Pope St John Paul II was one of the most pro-life pontiffs of our time, penning the encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) and familiarising us with the concepts of “the culture of life” and “the culture of death”.
He was also undoubtedly one of the most Marian popes of our time, adopting for himself the motto Totus Tuus, meaning “completely yours”. His devotion to Mary was deeply influenced by the writings of St Louis Marie de Montfort, author of the classic True Devotion to Mary, in which he explains that devotion to Mary is “the most perfect of all devotions” because “it conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ”.
Pope St John Paul II made it clear, says Peter Darcy in ‘The Virgin Mary and the Pro-Life Movement’, (August 5, 2018, The Catholic Stand) that Mary is at the centre of the struggle for life in this world.
This he did in his sermon at an outdoor Mass at the World Youth Day in Denver in 1993, on the Solemnity of the Assumption: “At her Assumption, Mary was ‘taken up to Life’—body and soul. She is already a part of ‘the first fruits’ (1 Cor 15:20) of our Saviour’s redemptive Death and Resurrection.”
He continues: “The Son took his human life from her; in return he gave her the fullness of communion in Divine Life. She is the only other being in whom the mystery has already been completely accomplished. In Mary, the final victory of Life over death is already a reality.”
Darcy points out that, according to the Holy Father, all those who consider themselves pro-life must take Mary as their pre-eminent champion in the struggle to restore legal protection to unborn children and to root out a pervasive culture of death.
In addition, he says, as Our Lady was the channel through which Divine Life came to us, she is now the channel through which life will be restored to a society that has succumbed to death.
In 2018, in recognition of the fact that Mary is indeed our only hope in the struggle to restore a culture of life to our beloved country, the Emmanuel Community began conducting an annual 40-day Rosary for Life campaign.
The campaign began this year on July 31, the Feast of Our Lady of the Slain, in commemoration of all the unborn who are killed in the womb and suffer with silent screams. It ends on September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, in honour of every birth and every life.
The intentions for the five decades are as follows:
A column by the Emmanuel Community: 46 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook.Tel:628-1064; firstname.lastname@example.org