By Theresia Titus
Pregnancy Assistance Inc celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patron Saint to the organisation – with a thanksgiving Mass on 12 December.
Celebrated by Perth St Mary’s Cathedral Assistant Priest Fr Jeffey Casabuena, the Mass was dedicated to mothers, especially to those who are pregnant and struggling with poverty and family challenges, needing additional support and care to keep them “and their unborn children safe and protected against the culture of death”.
“Pregnancy Assistance Inc works with the Archdiocese of Perth to live and uphold the mission of the Church, coming from the words of Jesus Christ who said ‘I have come that they may have life and have it in all its fullness’,” Fr Casabuena said.
“The beautiful words of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae of Pope St John Paul II in 1995 have opened our eyes to the reality of the change of the society that we are in which brought the emergence of the war of the powerful against the weak (EV 12), and that happens, first and foremost, in the womb.”
Fr Casabuena reminded the congregation that we, as a human race, need to take care of life and guard it against those who destroy.
“The celebration of this Mass in honour of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe is not coincidental, but it is the affirmation of God’s love for life,” Fr Casabuena said.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe originated from the four apparitions of the pregnant Blessed Virgin to 55-year-old Juan Diego in December 1531.
Her apparitions emphasised the sacredness of life within the womb, at the time when human sacrifices culture, especially of young children as they were deemed to be pure and innocent, were still performed in Mexico.
“The message that God perhaps wanted to tell us through Our Lady of Guadalupe is that life is sacred as it comes from Him, and He continually protecting us, especially those who are unable to protect themselves, weak and vulnerable including the young and unborn, from threats and attacks against life,” Fr Casabuena added.
With the Gospel reading being taken from Luke 1:26-38, Fr Casabuena emphasised that we have Mary as an example to renew our commitment to say “yes” to life as our “yes” to God of life.
“How beautiful and sacred life is that God wanted to become part of our human lives, with flesh and blood sanctifying our humanity from womb to tomb,” he said.
“May we continue to protect life in all its forms and we will not allow the culture of death to destroy the plan and purpose God has created us for.
“We pray as well that pregnant women would value and realise the call and vocation to motherhood, bringing human lives into the world made in the image of God and reflecting His glory,” Fr Casabuena continued.
Pregnancy Assistance was founded in 1996 by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, triggered by the need in society for an organisation that would “offer counselling and practical support for women, especially for those distressed by an unexpected pregnancy”.
Speaking to The eRecord, Pregnancy Assistance Inc Board Chair Eric Jas said the organisation is available to everyone who seeks help, needs support and is in search of hope.
“We provide compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post-birth, irrespective of religions, race, demographics and personal values,” Mr Jas said.
“The service also includes counselling for women and men impacted by pregnancy loss – miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion,”
Mr Jas also asserted that Pregnancy Assistance offers “restorative counselling for women and men who are experiencing pain as a result of having had a termination of pregnancy”.
“The pain of abortion is real and when the pain is hidden, emotional wounds may occur,” he added.
“The compassionate and qualified counsellors at Pregnancy Assistance care about the women and men and will support them so they can be restored to live and love again.”
For more information, visit: www.pregnancyassist.com.au