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Project Rachel Mass offers healing liturgy

11 9.28.17_rachel.mass PAGEArchbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone prays over a symbolic grave dug at the Rachel Shrine at Holy Cross Cemetery during a healing liturgy Sept. 16. (Photo by Colleen Hera)

September 28, 2017
Catholic San Francisco

Dozens of women and family members impacted by the loss of a child gathered for forgiveness, comfort and healing during the Project Rachel Mass and healing liturgy Sept. 16 at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.

Coordinated by the archdiocese’s Project Rachel Ministry, the Mass is held every two years to honor lives lost through abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth and sudden-infant death syndrome as well as accidents and illness.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was the principal celebrant of the Mass. He was flanked by honor guards from the Knights of Columbus and joined on the altar by priests of the archdiocese including Father Mark Taheny and Father Tony La Torre.

The healing liturgy following the Mass involved a communal walk to the Rachel Shrine during which a choir of seminarians chanted a litany of prayer. Paper leaves symbolizing the life of each child being remembered were dropped into a symbolic grave over which the archbishop offered his prayers.

Longtime Project Rachel coordinator Mary Ann Schwab told Catholic San Francisco that for some women, especially those who have had an abortion, the ability to “mourn anonymously” but within a supportive community is very healing.

Schwab said that every August she receives a check for $750 made out to the Project Rachel ministry with an unsigned note that reads: “This is what my daughter paid for her abortion and the cost of losing my granddaughter.”

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