro-choice movements and the politicization of the female body and how this does a disservice to all women in challenging situations.

After a brief presentation on our services and network, we jumped right into an activity called “Step Into the Circle,” where a list of identities is read. If the phrase applies to you, you step into the circle, revealing that, sometimes personal, identity. This activity often bonds a group very quickly as it reveals our various life circumstances, privileges, and disadvantages. This led to an incredibly nuanced and necessary discussion on how to engage other young women and men in fruitful dialogue concerning this issue in an exceptionally politicized climate. This specific activity was used because, when approaching women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, or people who do not share our views, it is essential to understand our personal viewpoints and how others may have life experiences that cause them to think and act differently. It is only after reflecting on this nuance that we are able to move past our differences and build relationships with the women we want to serve.

I come from a peacebuilding background, where facilitators always encourage participants to “seek what unites, not what divides.”

We brainstormed events and issues we could discuss with college peers that would spark conversations and build relationships between opposing groups such as attending “Take Back the Night,” a campaign that speaks out against sexual violence against women.

We also introduced our newly designed stickers, which put a modern and unique twist on our messaging at Bridge, by stating “Pro-Choice: means there is more than one choice.”

We also discussed in depth how characterizing all “pro-choicers” as one block of people without diversity and nuance is allowing our mission and message to fall short among young people—who are the future of this movement. It is essential that we approach those with differing opinions with compassion, patience, and understanding if we are truly going to support women through perhaps the most unpredictable time of her life.

Our message is not that parenthood is the easy option, but rather that women are strong, capable and powerful! It is our responsibility at Bridge to spread this message, grapple with the nuance of our cause, and support all the women that walk through our doors.

Great Defender of Life Dinner

By Alice Lemos, Board Member

What a wonderful event the Human Foundation does every year for its Great Defender of Life Dinner which was held at the Union League Club in Manhattan on October 4th!  Some of the best and the brightest show up to give their support to the journal known as the Human Life Review which has been aptly described as the premier pro-life journal of the United States.  Its contributors have included Nat Henthoff, Mary Meehan and Wesley Smith, all experts on the life issue who approach it from various perspectives. 

It was wonderful seeing young supports of the Review and of the life cause as well as stalwarts from National Review, including Kathryn Jean Lopez, Jack Fowler and Alexandra De Sanctis, who are all powerful pro-life writers.

This year, a very heartfelt tribute was given to the late J.P. McFadden, the founder of the Review.  Also honored were Edward Mechmann, an attorney with the Archdiocese of New York who has worked for many years with the Family Life/Respect Life Office. 

The other honoree was David Quinn, a founder and director of The Iona Institute which promotes the right to life.  He is also Ireland’s best-known commentator on social issues and lamented the fact that Ireland tragically voted to permit abortion.  He predicted that, unfortunately, Ireland may very well go the way of the United States as traditional social structures continue to break down. However, he gave us all the more reason to continue to fight the good fight both in Ireland and the United States.  We were reminded that while the abortion rate is dropping, it is still shockingly high.  This is absolutely one of the best pro-life events in New York City! 

We were also reminded by Maria McFadden Maffucci, that we live in a state, New York, where the current governor says we are not welcome.  Obviously, The Bridge to Life and other crisis pregnancy centers have their work cut out for them.

Photo of Alice Lemos, Board of Directors with David Smith and Dr. Ann Nolte. Dr. Nolte is the lead gynecologist for the Gianna Center and David Smith is involved in Catholic Hospitality.

 

Thailand Cave Rescue a Success

“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” The Navy SEAL unit, which led the rescue, said on its Facebook page, adding all were safe.

For the past few weeks, the entire world has been watching and waiting for news of the fate of 13 people they never met from a place they never knew existed. Scientists from all over the world opined on which was the best time and method to extract 12 boys and their young coach from a cave before the rains from the summer monsoons would make it impossible, sealing the fate of those trapped inside.

Even Elon Musk, the founder of Space X and Tesla, visited the site to drop off a miniature submarine made out of rocket parts to aid in the search.

Worldwide, there were prayers and good wishes offered no matter what religious background one does or does not practice.

With all the members of the Wild Boars and the SEAL Teams safely delivered, it seems the combination of a miracle and science is there to remind us all lives are sacred and matter. May this lesson live within all of us.

 

Supreme Court Ruling

On June 26, 2018, before the US Supreme Court ended its 2017-18 session, the court ruled 5-4 in favor of The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (DBA- NIFLA), et al. versus Becerra, Attorney General of California, et al.

The basis of the case was the California state houses passed a law requiring pro-life facilities to provide women who sought out pregnancy counseling at their facilities to provide information about abortion as a choice. NIFLA argued this law goes against everything pro-life organizations represent  (Note: The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, a 501(3)(c) organization, provides training, education and legal counsel for their pro-life members and those they serve).

Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kennedy, Alito and Gorsuch joined.  Additionally, Kennedy filed a concurring opinion, in which Roberts, Alito and Gorsuch joined.

Justice Breyer, filed dissenting opinion, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, joined.

The ruling is a huge win for the pro-life movement, and free speech. If the ruling was reversed, pro-life facilities would have had to give out information regarding abortions as well as their locations, or the equivalent of letting the fox into the chicken coop!

There’s an old saying in politics that as California goes, so does the rest of the country. With this ruling, we at Bridge certainly hope this is the beginning of a trend of respecting the lives of babies and their mothers.

 

Today’s Dads- Conventionally Unconventional

The official start of summer is upon us, and we hope Mother Nature will cooperate and follow her traditional weather patterns.

But Mother Nature is a funny thing.  Just when we mere mortals expect her to behave one way, she does something completely different, out of conventional character.

Society also has its conventional patterns as well. But when something or someone behaves in a manner which is not “the norm”, it’s met with finger pointing and posts to social media accounts.

Here at Bridge, our mission is to assist those who fall both in and out of normal conventions. We are here for mom and her children. Increasingly, we are welcoming more dads who are accompanying their families on our weekly material assistance days. Conventional? No!   Welcomed? Very much so!

We at The Bridge to Life hope all the Dads enjoyed their day!