CSA SPOTLIGHT — ‘That they may have life’


Some people organize or participate in pilgrimages to Washington, D.C., each January to march for life.

Some wear out their shoes in the marble-clad halls of Congress and state legislatures, trying to convince lawmakers to safeguard the lives of society’s most voiceless and vulnerable people.

Some pray and give witness on the sidewalk outside where people go to obtain abortions. Their message: “We care about you. We want to help.”

Some help run, maintain and pay for maternity homes, pregnancy help centers and ingenious enterprises for connecting pregnant mothers in crisis with the help they need.

Some donate clothes, diapers and formula, assist their neighbors, console friends and help women who are newly aware of their motherhood find the strength and resources to say “yes” to God’s gift of the unique human life inside of them.

All of these things are pro-life. And when they are carried-out in the name of Christ, they are holy.

“We Catholics are called to manifest the dignity of every human life, not only in our doctrines but perhaps most especially in prayer and in action,” Bishop W. Shawn McKnight recently stated. “We are moved to give voice to those who are most vulnerable, who have no other voice but our own.”

Bishop McKnight has appointed Father Paul Clark, associate pastor of St. Patrick parish in Rolla and Holy Cross parish in Cuba, to serve as diocesan moderator for pro-life ministry.

“That basically means I serve as the chaplain for pro-life ministry in our diocese,” Fr. Clark said during an Oct. 24 Mass for the Sanctity of Life in St. Joseph Church in Westphalia.

He emphasized that for Catholics, being pro-life is both material and spiritual, upholding verifiable truth in this life while acknowledging and anticipating the world to come.

“Why do we get involved in pro-life ministry? The answer is revealed in creation itself,” he said. “We hear the Lord’s words to the prophet Jeremiah — the concrete reality that before each of us was knit together our in mother’s womb, God knew us.”

All people, from the moment of their creation to the moment of natural death, are blessed with God’s love and dignity.

“Before anything we do or don’t to, any success or failure, before we choose to love God or choose sin, God loves us,” said Fr. Clark. “That places in each person — from conception forward — a dignity that is worthy of being protected; that is worth fighting for and protecting.”

Every human being must therefore stand up for truth and for the dignity of others.

It starts with prayer — asking God to help people accept the truth, to rescue the unborn, pregnant mothers and the fathers who are in difficult situations, and those who have become lost in the battle for life.

“If we are not taking it to God prayer, then we’re trying to fight this battle alone,” he said.

People of life must also give witness to the dignity of all people by consistently treating others in a way that reflects their God-given dignity.

There must also be action.

“There are many opportunities for us to get involved in pro-life ministry, many moments where we can serve those who need someone to advocate for them,” said Fr. Clark.

He offered a few suggestions: volunteering at or raising money for a local pregnancy help center, advocating against the horrors of abortion and anything else that attacks the dignity of the unborn.

Bishop McKnight has pointed out that the Catholic Church ministers not just to Catholics in this diocese but to all people.

“I would like to see even more of our fellow Catholics be engaged in society in terms of our service of charity and in witnessing the beauty of our faith,” he said.