As the Church celebrates October as Respect Life Month, our Cathedral of St. Joseph Pro-Life Committee is working to schedule activities throughout the year so we can truly embrace the culture of life from conception through natural death.
“We want to invest in our parish community more,” says Lauren Hildreth, Pro-Life Committee Co-Chair. “We’d like parishioners to be open to get more involved in pro-life from conception to natural death — not just as a part of the parish, but the entire parish community as a whole.”
One of the activities that the committee is excited to bring to our parish, and to bring parishioners together, is the Meal Train. Co-Chair Ashley Wiskirchen is the contact person for those requesting the service.
“We have parishioners who stepped up to help as Chef Families by cooking meals,” Lauren says. “This was started for families who have new babies or families who are dealing with a prolonged illness or have had surgery. The homemade meals are delivered by the Chef Families, and we’ve had three to four families served at this point. It’s a great way to connect people.”
Another activity the Pro-Life Committee does is praying the Rosary before each Mass in October.
“We have four pillars we’ve established to be a foundation of the Pro-Life Committee,” Lauren says.
The pillars include Service, which encompasses the Meal Train. Prayer is another pillar, and the committee begins each meeting with prayer. The group also is looking at additional ways to engage our parish in prayer. Celebration and Community are the other two pillars.
“The way we have envisioned is to have lots of projects with each pillar,” Lauren says. “We’ve asked members to lead a project. For example, under Prayer, we are including saying the Rosary in October, praying during the 40 Days for Life, as well as sharing novenas throughout the year. Under Community, we offer coffee and donuts at various times throughout the year. We have about seven to eight projects right now.”
One project in development is a new Hospitality Cart in the cathedral Cry Room.
“It will be a place for extra diapers, wipes, and a changing table so the moms can care for and calm their babies down,” Lauren says. “It’s a way to make parents feel welcome with any supplies they may need.”
A very successful project held recently was the Baby Bottle Boomerang, which brought in $4,000 for the Pregnancy Help Center.
“I want to thank all our parishioners who donated,” Lauren says. “It was one of the Pregnancy Health Center’s more successful campaigns.”
Another successful project is our participation in the Biking for Babies, which raises funds for pregnancy resource centers. The National Ride took place July 9-16, with our local route converging with four others in St. Louis.
“Ashley has taken part in this for a long time,” Lauren says. “It has blended into our committee activities very well.”
In looking ahead to 2024, the Pro-Life Committee wants to celebrate all babies born at St. Mary Hospital by sending the parents a card congratulating them on the birth of their new children.
During the committee’s recent meetings, the group has been viewing Into Life, a series by the Sisters for Life following a woman’s journey through her pregnancy. Discussion follows each viewing.
“We have had some very fruitful discussions,” Lauren says. “We are wanting to have our members form ourselves in a pro-life sphere. Many on the committee have been involved for years, but personally, I am new.”
Parishioners are welcome to join the Pro-Life Committee at any time. The committee meets from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month in the Mary Room at the cathedral. There currently are 15 active members and they are hoping to see more new faces from the parish community join them in the future.
Anyone interested in joining is invited to drop in during the meetings to learn more, or by emailing Lauren Hildreth at email@example.com, or Ashley Wiskirchen at firstname.lastname@example.org.