By Dave Jolivet

FALL RIVER — When on June 23,2022 the United States Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., many in the diocese and across the country had the sense that the victory over the culture of death had been attained. But with only 13 states enforcing strict anti-abortion measures, others have found ways around the decision.

“There is still so much work to do,” Irina Robinson, diocesan Family and Respect Life Director told The Anchor. “Many don’t realize what is really going on behind the scenes across the country when it comes to allowing abortions.”

Bringing this to the forefront will be paramount at this year’s annual diocesan Respect Life Month Mass and Conference to be held October 22. The Mass, which will be celebrated by Bishop Edgard M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second Street, at 10:30 a.m, and is free and open to the public. The conference requires an RSVP ticket which costs $35 and includes lunch. Deadline for RSVP is October 11.

The bishop is expected deliver a Pro-Life Month message expounding the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight for life in this country.

The conference will take place following the Mass at White’s of Westport. During the conference, the bishop will again deliver a Pro-Life address for folks living in the diocese.

The guest speaker will be noted author and speaker, Peter Kreeft, Ph. D, a professor of philosophy at Boston College since 1965, and the author of more than 100 published books, with topics including God, Christianity, Pro-Life arguments, philosophy, culture wars, theology and logic, Heaven, children, J.R.R. Tolkien, and even surfing.

The Mass is sponsored by Michael DeBenedetto, FDD, life director along with the Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

The conference is hosted by Irina Robinson, diocesan Family and Respect Life Director; and Deborah Ledoux, diocesan Family and Respect Life Coordinator, part of the Diocese of Fall River’s Secretariat for the New Evangelization.

“We are encouraging Pro-Life leaders from parishes across the diocese to attend the Mass and Conference,” said Robinson. “They and their parishes will be recognized at the conference. Our hope is that one day every diocesan parish will have a Pro-Life organization.”

Robinson also told The Anchor that she will make attendees aware that the fight is far from over in the quest to respect life from conception to natural death.

“We’re going to talk about the Walking with Moms in Need program in the diocese, which is part of the national program initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Our diocesan and parish Walking with Moms in Needs programs provide assistance to moms and dads who are in need of assistance. We help them financially, psychologically and spiritually.

“We provide diapers, wipes, and sometimes even cribs and mattresses. Even with the Supreme Court’s decision, there is still a great need out there for mothers, dads and their young children.”

Robinson told The Anchor that with the increase in immigrants in the area, the needs are very much present.

She said that all of the items given to the families come from donations from across the diocese.

Robinson also shared that the need to be there for women who are contemplating abortion is still present as well. ”Just this year, we’ve talked to two women who thought abortion was the proper solution, and we counseled them throughout the pregnancies,” said Robinson.

“We also want to reach out to young people and continue to stress that respect life means all life, from conception to natural death,” she added.

To obtain tickets for the conference, visit fallriverfaithformation.org. Ticket sales will cease one week prior to the event.