Pro-Life Ministry brings Christ’s hope, healing during times of uncertainty, unrest

September 22, 2020

The Office of Pro-Life Activities coordinates several events, including prayer and advocacy opportunities like the March of the Surviving Youth, when hundreds of attendees gather to advocate and raise awareness for life. Usually held in October, the event was postponed until March 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Pro-Life Activities)

HOUSTON — To build a culture that cherishes and protects human dignity in every season of life, especially when threatened during these times of uncertainty and unrest, the Church spares no effort.

The Office of Pro-Life Activities (PLA) focuses on those with suffering souls to fill them with the hope and healing only found in Christ.

“As Catholics, we are called to be aware of all threats to life and dignity whenever and wherever they occur,” said Julie Fritsch, director of PLA. “We are further called to respond to those threats, especially when they involve the most vulnerable, with the truth and compassion of Christ.”

Fritsch said the mission of the PLA is more important now than ever to promote a culture of life at all stages and circumstances, including at the local level. The office provides retreats, educational programming, and diocesan and statewide prayer and advocacy opportunities to fulfill its mission of protecting human dignity in every season of life.

Fritsch said much of the PLA’s work involves several healing ministries for those suffering trauma. Some of those include Jerome’s Hope, which supports families that have experienced a miscarriage, infant loss or prenatal diagnosis, and Project Rachel, which provides healing after abortion.

Fritsch said because the experience of an abortion can be devastating, causing severe and long-term emotional, psychological, and spiritual trauma, Project Rachel provides a network of services to support the needs of those seeking healing.

The team includes trained clergy, mental health professionals and laypersons available to offer support.

Erika has received help from and has volunteered with Project Rachel since 2019.

She believes the ministry’s loving support network helped her find the pathway toward healing her soul.

“I’ve been helping in the ministry for one and a half years, and for me, it has been a blessing because I have continued to heal my wounds,” Erika said. “At every weekend retreat, I’ve had the opportunity to see how Jesus pours out His grace for each retreatant, changing their somber look into a light of Christ. I could feel how Jesus has led me toward the light with His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

Despite restrictions from COVID-19 mandates in effect since March, Fritsch believes PLA’s healing ministries have been successful in reaching the women and families they serve.

However, the Gabriel Project, which assists women experiencing difficult circumstances during pregnancy, has experienced challenges at the parish level.

“The Gabriel Project ministry has been substantially impacted by the pandemic as many more families have found themselves in need of assistance; at the same time, donations have decreased at the parish level,” said Fritsch.

Even though connections are harder to maintain because of the pandemic, Fritsch said volunteers at the parish and Archdiocesan level still work to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting mothers and families.

The pandemic’s effects have minimally impacted the planning this summer of a major PLA initiative for parishes within the Archdiocese — the national “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service” campaign. Organized by the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB), the initiative invites parishes to examine how they are already assisting pregnant moms, families with young infants, and families with growing children, and to consider how they might expand or build upon these ministries to reach more individuals.

Fritsch said mandates may have restricted some of the planning meetings, but the initiative is going strong.

“Although captioned ‘a Year of Service,’ I believe the initiative is better described as a ‘year of preparation’ or a ‘year of planning,’” said Fritsch. “The Walking with Moms program offers parishes an opportunity to thoroughly plan in 2020-2021 initiatives to be implemented in 2021 and beyond.”

PLA is one of 60 ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF). To help support the mission of the PLA by contributing to the 2020 DSF campaign, visit