Making full use of technology and overcoming public gathering restrictions, the Diocese offered new and unprecedented expressions of prayer and advocacy for the unborn this year as the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision was marked.
Bishop Alberto Rojas celebrated a Mass, “Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life,” that was livestreamed from St. Junipero Serra House of Formation in Grand Terrace on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In a powerfully direct homily, Bishop Rojas called the high court ruling “a terrible mistake,” denounced abortion as “an attack on God,” and quoted painful statistics about its death toll.
“Just in the U.S. alone, a baby is killed by abortion every 26 seconds,” he said. “Abortion is not a healthcare issue… it is much more than that. It is a God issue.
“If we stand with Christ then we must stand for life. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of lies.”
The Bishop called on the faithful to pray for healing among women who have had an abortion and anyone who has helped facilitate one. He also called on the faithful to help bring about conversion among those who support abortion.
“No one has a right to take anybody’s life at any stage,” Bishop Rojas said. “Human rights, without the right to life, doesn’t make any sense.”
The clergy of the Diocese joined in the Pro Life observances of the Diocese in a variety of ways. Just hours after the Diocesan Mass, Father Tyler Tripp led a bilingual Rosary “In Commemoration of the 1973 Supreme Court Decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. The following day Father Manuel Cardoza, Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in San Bernardino, led a “Mass of Life and Reparation” near a Planned Parenthood facility in San Bernardino. For the second year in a row the Diocesan Office of Respect Life and Pastoral Care offered a Novena that featured daily online reflections from priests in the Diocese. Catholics from the Diocese also participated in a virtual version of the annual OneLife LA event that raises prayers and awareness for the cause of Life.
Mary Kay Woodward, a parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena in Rialto, said she was moved by the many expressions of reverence for life held around the Roe v. Wade anniversary. Woodward, herself, is a product of a decision to choose life. Her mother, as a high school senior, chose to give birth to her even though she was conceived from a rape.
“I’m very thankful for our Diocesan commemoration of the lives of 63+ million babies lost to abortion in the 48 years since the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision,” said Woodward, who is now 80 years old. “May Bishop Rojas’ inspiring homily spur all of us to prayer and dedication to standing for life at all ages and stages.”
Like many diocesan ministries, the Office of Respect Life and Pastoral Care has had to find new ways to engage people of faith, and it will be better for it in the long run, says Director Mary Huber.
“Even though the pandemic has thrown us a terrible curve ball, being able to continue the work virtually has allowed us to explore other avenues capable of reaching more people than ever before,” Huber said.