by Rory Maguire, 2023 missionary (rider on Mississippi Route)
As we crossed into East St. Louis, myself and the other Mississippi Route missionaries were met by a large funeral procession heading in the opposite direction. There was a trail of cars filled with the family and friends of someone who had recently passed. A few miles later, we rode by a family celebrating a birthday party in a park. After a week spent reflecting on the sanctity and goodness of life, these events revealed something to me about our natural response to life and relationship.
In each of these instances, including the National Ride itself, life was celebrated. People came together to honor and give thanks for the existence of someone they care for. We gather in moments of great joy and sorrow to experience these things together. There is an unmistakable peace and consolation found in the presence of those who love us.
A conversation with the employees of Life Choices, a pregnancy resource center on our route, opened my eyes to how pregnancy resource centers are able to support the pregnant and the unborn not only by providing supplies and medical care, but also through meaningful relationships and tender encouragement. A nurse at this PRC spoke of special moments in the ultrasound room. Future parents excitedly seeing their child for the first time. The peacefulness of mothers finding a place where their goodness and that of their child is honored and upheld. Life Choices and other PRCs across the United States are places for pregnant women to be heard, recognized, and received.
Riding a bicycle over 700 miles in a week for the first time is quite daunting. I can only imagine that bearing a child elicits a similar sentiment. The phrases “you can do it” and “I believe in you” have been heavily impactful to me during my Biking For Babies journey. These simple words convey compassion and hope. It is our responsibility as Christians to ensure that our message of compassion and hope reaches the hearts of all women in crisis situations.
Biking For Babies is an opportunity for us all to take part and come together to radiate the love of Christ to pregnant women in need. It’s bigger than just giving birth, it’s about cultivating new life through loving relationship. We were never meant to do it alone. St. John Paul II, pray for us!