Promoting the dignity of human life

Heart 2 Fragile Heart is a new lay ministry underway at St. Dominic

By Michael Miller

When are the vital signs of life present in the embryonic stage of life?

A new volunteer organization, Heart 2 Fragile Heart, has recently formed at St. Dominic Parish in Kingsport to promote the dignity of human life by focusing on the presence of a heartbeat at three weeks of development, brain waves at six weeks, and spontaneous movement by nine weeks of existence.

The focus of Heart 2 Fragile Heart is on using art to reach everyone possible, from age 10 to 100, and to educate them about these scientific facts.

The St. Dominic lay ministry believes that artwork is uniquely effective in communicating this message.

Deacon Frank Fischer, a retired physician, and a team of St. Dominic parishioners have embarked on a mission to support the unborn by providing scientific facts about this earliest stage of development and by assisting mothers and fathers to help them accept and nurture their children as they continue to develop in their mother’s womb.

The organization is pursuing this mission with a threefold approach:

  • Educating by artistic presentations of basic scientific facts about the embryonic phase of life;
  • Supporting nonprofit organizations that support pregnant mothers struggling to cope with inadequate resources during their pregnancy;
  • Helping mothers with babies that have genetic problems or physical malformations discovered during pregnancy.

“These mothers need support and encouragement to recognize that their babies are valuable and have dignity,” Deacon Fischer said.

“Moreover, mothers who embrace the difficulties of unexpected pregnancy problems will ultimately build stronger families and emerge with significant maturity, holiness, and personal strength,” he added. “These babies instill and promote love in ways that few others can achieve.”

Focusing on the embryonic stage (three to eight weeks) of life, the ministry aims to help mothers and fathers make educated decisions based on solid science. Many people, even the highly educated, tend to dehumanize the developing child during this embryonic stage of life, Deacon Fischer said.

Pregnancy tests become positive within the second week after implantation in the uterus. In the third week after conception, the heartbeat of the baby can be detected. In the sixth week after conception, brain waves are present. In the ninth week, barely beyond the embryonic stage of life, the fetus engages in spontaneous movement.

Heart 2 Fragile Heart is now spreading that message with displays at conferences and online.

Heart 2 Fragile Heart volunteers also are selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers that are emblazoned with a fetal image depicting each of these developmental events.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Heart 2 Fragile Heart ministry sells artistic educational items and also accepts donations to support its dual mission of education and providing needed funds for pregnancy support centers.

“We want to help ensure that all expectant mothers can base their decisions on clear scientific facts. More information on our organization, our educational materials, and how to otherwise support our efforts on behalf of the least of the least, the unborn, and their mothers can be found on our website: Heart2FragileHeart.org. You also can send donations to: Heart 2 Fragile Heart, 201 Ashley Oaks Private Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663. We would love to be invited to parish festivals to present these materials in person,” Deacon Fischer said.

“Most importantly, we ask our supporters to wear the T-shirt with the artistic rendering of the scientific facts at least once a week. We would like to have the stickers displayed on phones and portable computers. Only by placing these images in front of many people can we hope to ensure that they come to know and value babies in their earliest stages of life. Truly, the embryonic stage of life is the ‘least of the least.’ Jesus was very clear about our treatment of the ‘least,’” Deacon Fischer continued.

The Heart 2 Fragile Heart ministry has adopted St. Margaret of Castello as its patroness, and the ministry prays a Dignity Prayer, asking for her intercession on behalf of its work:

St. Margaret of Castello, unappreciated and rejected by your own family, we appeal to you.
You were isolated and hidden from any contact with society. Yet, you received acceptance, love, and education from your now obscure parish priest.
O incorruptible one, may those hidden in the womb be enveloped by a maternal love that transcends all knowledge.
May this image inspire and embolden mothers to nurture and protect their own unborn child.
Provide healing and consolation to mothers abandoned by the father of their baby.
May men develop the courage to respect, protect, and support this profoundly fragile beginning of life.
May we be enabled to extend prayers and material support to mothers left with insufficient resources.
May each of us utilize the divine graces available to protect these most fragile, yet unique, children, the least of the least.
May courageous women adopt and promote this image as a feminine badge of honor and fortitude.
May your intercession enrich our prayers as we seek our Lord and Savior’s succor.
All this in the name of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph we pray. Amen.

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