All of the publicity about the Ice Bucket Challenge affords us an opportunity to include ALS patients and their families in our prayers as well as pray for a cure. It also provides us here at St. Michael’s an Alive as the Body of Christ opportunity.
While most people are making their post-soaking video contributions to the ALS Association, others, recognizing that the ALS Association uses adult and embryonic stem cells in their research, are channeling their donations to ALS-research entities committed to research without the use of embryonic stem cells.
In an August 21 memo to Archdiocesan pastors and principals, Fr. Lawrence Fama, Director of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Newark, urged Catholics considering the fundraiser to be aware of where their money is going or to specify how it should be allocated. "There is no stigma in restricting your contributions to ALS to research using adult stem cells only or to non-stem cell research." The statement also encouraged donations to local organizations or hospitals caring for those with a particular disease.
The memo asks parishioners, staff members and students to use this fundraiser as a “teachable moment” for "a conversation about the Church's position on stem cell research." This is also an Alive as the Body of Christ moment for all of us. Here is how:
Learn more about why the Church finds embryonic stem cell harvesting and use to be immoral.
Both articles are by American Catholic.
Be an Alive as the Body of Christ believer by being present to those who may approach you with the idea of participating in a particular fundraising and participate stating your Catholic belief-based donation recipient choice and the reasons for that choice.
Here are some examples of belief-based Ice Bucket Challenge donations:
Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh agreed to get doused, but he'll be writing a check to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute, stating that, unlike ALS Association, the JP II Institute engages in ALS research without the use of embryonic stem cells.
Cincinnati Catholic schools superintendent Jim Rigg donated to the John Paul II Institute when he took part in the ice bucket challenge. (See the photo at the top of this post.)
The Christian Broadcasting Network took the Challenge, posting a video of some of its employees dumping water on themselves and making it clear that they would not be donating to the ALS Association or to any organization using embryonic stem cells.
Time reports that the John Paul II Medical Research Institute has received “dozens” of donations since the anti-ALS Association challenge began. Let’s help those donations to grow exponentially.
Another alternative is to donate to Team Gleason, the foundation formed in honor of former Pro Football player and ALS patient Steve Gleason, which helps people with ALS but does not appear to fund any research into curing the disease or to donate your time to helping someone who has ALS.