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Dakota Roper cuddled his 5-week-old daughter Lakota, while visiting his parents in Granite City, Illinois. Roper received help from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul after his daughter was born.
Dakota Roper cuddled his 5-week-old daughter Lakota, while visiting his parents in Granite City, Illinois. Roper received help from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul after his daughter was born.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

ARCHBISHOP | A multifaceted and collaborative approach to pro-life issues

The best way to support life is to offer so much community support that abortion isn’t even a consideration

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This past year I’ve been writing about serving the Lord at the peripheries. It’s fitting to speak about our pro-life work as the capstone of that series.

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski walked with others at the March on the Arch pro-life event in March.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
Thanks to the Gateway Arch, most of us are familiar with the role of a capstone. It’s the last piece placed in an arch, and holds the whole structure together. That’s exactly what our pro-life work does. It’s not the only thing we do. But without this piece, everything else falls apart.

One of the most important things to understand about our approach to pro-life issues is how multifaceted and collaborative it is.

First, all of our pro-life work is rooted in prayer. The sisters at Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent pray and provide a place of hospitality for those who come to pray outside the abortion clinic in St. Louis. We have Mass once a month and an annual Roe v. Wade memorial Mass. In this, as in all things, prayer is at the heart of our service.

Holly Haberberger, left, talked to Christina Simpson, a mom of three including a three-month-old son, who received diapers and other supplies from Tri-County Birthright in Eureka in February 2021.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
Perhaps the most important visible expression of our pro-life commitment is the care we provide for mothers in need. Whether it’s through our own Good Shepherd Children and Family Services, St. Martha’s Hall, Queen of Peace Center, or Marygrove, or whether it’s through our many community partners like Birthright, Coalition for Life, Haven of Grace, Mary Queen of Angels, Our Lady’s Inn, and so many others, we make sure there’s always a place for a mother to turn and find help.

Of course people do have and have had and will have abortions. Our first response there is not to condemn but to offer healing. We do this through our Abortion Healing Ministries like Project Rachel (for women) and Project Joseph (for men). These programs offer the healing of Jesus to those who have been involved in an abortion.

Finally, through our efforts in schools, our annual convention, our participation in the March for Life and the legislative efforts of our partners at the Missouri Catholic Conference, we work to educate about, bear witness to and enact protections for the value of life.

Do we think abortion is wrong? We do! It ends a life, harms a mother and hurts the family and society. So we will continue to push for laws and policies that respect life in cities, counties, the state and the nation. But the best way to articulate our belief in the value of life is to offer so much support from the community that women don’t even consider an abortion. Maybe the central thrust of our pro-life work is best captured in the USCCB project “A Year of Service: Walking with Moms in Need.”

Eighth-graders Mahliha Lee and Ellie Sitze led a procession of students as they held a pro-life march outside St. Mark Parish School in St. Louis in January.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
Here in the “show me” state, our pro-life work is a model of serving the Lord at the peripheries. If we could bring this same kind of deep, multifaceted and collaborative approach to every periphery it would make a huge difference. And it would show the world: This is who the Church is. We serve the Lord at the peripheries, and we do it with gladness.

If you know anyone in need please reach out to us. The biggest thing we want to do is help.

Places to Turn for Help

Archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate: https://www.archstl.org/respect-life-apostolate

Catholic Charities of Saint Louis: https://www.ccstl.org/

Birthright: https://birthrightstl.org/

Coalition for Life Saint Louis: https://www.coalitionforlifestl.com/

Society of St. Vincent De Paul of Saint Louis: https://svdpstlouis.org/

Read more of the St. Louis Review’s coverage of pro-life issues: https://www.archstl.org/st-louis-review/archive/tag/666?sort=desc&show=search

The Catholic Church is Pro-Life video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmxqMxrZ9V4

See more videos: www.youtube.com/c/ArchdioceseofStLouis/videos

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