It’s an exciting time at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Ontario. Last month, Bishop Rojas visited the parish to celebrate a multicultural Mass and bless a series of new renovations and additions at the parish. These include reupholstered pews and celebrant’s chair, an upgraded and repositioned choir platform, new church doors, additions to the chapel, renovations to the parish office, a statue of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and most notably, a beautiful new Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Unborn.
The 5-foot-9 white marble statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly extraordinary. Unlike the other images of the Blessed Mother where she is portrayed as majestic and queenly, this presents Mary in a humble, ordinary light. Wrapped in her loving arms are three unborn babies pressed dearly to her breast as if she were saying to them, “Don’t be afraid, you’re safe with me now. I’m your Mother.” Her lips are slightly smiling, yet there’s no denying that her eyes reveal great sorrow in her soul. Including the 3-foot base that she’s sitting on, the statue is almost 9 feet tall. A wrought iron fence surrounds the statue and the benches around it.
“We intentionally chose this size of the statue because we want it to be an imposing reminder of the sanctity of the human life. We want people to be drawn to it, to have a sense of wonder at the sight of it, and then be reminded that we need to respect, love, protect and care for life from the moment of conception to natural death,” said Father Cristobal Subosa, the parish’s pastor and himself a strong pro-life advocate who for quite a long time had been dreaming of erecting a shrine of the Blessed Mother dedicated to the unborn.
“We consider it a shrine, a special area in our parish specifically dedicated for prayer and quiet meditation, so people can really contemplate the beauty and sacredness of life,” Fr. Subosa added.
For parish parochial vicar Father Julian Okoroanyanwu, the shrine speaks to the parish’s strong pro-life ethos. “We have been blessed here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton with a community that is overwhelmingly generous and who upholds the sanctity of life to the utmost with fierce conviction and unwavering resolve,” said Fr. Okoroanyanwu. “True change begins with community like this, people who are strong in their faith and who are unafraid to defend their faith no matter what….”
Cynthia Grace Bacud and Marisol Fuentes agreed to reveal their names in their earnest hope that young women in the parish would learn from their stories.
“I come from a tightly-knit Asian family and my parents said I couldn’t bring a bi-racial child into the world. I felt so confused, scared, abandoned and worthless. So I aborted the only child I ever conceived,” said Bacud.
“Years later, when I told my parents that I had an abortion, they said that they regretted having said those words to me, but it’s too late. The damage was done. They didn’t realize how jarring those words were to me at that time. Right now, I have breast cancer and it is already in its advanced stage, and my doctors said that my cancer and abortion are linked together,” Bacud added.
Fuentes bemoaned her “reckless” lifestyle during college and blamed much of her bad decisions then to “complete lack of faith in God….”
“I think about whether it was a boy or girl, what he or she would have looked like, and whether or not he or she would have had my eyes. I think about it all the time. These questions tear me apart over and over again. I always thought that I’d move past it eventually, but it’s only gotten worse … Even though the baby doesn’t exist anymore, its brief existence in my womb changed my life forever. I wish I could go back in time and change my own mind. I would hold my newborn child in my arms and never let go,” Fuentes said, crying….
Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.