By NICHOLE GOLDEN | Published February 7, 2019 | En Español
ATLANTA—As Catholics began to learn of a new state law in New York that radically expanded abortion, Atlanta parishioners and students took part in a positive witness for the dignity of all life.
Groups and individuals from across the Archdiocese of Atlanta attended the annual Mass for the Unborn and Stand for Life at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, on Monday, Jan. 28.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was the celebrant of the morning Mass, which included a commissioning of Respect Life leaders for parishes.
In his homily, Archbishop Gregory that said that movie prequels and sequels satisfy the human need to know what happened in the lives of heroes and heroines in their pasts as well as in their futures.
But one need only to look to the book of Genesis for our story from its beginning, said the archbishop.
“The Genesis story does not oppose any theories of scientific evolution, as some folks might like to suggest. It simply states that God himself starts all life,” he said. “It is from that beginning from the very first moments within the womb, that human life secures its dignity and its sacredness—because it comes from the precise hand of God.”
We know how life begins and why it is sacred, said the archbishop.
“We also believe that we are destined to live forever with God when our life concludes at God’s command,” he said.
The archbishop said this is a moment in time when people are choosing not to view the prequel.
All of life’s stories are because of God’s purpose, “and to halt even a tiny person within the womb is to thwart the gift that God bestows on every life,” he said.
What makes us pro-life is that we know how the story begins and how it’s supposed to conclude, said Archbishop Gregory.
“Genesis is the beginning chapter and heaven is the final scene and all of the characters are invited to star in the entire story—infants within the womb, those in prison, those who are seeking a new life in a new country, those who are elderly and frail, those who live on the margins of society—because God has written this narrative of life and he planned it to be enacted always according to his original design,” he said.
Sharing the church’s teaching
It was Joey Martineck’s first Mass for the Unborn as the new director of the archdiocesan Respect Life ministry. He became the director in the fall of 2018.
He was pleased with the turnout for Mass and the following public witness event along Peachtree Street, Stand for Life, calling it a “good mix” of both school groups and parishioners.
Students prayed the rosary prior to Mass, and following Stand for Life, many stayed to watch a trailer of the new film, “Unplanned.” The movie is the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood leader.
Martineck has been visiting many parishes to present programs on the Church’s teaching on life, marriage and family.
“My general philosophy is there’s something in the heart that needs to change in all of us,” he said.
He calls the programs a commercial of sorts for Theology of the Body and a way to “begin to light that fire.”
Theology of the Body is an understanding of human sexuality shaped by St. John Paul II. When presenting programs, Martineck usually takes along books geared for parents and youth that explain the teaching.
Abortion is one symptom of a wider sickness, he says.
“It’s hard for us as a church to zoom out,” said Martineck. “What is the real disease?”
The writings of St. John Paul II on authentic love and reverence for the body can broaden the conversation on why people seek abortions and how to counteract that.
He knows people are troubled about news of New York’s new abortion law and a similar proposal in Virginia to expand abortions by loosening restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
Martineck urges Catholics to use anger to motivate them to become more involved in the Respect Life ministry at the parish level. If every parish in the archdiocese had one new volunteer, it would increase the amount of awareness and work the ministry is able to do by 20 percent, he said.
It’s also a good time to turn toward faith, he reminded.
“Prayer, and trust in God … it’s not really just a throw-away term,” said Martineck.
To learn more about Respect Life or to schedule a parish presentation with Joey Martineck, call 404-920-7362 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.