‘Mass for the Unborn’ draws activists, prayer warriors from throughout the diocese

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Sean and Erin Sylvester of Chandler attended the Jan. 18 Mass for the Unborn at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. The Sylvesters said they often pray outside Planned Parenthood clinics in the Valley. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Sean and Erin Sylvester of Chandler attended the Jan. 18 Mass for the Unborn at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. The Sylvesters said they often pray outside Planned Parenthood clinics in the Valley. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Pro-life advocates traveled from all over the Diocese of Phoenix for a special “Mass for the Unborn” Jan. 18 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.

Sean and Erin Sylvester of Chandler brought their six children to the annual liturgy celebrated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to pray for a greater respect for human life. The Mass is held each year near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. The Sylvesters, who teach Natural Family Planning and marriage preparation classes, say they often pray outside Planned Parenthood clinics in the Valley.

“My wife and I are survivors of 42 years of legalized abortion,” Sean said. The Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 needs to be seen in a different light, he added.

“Women didn’t get a right. It’s children that lost a right,” Sean said. “Children lost the right to live and the right to be born. That’s the message we need to be getting out to people.”

It’s a message Aaron Ubali has taken to heart. The young husband and father said he prays the rosary daily for an end to abortion.

“When I think about abortion, I think of all the children that have been aborted,” Ubali said. “Maybe one of them would have found the cure for cancer. We all pray for the cure for cancer; for all we know, God could have answered our prayers through one of these [aborted] children.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted told pro-life advocates gathered at the Mass for the Unborn that the heart of prayer is surrendering to God and listening for His response. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted greeted pro-life advocates after the Mass for the Unborn Jan. 18 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

In his homily, Bishop Olmsted related Psalm 40 to the turmoil experienced by a woman in a crisis pregnancy. The psalm is unusual in that it does not follow the usual pattern of lament followed by rejoicing. Instead, the psalmist alternates between lamenting and rejoicing. In that, he reflects the human experience, which is not the fairytale ending of “happily ever after,” Bishop Olmsted said.

“This is a very realistic prayer. It’s true for all of us involved in efforts to end the killing of children and those who are trying to build a culture of life,” the bishop said. Psalm 40 demonstrates that out of the experience of being rescued by God from a very difficult situation, faith is bolstered.

“The Lord allows us to go through difficulties and times when our mind is covered in shadows for the sake of strengthening our faith and learning to trust more in our Lord and redeemer,” Bishop Olmsted said.

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