In October, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month. The first Sunday of October is designated as Respect Life Sunday.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, had this to say:
“The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade is, without question, an answer to prayer. Dobbs is a victory for justice, the rule of law, and self-governance.
“But for those of us who have prayed for this moment to arrive, it is the time for a renewal and rededication of our efforts to build a culture of life and civilization of love. Justice is, of course, essential to this end. But it is not sufficient.
“To build a world in which all are welcome requires not only justice, but compassion, healing, and above all, unconditional love.”
The Bishops Conference provides materials to help Catholics understand and value the gift of human life and help build a culture that cherishes and protects it.
Two of those resources are below: a Prayer for Pregnant Mothers, and a special Reflection.
A Prayer for Pregnant Mothers
O Blessed Mother, you received the good news of the incarnation of Christ, your Son, with faith and trust. Grant your protection to all pregnant mothers facing difficulties.
Guide us as we strive to make our parish communities places of welcome and assistance for mothers in need. Help us become instruments of God’s love and compassion.
Mary, Mother of the Church, graciously help us build a culture of life and a civilization of love, together with all people of good will, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen.
A Reflection: Called to Serve Moms in Need
Our Blessed Mother models a profound witness to love and life in the Gospel account of the Visitation. Luke’s Gospel tells us that, when Mary learns that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, she travels to the hill country “in haste” (Lk 1:39). Despite being unexpectedly pregnant herself, Mary responds to this news with urgency.
She embarks on a long and perhaps difficult journey to be with her cousin during her time of need, bearing Christ to her as He lay quietly hidden in Mary’s womb. And, although Jesus is veiled from view, when Mary first arrives John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb, recognizing the presence of Christ (Lk 1:44). Mary, with Jesus, spends the next three months at Elizabeth’s side.
The witness of our Blessed Mother invites us to become more aware of the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in our own parishes and communities. A woman with an unexpected pregnancy may have any number of fears and challenges: facing judgment from her friends and family, losing her job or housing, or being abandoned by the father of her child.
Following Mary’s example, we can ask ourselves how to better know these mothers, listen to them, seek understanding, and help them obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their children. How can we, like the Blessed Mother, lovingly support mothers in welcoming and caring for God’s gift of life?
Throughout the whole of Scripture, Mary’s words are few. Yet, in her sacred encounter with Elizabeth, a powerful declaration pours from her lips. Mary proclaims to all generations that the Lord lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things, and remembers his promise of mercy from age to age (Lk 1:46-56). In both word and deed, Mary speaks a message of hope – not only to Elizabeth, but also to every mother in need and to each of us.
Mary’s witness is an invitation to step out in love and compassion. It is a summons to make haste to help vulnerable women who may be isolated and alone. By doing so, we too can bear Christ within us and help others experience His presence.
Inspired by the Blessed Mother’s example and guided by the Holy Spirit, may we offer Christ’s presence and love to mothers in their time of need through our faithful service and support.