Sister Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, delivers her keynote address, “Unto us a child is born: Advent reflections on the culture of life” at the annual Women Affirming Life Advent Mass and breakfast forum. Pilot photo/Donis Tracy
NEWTON -- Optimism was central to the gathering of Catholic women at this year’s Women Affirming Life Advent Mass and breakfast forum, held at the Newton Marriott Hotel.
With close to 250 women attending this year’s event, the Dec. 13 gathering began with a Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, who praised the women’s commitment for pro-life issues.
During the homily, the cardinal acknowledged that, “today’s climate for the pro-life movement is very challenged,” but stressed that defending life is “at the center of our Catholic faith.”
Referring to the Gospel reading about the wise and foolish virgins, the cardinal exhorted the assembly to “have oil in our lamps.”
“We live in a world blinded by materialism and hedonism. There are so many things trying to put out the light [of Christ],” Cardinal O’Malley said, adding that as Catholics we are called to “put the bridegroom back into Christmas.”
“This is the challenge,” he added. “This is the mission.”
The cardinal then pointed out that the gathering was being held on the feast of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the blind. He explained that St. Lucy was a consecrated virgin who refused to marry a pagan, and had her dowry distributed to the poor. Her would-be husband denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Sicily for which she was stabbed and killed.