In the Catholic Church, all lives are to be respected from conception to natural death — the Respect Life Ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi refers to this as “from womb to tomb.” The eight-person ministry works to make pro-life issues better known and understood here at the parish and beyond.
“This ministry represents the fundamental right to life given to us by our Creator to protect and defend in all circumstances,” says Mary Jo White, ministry leader.
The ministry’s primary mission is to inform parishioners about all life issues. They sponsor diocesan life events in the bulletin and communicate available programs, like support for unplanned pregnancy and post-abortion healing. Diocesan events and announcements include the Walk for Life, 40 Days for Life, the construction of the Mater Filius home for pregnant women, Life Chain, and monthly Respect Life Masses throughout the diocese. The group members also attend Respect Life monthly meetings through the diocese.
Mary Jo got involved in this ministry more than 10 years ago after moving from California. She had previously been involved with the pro-life movement in California.
“I got involved in the ministry because I believe there is a great need to help promote what the Church teaches about the right to life and the inherent dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God,” Mary Jo says.
The ministry will be hosting several events throughout October, which is designated as Respect Life Month. One such event is a diaper drive here at the parish. Newborn and older diapers are needed for Life Network to assist with their year-round support of women needing assistance with their babies. Also, be sure to watch for information on a parish-wide Rosary for Life in October.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, the group will offer a webinar opportunity of the End of Life Conference in Michigan. The conference focuses on the need to stop euthanasia and assisted suicide. Parishioner Betty Odello, nurse educator and bioethicist, will speak at the conference. The title of the conference is “Assisted Suicide is Not the Answer: Killing is Not Caring.” Watch the bulletin for more details.
And as we approach the end of 2023, on Dec. 8, the group will join with those nationwide to support the annual holy hour of prayer and adoration to defend life from 10 to 11 p.m. in the chapel.
Mary Jo believes it’s of the utmost importance to spread all pro-life information as far and wide as possible.
“Defending life begins in the heart of every individual,” she says. “We cannot be on the fence or indifferent to the issues concerning life. Becoming informed on the issues that affect human life at all stages is our duty and responsibility in the community and the political sphere.”
She invites all parishioners to get involved wherever possible in supporting life from conception to natural death. You can pray for life and this ministry, and pray for those who are on the “front lines” defending life, as well as for all legislators — that they will do what is right to protect life.
“Be a voice for those who have no voice,” Mary Jo says.
The Respect Life Ministry meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month in the parish library. All are welcome.
For more information, contact Mary Jo White at 949-433-2853 or email@example.com.