The Bridge's Nicole Daly was recently interviewed for this piece presented by Currents, a local Catholic television program, to celebrate respect life month.
The Empty Manger— Post Abortion Syndrome –My Personal View
By Angelica Harris - January 29, 2016
Christmas has come and gone. Our decorations are now put back in the storage closet and winter is surely underway. It is cold outside and the snow has finally come to us here in New York City. This means that the old saying “Peace on Earth Good Will towards Men and Women” will have to wait for next year for us to hear.
Does it really? What about the teenage girl who just found out that she is pregnant by her boyfriend? The peace she once felt is gone; she does not know what to do. We ask ourselves: What if it were one of us in this situation? I know for myself that I was that girl 38 years ago when I found at that I was pregnant by date rape. Due to issues of abuse at home, I had an abortion. My once peaceful soul was now a soul of chaos and heartache.
While at Sacred Heart Church in Glendale this past Christmas season, I sat back on the last Sunday of Advent and took in the ambiance of the giving tree. I then listened to my pastor as he gave his homily about what we could give Jesus for His Birthday. He told us that the manger on the altar was for us to write a petition to the Lord about what we were thankful for and how we could improve ourselves for our own personal welfare and in order to help others.
After the gifts were brought up to the altar, our pastor emptied the petitions into the manger under the altar. As the small pieces of paper collected in the tiny wooden crib, I could not help but think about my unborn child and the many aborted babies that will never see a Santa Claus. My heart grew heavy and unshed tears formed in my eyes. At that moment, my arms felt heavy and empty and my grief took over. I wanted to leave the altar and stand at the gravestone for all aborted souls in front of our rectory—but I didn’t! Instead, I realized that by counseling teens in crisis pregnancies and speaking at churches for The Bridge to Life, I was helping girls like me to make sure that their children had a fighting chance. I want each baby and mom saved to have a Christmas celebrating with Jesus on his birthday and Santa Claus.
I will always grieve for my child. However, as a counselor for girls and working with them, I can celebrate his life, through the babies that Bridge to Life saves. This is allowing him to have a life and for me to celebrate him in my heart.
Post Abortion Syndrome (POS) causes severe depression and other issues in the life of the mother, especially around the holidays. I know for me it was during the holidays that I attempted to commit suicide. If I can help one teenage girl never feel that her life isn’t worth anything, than I know that my gift to Jesus is taking my pain, and sorrow and turning it to joy and love. But not only for Jesus, but, for each new life, and every folded arms that are wrapped around a wee babe just as Mary did on that first Christmas day. Then the empty manger is no longer empty, but filled with love and peace for all humankind.
About Angelica Harris
Bridge to Life: a Queens safe haven
THE CRISIS CENTER PROVIDES MOTHERS AND MOMS-TO-BE WITH ASSISTANCE
by Gina Martinez, Chronicle Contributor | Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 10:30 am
For young mothers across the city, it may be difficult to know where to turn during a crisis. Bridge to Life, a crisis pregnancy center seeks to provide those mothers with emotional support and give them any materials they may need.
Homeless and pregnant women, mothers who have recently given birth and moms with children at whatever age can get assistance.
The center, with locations in Astoria and Flushing, has been around for more than 20 years, providing free services to women.
Its mission statement reads, “We provide informative, honest and compassionate counseling to empower women dealing with pregnancy about their options, as well as extend hands of help through material assistance in order for them to raise their child.”
Catherine Donohoe, president of the organization, is incredibly passionate about her work at the center. She has been with Bridge to Life for more than 20 years and in that time has committed herself to giving young, often confused mothers help and guidance.
While the center is nonsectarian and apolitical, its goal is clear: for mothers to keep their children.
The group is very pro-life. But with the rise in liberalism around the country and especially New York, Bridge to Life is finding it difficult to survive.
“In New York, the abortion rate is so high. Every borough in New York City has a Planned Parenthood,” Donohoe said. “We’re up against a very tough culture. Women on college campuses and as young as middle school are being told abortion is an option. It’s a really a tough culture.”
Although it faces stiff competition with pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood, Bridge to Life has survived off contributions from individuals and organizations that believe in the pro-life cause.
