PROVIDENCE — While pro-life advocates have much to celebrate this year, following the landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the battle to protect life in all its stages continues.
“We now live in a post Roe America,” said Lisa Cooley, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Life and Family Ministry.
“We praise God for the Dobbs decision, which led to the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade. This has opened a new chapter in the struggle to recognize the humanity of the unborn and to recognize in law their God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Right reason teaches us about the humanity of the unborn child. Faith helps us see more clearly and profoundly. We also pray for the many souls who don’t recognize the full humanity of children in the womb and their right to be protected.”
Cooley said the Office of Life and Family Ministry has planned a series of activities which support the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.
On Saturday, Sept., 24, at 10 a.m., the ministry, in collaboration with R.I. Right to Life, is planning a “Jericho Walk,” consisting of a “peaceful, prayerful and respectful walk for life,” from St. Patrick Church, 244 Smith St., Providence, to the Rhode Island Statehouse, about three blocks away. There, participants will walk around the building three times as a visible showing of their support for life.
The walk will serve as the inaugural event to the diocese’s 40 Days for Life Fall 2022 campaign which runs through November 6.
Founded in Bryan-College Station, Texas, 40 Days for Life has grown into an international grassroots movement to end abortion, operating in more than 60 nations worldwide. Statistics provided by the organization indicate that since 2007, the 40 Days campaign has saved 22,013 lives, and has seen 120 abortions centers close their doors in response to the prayerful vigils held outside clinics.
Locally, the Office of Life and Family Ministry and R.I. Right to Life are encouraging the faithful to sign up to ensure that vigils are held as continuously as possible on the public right-of-way, outside 175 Broad St., during the campaign. For more details and to sign up, visit 40DaysforLife.com/Providence.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin will open this year’s Human Life Guild Day by celebrating Holy Mass at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul at 9 a.m. Father Stephen J. Dandeneau, pastor of St. Eugene Church, Chepachet, will serve as homilist. The bishop will present awards to people who have an unconditional commitment to human life and building a culture of life.
Human Life Guild Day which runs through 1 p.m., is an opportunity for participants to renew their commitment to life. Following the Mass there will be brunch and a program of nationally known speakers in the lower cathedral hall.
Speakers include Genevieve S. Kineke, writer of “Authentic Femininity,” who will speak on “How Elastic is Motherhood?”; Philosopher Peter J. Colosi, an associate professor at Salve Regina University, will speak on “The Beauty of a Catholic Understanding of Dying vs. Euthanasia”; and Father Paul E. Desmarais, pastor at St. Mary Church, Carolina, will speak on “Spiritual Warfare and the War on Human Life.”
Tickets are $25 per person and include brunch and admission to the speaking program. There is no charge for clergy and religious of the Diocese of Providence. Registration is requested by September 23.
For more information, contact the Diocese of Providence Office of Life and Family at 401- 278-2518 or email Lisa Cooley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following day, Oct. 2, from 2-3 p.m., Life Chain Sunday will be observed diocese-wide, featuring peaceful gatherings of prayer and public witness for life and for the end of abortion. Contact the Office of Life and Family to schedule Life Chain events or for locations where they are being held. More at dioceseofprovidence.org/life.
Cooley laments that while in the wake of the Roe decision many states have strengthened laws to protect the unborn, not much has changed in Rhode Island.
“It is our duty to proclaim the truth of the gospel of life to the world,” she said.
“The Office of Life and Family makes that possible with several fall events in which we will come together to show solidarity, to educate and to proclaim.”