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Cenacle Donates Clothing, Blankets to Crisis Pregnancy Center

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Who would have thought that making baby booties could be seen as a subversive act?

And yet when you live in the culture of death, the decision of the members of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy's Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy (EADM) cenacle to donate baby clothes and blankets to Pregnancy Support Services of Berkshire County, Inc., for distribution to mothers in need is countercultural; different; something of a big deal.

Well, the cenacle members agree — performing the works of mercy is a very big deal.

Laurie Forfa, the lay leader of the cenacle, said that the group had been dedicated to praying for the women and children being harmed by the culture of death. "The idea that maybe we could have a baby shower just came up," she explained. "So that's how it started, and then I called Pregnancy Support Services to see if they could come down and talk to us about what they're doing, and maybe talk to us about other things that we might do."

Lori Decorie, one of the founding members of Pregnancy Support Services, and Joanne Hessler came down from Pittsfield to share some of the history of the pro-life movement in Berkshire County, thank the cenacle members for their donations, and talk about other opportunities for pro-life work in the area.

Members of the cenacle responded generously to the call to give. "The blankets, the booties, the hats, all of those things are handmade by some of the ladies in the group," Laurie explained. Other things are bought, such as lots of diapers, specifically requested by Pregnancy Support Services, which will distribute the items to mothers with unplanned pregnancies or who are in need of a little extra help in caring for their children.

"I'm so excited today about all of this. I just love it," said Yolanda "Yola" Saffioti, the hostess for the event and one of the founding members of the cenacle. "A couple of friends of mine — they don't belong to the cenacle, but I was telling them about [the baby shower] and they donated also."

All in a day's work for Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy.

Supporting spiritual formation for the laity and works of mercy, EADM offers seminars and a guided study program for prayer communities that includes the study of Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and St. Faustina's Diary.

Anne Winslow, a member of St. Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Lee, Mass., was inducted as the newest member of the Cenacle after attending meetings for a little more than a year. "This is a very good group," said Anne. "We're very active. We meet every Wednesday, sometimes at the Shrine, sometimes at Laurie's house. We light candles at the Shrine when they're needed."

Anne contributed the deviled eggs to the breakfast and a number of baby booties to the donation to Pregnancy Support Services.

When asked what aspects of the life and Divine Mercy work of St. Faustina really attracted her, Anne didn't hesitate. "Her Diary. I'm so thankful that she recorded everything in her Diary. It's such a help. It's an inspiration, really, that she had these intimate conversations with God. It just inspires everyone, I think."

Father Robert Vennetti, MIC, vice rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and spiritual director for the Shrine EADM cenacle, led Anne and the members of the Cenacle through the induction ceremony, renewing their baptismal promises and making the promises and prayers of the induction ritual. He also blessed the group members, the crisis pregnancy center workers, and the donated items.

"Almighty and ever living God, you made us stewards over the created world so that in all things we might honor your demands," he prayed. "Graciously hear our prayers that your blessing may come upon all those who use these objects for their needs, especially on all mothers and children. Let them always see you as the good surpassing every good, and love their neighbor with upright hearts. We ask this through Christ, our Lord."

To learn more about EADM cenacles, visit the apostolate online.

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