Imagine a young teenage girl up since dawn helping her mother prepare a morning meal and gathering wood to warm the chill, leaves to fetch her family water and returns to her humble Jewish home pregnant with God!
What does she say to her parents? Did they respond with an embrace? How can she explain this mystery accompanied not only by her confusion but by her joy and faith?
Mary’s pregnancy was unexpected, yet the unborn Christ is like every other baby. We can contemplate Jesus taking on our human nature from the moment of his conception. Truly, God the Son became utterly vulnerable, our Redeemer in the womb, completely dependent on his mother. Through the incarnation of Christ, God reveals to us the dignity of all human life. Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, reflecting his glory and his imprint. We are therefore called to “respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person’s life.”
Pope John Paul II outlines in Evangelium Vitae many challenges and concerns that expectant mothers may face, including lack of support. He recognizes that an “unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb.” For this reason, the Church must come alongside mothers, offering them encouragement, assistance and support.
Through the virgin birth, we have received the gift of the “Gospel of Life” in its fullness. As members of the Church, we are the “people of life and for life.” Pope John Paul II tasked us with building a culture of life to combat the forces at work in the culture of death with this challenge:
“With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth.” (EV 95)
Mary, pregnant with God.
Joseph, the protector of her womb.
We, the “people of life,” protectors of mothers and the unborn.
Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and in our neighborhoods. Are we making room for them at our inn? In their vulnerability we want them to turn to the parish for support, in the words of Pope Francis, “as an island of mercy in a sea of indifference.” We want to accompany them on their difficult journey, as Pope John Paul II prayed, “Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.”
In honor of Evangelium Vitae’s 25th anniversary and in response to Pope John Paul II’s call, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities has launched a nationwide effort to identify, assess, expand and communicate resources to pregnant moms and families in need. In the Archdiocese, we are inviting parishes and Families of Parishes, with the support of Archbishop Vigneron and your pastors, to join this nationwide Walking With Moms In Need initiative in 2021.
A Prayer for Walking with Pregnant Moms
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.
If you have further questions, please contact Kathleen Wilson in the Pro-Life Office at email@example.com or Chris Leach, in the Office of Christian Service at firstname.lastname@example.org