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Our Lady of the Unborn

By Karen Heinzman, President of LiGHT Ministry

Dedication and Blessing of the Statue of Our Lady of the Unborn

On Sunday, January 23, 2022 the dedication and blessing of the statue of Our Lady of the Unborn was held, on the same day as the March for Life in Walla Walla.  The completion of the project will happen this spring with the installation of a prayer bench with inscription, a patio and landscaping.

Below is the speech given at the dedication.


Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen!

WELCOME
Welcome to this Dedication and Blessing of the Statue of Our Lady of the Unborn, on this weekend dedicated to March for Life, to pray for the Unborn.

This has been a project of the members of the LiGHT Ministry of St. Patrick Church for the last three years. I’m Karen Heinzman, president of LiGHT Ministry and I’d like to introduce our board - Monica Gaffrey, Ginny Matthews, Maureen Hall and Jennifer Eskil.  I’d also like to recognize our tri-parish pastor Fr. Matthew Nicks and Fr. Curtis Seidel, president of WWCS.

ORIGIN
This project began with a desire to have a place to pray for Mary’s intercession to her son Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to help those in need of help for their unborn.  This is a place of consolation for those who have been touched by the loss of an unborn by miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.  It is a place for mothers, fathers, grandparents, family members and anyone who needs a quiet place to pray and reflect.

Our thanks to Monica and Jim Gaffrey who spearheaded this project after visiting other shrines in neighboring communities. Monica researched statues and brought examples to our pastor, Fr. Nicks, for a final decision.  Fr. Nicks chose a bronze statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and “Patroness of the Unborn”. 

LiGHT Ministry began in earnest raising over $22,000 for the bronze statue and another $4,000 for the granite prayer bench which will be installed in the next month or two.  We raised funds through the Winter Gala, bake sales, Christmas evergreen sales and soliciting individual donations.  We are so very grateful to all those from our three Catholic parishes and Walla Walla community who found it in their hearts to support this holy project.

Jim Gaffrey and Tony Pugliese from Heritage Monuments installed the beautiful statue in this cove of the church.  The prayer bench, a patio, new downspouts and plantings will be completed this spring.

HISTORY
In Catholic church history, the emergence of the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe began nearly 500 years ago when she appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico.  She came first and foremost as a mother – the mother of God, and our mother.  She said “Listen, and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son: do not be troubled or weighted down with grief.  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 fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle?  In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?

She spoke as his mother and as the mother of an unborn baby Jesus when she appeared on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City, in 1531.  Her miraculous image, imprinted on the saint’s tilma, or cloak, shows her wearing a black sash, an indication of pregnancy in the native culture.

The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe changed darkness into light almost overnight. Whereas hundreds of thousands were leaving the Catholic Church in Europe due to the Protestant Reformation, millions were converting from the pagan Aztec practices to the true Faith through the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  And, today, millions continue to visit her many shrines every year.

In 1999 St. Pope John Paul II stated: “This is our cry: life with dignity for all! For all who have been conceived in their mother’s womb…!”

20 years later, Pope Francis reiterated: “Saint John Paul II commended to her maternal protection, the life and innocence of children, especially those who run the risk of not being born.  By her intercession, let us implore the gift of children for families without children, respect for the conceived life and the openness of hearts to Gospel values.”

BLESSING - Now we ask Fr. Nicks to bless this shrine to Our Lady of the Unborn.

PRAYER BY AUDIENCE
Virgin of Guadalupe, Patronnes of the Unborn, we implore your intercession for every child at risk of abortion. Help expecting parents to welcome from God the priceless gift of their child’s life.

Console parents who have lost that gift through abortion, and lead them to forgiveness and healing through the Divine Mercy of your Son.

Teach us to cherish and to care for family and friends until God calls them home.  Help us never to see others as burdens.

Guide our public officials to defend each and every human life through just laws. Inspire us all to bring our faith into public life, to speak for those who have no voice.

We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who is Love and Mercy itself.  Amen”

Our Lady of the Unborn, lift the hearts of our citizenry, to put an end to human sacrifice in the dark rooms of the abortion industry – place the unborn, our families, our city, and our nation underneath the mantle of your protection.

Our Lady of the Unborn, shine forth radiantly as the champion of the unborn and the family!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Patroness of the Unborn,” pray for us!

CONCLUSION
Thank you for attending this dedication and blessing.  We hope you will now participate in the March for Life sponsored by Walla Walla Valley Human Life.  It begins at 1:30 at New Beginnings Chapel and will end back here in St. Patrick Church for prayer.  Refreshments of cookies and hot beverages will be provided in Blanchet Hall.

God bless you!

Images from Dedication and Blessing of the Statue of Our Lady of the Unborn, January 23, 2022 at St. Patrick Church.