Some of the services Bridge to Life provides include free pregnancy tests, baby supplies and referrals for adoption counseling.
“We never turn anyone down,” Donohoe said. “We first find out what’s going on and find a way to help regardless of the situation.”
The center also offers services to victims of domestic abuse.
“We help people who are in domestic abuse situations and offer them safe housing and clothing,” she said. “We also do some counseling and give advice. If a mother is pregnant we refer them to get a sonogram. We do this because when a mom sees a sonogram, they’re more likely to keep a baby.”
If you want to contribute to the center, you can visit one of their locations, either at 23-40 Astoria Blvd. or 147-32 Sanford Ave. There is parking available and donations are currently being taken for the holiday season.
“Right now we’re in need of gently used newborn clothes, strollers, car seats, and cribs,” Donohoe said.
If you can’t donate, you can help by volunteering. The offices are always in need of help, whether it be sorting out donated clothes or in the office.
To find out how you can help, visit thebridgetolife.org.
Baby Left in Manger Reminds the City Of Safe Haven Laws
By BETSY McCAUGHEY, Special to the Sun | December 3, 2015
The newborn boy abandoned in a nativity display at a Queens church last week lucked out. His mother bought towels at a 99-cent store to keep him warm, and then left him in the manger to be found. But many abandoned babies aren’t so lucky. Every year hundreds are dumped in the trash, left to die in the cold or killed by panicked new mothers.
All 50 states have “safe-haven” laws to prevent this, but too few women know about them. These laws allow mothers to surrender their newborns at a police station, firehouse or hospital — no questions asked — without risk of disclosure or prosecution. (read more)
Brendan Flynn runs Philly Marathon to benefit The Bridge, raises $2,500
Brendan, his wife Robin, and daughter at the finish line.
A Note from Our President, Cathy Donohoe
“I figured this way the only person who would be hurt was me. The problem with that idea is that part of me died along with my son…and it pushed me so far into the depths of darkness that I didn’t believe there was a way out. This decision solidified in my mind that I was not worth loving by anyone."
"I am silent no more because it seems like now is the time to expose Planned Parenthood. I don't mean that in a vengeful way, but we can't keep letting them lie to themselves thinking they are helping women by providing this 'service.'"
The most important gift we give to the moms and children that we serve, is the gift of Hope. With Pope Francis’ visit to USA we were reminded of how important hope is and his beautiful words concerning hope. “Hope saves us from a disposable culture, people think differently when they have hope.’’ “There are different moments in life, but with hope you go forward and keep your eyes on what a waits you.” Today and every day, Bridge offers hope to all the young women that come through our door.
• A young girl who thinks she’s pregnant, and is afraid to tell her parents/ boyfriend
• A young homeless pregnant women
• An abused mother
• A young girl who is forced to either have an abortion or leave the house.
You can be part of this gift of hope. Please see our website for ways that you can help. www.thebridgetolife.org
In Need? We’re here to help.
At The Bridge to Life, we understand this may be a difficult time for you. We know you may be scared and may feel you have no place to turn, but you do. Our staff is always willing to help and listen. You always have a choice! We provide counseling to help you know what choices you have. We also offer a number of different services and encourage you to call us to discuss how we can help.
Feel empowered! Our counseling and ongoing support will help you to make your decision.
Our goal is simple. We are working to save lives by providing support to women and men in need. The Bridge to Life staff will help get you through this difficult time by providing physical, mental and material support. We are here for you, call or schedule an appointment today.
Bridge is Thankful for its Many Blessings
Our names are Sister Margaret O’Donnell CSJ and Sister Rosemary Kern CSJ. We live in Holy Family Parish in Flushing. Our parish hosted a Baby Bottle Drive to help raise money for The Bridge to Life. Having just retired from teaching, we were looking for some volunteer work. We checked that we received a phone call from Al Donohoe, the husband of Cathy Donohoe, who is the President of The Bridge to Life, thus began our journey at the Bridge.
We have been volunteering two days a week since 2006. Since Sister Eugenia Daley CSJ joined us in 2014. We do many and varied tasks, but our biggest job is dressing and emptying domain bottles, and bringing the money to the bank. We know that the clients who come to us are in dire need. We feel honored and blessed to be able to respond to the Cry of the Poor.