Bishop Walter Edyvean addresses guests at the blessing of the Pro-Life Office's new location on grounds of St. Patrick Parish in Natick, Oct. 2. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
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NATICK -- "Moved by Mercy" was the theme of this year's Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 2, and it's a theme that plays a prominent role in the work of the Archdiocese of Boston's newest location for the Pro-Life Office.
Located in a former house on the grounds of St. Patrick Parish in Natick, the office was blessed on Respect Life Sunday by retired Bishop Walter Edyvean.
Before the blessing, Bishop Edyvean celebrated Mass at St. Patrick Parish, and in his homily recalled a time when he worked with the Pro-Life Office.
"There, I witnessed staff and volunteers, absolutely devoid of any judgmental attitude, showing tenderness to women and babies, and at times to fathers, while exercising professional competence who sought assistance of the office," he said.
"One has to recognize also the ability, the faith, and the concern for life on the part of those who sought assistance of the office," he continued.
The bishop noted the mercy, faith, and humility that pro-life activity require, saying that the endeavors "not only require faith and humility, but they have shown faith and humility to the rest of the Catholic community."
"Faith and humility will prompt anyone who has been involved in the work to consider this Pro-Life Sunday as a celebration of thanksgiving to God for what he has allowed them to accomplish," Bishop Edyvean said.
Following the Mass, a short reception was held before Bishop Edyvean and a small crowd of people made their way to the new office.
The offices housed in the new space -- Pro-Life, Project Rachel, and Pregnancy Help -- offer women and families support during and after pregnancy, and in the case of Project Rachel, healing after abortion.
That support includes providing women with clothing, diapers and other items for their babies, as well as offering them a safe and confidential place to receive counseling.
In addition, through Project Rachel, the office offers counseling and healing services to post-abortion women and men.
"It's the goal of all of us at the Pro-Life Office that we're moved with that compassion and love of Christ to offer love, care and support to the women and children we're privileged to support," said Marianne Luthin, director of the Pro-Life Office.
The building in which the new office is located in was leased to the Pro-Life Office by St. Patrick Parish. It sits next to the church and shares a parking lot with it.
Major renovations to almost all aspects of the building had to be undertaken to make the space suitable, but thanks to a large financial donation by an anonymous donor, the donation of a painting crew by Deacon Steve Buttrick, and the work of Rose Construction and numerous volunteers, the renovations were completed within about three months.
Tim Rose of Rose Construction attended the blessing of the new office, and said his company had to do "a major facelift on the whole place," including the floors, ceilings, and windows.
Still, he said, he was "honored" to have been asked to do the renovations.
"The pro-life movement has always been dear to my heart, because it serves the women, and the babies, of course, in such a real way," he said.
Rose said that without the support of the anonymous donor "we couldn't have done everything that we did, so it really was wonderful."
The donation was given memory of Agnes Tomezy, a framed plaque hanging in the building reads.
Originally from France, Tomezy and her husband immigrated to New York in 1957, and later settled in Cambridge. She passed away in 2001. "Though unable to have children, Agnes considered motherhood one of life's greatest blessings," the plaque reads.
Also present at the blessing was Eileen Kampersal, who has been volunteering with the Pro-Life Office since March of this year.
She said she helps sort and package the countless items, such as diapers, blankets, bottles, and clothing that are donated.
"It's just wonderful how generous people are... The handmade things -- so many talented people that can knit all the booties and sweaters and hats and blankets to match, it's really nice," she said.
"Knowing that it's all going to someone in need, it's a wonderful thing," she continued.
The Pro-Life Office currently has offices in four locations: Brighton, Natick, Brockton, and at the archdiocese's Pastoral Center in Braintree.