ESCONDIDO – Several hundred faithful gathered under 100-plus sun for a special outdoor Mass to launch a year-long effort to help pregnant women facing difficult times.
Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano celebrated the bilingual morning Mass, held in the field of St. Mary’s School on the Feast of the Assumption.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have called on parishes across the nation reach out to pregnant women and connect them with the resources they may need and to support and encourage them. The year-long project is called “Walking with Moms in Need,” and was to begin in March but was delayed by the pandemic.
Several hundred attended the Mass, huddled under umbrellas and tents scattered across the field to protect from the heat, which approached 110 degrees Fahrenheit near noon. They wore masks and were socially distant, except for members of the same households.
In his Homily, Bishop Bejarano reflected on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s three-month visit with her cousin Elizabeth as both women were pregnant.
“Just like Mary accompanied and helped her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant, our bishops are asking us to be a helping community, especially to mothers who need help,” the Bishop said.
“We know that a pregnancy is a blessing but we also know that there are women who may be enduring difficult times,” he continued. “Some of them because they are going to be single mothers. Some of them because they live in poverty. Some of them may be at that moment confused, without their family’s support and may not know what to do.
“And the bishops are asking us to be, as Church, like Mary, to help these women, to let them know that we stand with them. So that they can enjoy the gift that the Lord has given them, which is to give the gift of life.”
María de Lourdes Valencia, associate director of the Office of Life, Peace and Justice at the San Diego Catholic Diocese, spoke at the Mass. She explained that each parish was being invited to connect a range of community resources to pregnant women in need, and to offer them emotional support and accompaniment. She invited everyone to pick up information on the campaign at a diocesan table and share it with anyone who may need this assistance.
Then she addressed any woman facing her pregnancy in uncertain, difficult times.
“We’re here for you. You are not alone.”