ICR PHOTO | VERO GUTIÉRREZ
By Emily Woodham
In his homily for the Mass for Life, Bishop Peter Christensen encouraged pro-life advocates to have courage and trust in God, like the Blessed Mother. “With every grace Mary received from the Lord, there was a sacrifice to follow,” Bishop Peter said.
Bishop Peter explained that from Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem to the escape to Egypt, from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to His crucifixion and resurrection, Mary and the saints persevered, even though the road was not easy.
“For ourselves, even today, as we work to establish in love and truth the value of each and every life, it is not always easy or easily accepted,” Bishop Peter said. “But we place our trust in God as we follow His lead given by the Holy Spirit.” More than 600 attended the Mass for Life on Jan. 20 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise. Bishop Peter commented on the homily given by Arlington, Virginia Bishop Burbidge at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Baltimore on Jan. 19, where 7,000 people attended the national Mass for Life. Bishop Peter noted that Bishop Burbidge said, “Christ Himself is the only answer to better the world even as it persists in imperfection. Christ speaks these words not as an assurance that all our efforts will succeed by worldly metrics, but as a promise that He will be there in our successes and
our failures, in our victories and our losses. He will be with us always.”
It was a tremendous victory on June 24, 2022, when the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v. Wade, which had transferred abortion rights from state to federal law in 1973, Bishop Peter said. “But if the past year and a half has taught us anything, it is this: Dobbs is not the end. The lives of the unborn are still in danger — in some places, more than ever. The lives of innocent children are being taken. Mothers are still being
harmed. Couples, children and families are still in need of resources, support and love.”
At the end of his homily, Bishop Peter led the congregation in a reflection upon three questions that could be addressed to Jesus, as if He were sitting in a chair next to each person. Bishop Peter encouraged the assembly to consider the questions in the personal areas of their lives, and also in light of the pro-life movement, with its struggles and victories: Does God know our situation? Is it too hard for Him to handle? Does He have a good plan for us?
“Does God know where we are today in the pro-life movement? Does He know the struggles and what we’re going through? Is this too hard for Him to handle? He is the Creator of the entire universe.” Bishop Peter continued, “He is the Lord of humility and meekness, the Lord of mercy, not of shame. He does not promote doubt and confusion. He needs our help and will use us, and He will handle it.”
“Does He have a good plan for us? The Lord does have a good plan for us. He wants us to step forward to delight in the vocation and call we have received and the ways in which we are to do it. But also to move through those times of doubt, confusion, and hardship, trusting that He’s there, and He will raise us up to do even greater things. He has a good plan for us, my brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Peter encouraged the congregation to surrender to God and trust Him who leads us, even as our Blessed Mother did. “She is the Queen of the Americas. Let us follow her lead. Let us surrender ourselves to her care, given by the grace of her Son who is always with her.” Bishop Peter concluded his homily with the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego:
Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little one: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?
“Mary, our Blessed Mother, knows the ways of her Son, our Lord. Let her help us to be faithful in following her Son,” he said. Bishop Peter recognized Father Dennis Day,
retired priest of the Diocese of Boise who concelebrated at the Mass, for his decades of work in the pro-life movement and his service as a National Right to Life Committee board member. Father German Osorio, rector of the Cathedral, and Father Tim Segert, parochial vicar, concelebrated at the Mass and Deacon Derrick O’Neill assisted. Bishop Peter also congratulated Christian Welp, director of diocesan projects, for his work in protecting the rights of the unborn and families.
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