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Expectant mothers receive special blessing at St. Joseph Cathedral

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Bishop Michael Fisher stands with the expectant mothers at St. Joseph Cathedral on May 1. The bishop blessed ther the women and their babies at the celebration sponsored by the Office of Pastoral Ministries – Pro-Life. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

Bishop Michael Fisher welcomed expectant mothers and their families to a special Mass that included the Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb. The May 1 celebration at St. Joseph Cathedral was sponsored by the Office of Pastoral Ministries – Pro-Life.

Michael Mombrea Sr. displays the papal blessing he received for his 100th birthday. Mombrea received the citation during a special Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral on May 1. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

After welcoming the congregation, Bishop Fisher commented on the passing of Michael Collins, one of the three astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. It reminded him of how, on that same mission, Buzz Aldrin poured wine and bread before leaving the landing module for his first moonwalk. The first food consumed on the moon were the elements on Communion. Aldrin read from the Gospel of St. John, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I from that person, will bear much fruit, for you can do nothing without Me.”

Aldrin said he sensed strongly his unity with the Church back home and everywhere. Bishop Fisher said that story underscores the “way we, the branches, remain united with Jesus, the vine.”

That reading, from 1 John 3:13-24, served as that Gospel for that day’s Mass.

The bishop continued that theme by saying that every baptism is a new fruit in the vine.

“Today, we welcome in a special way again, those mothers and fathers who welcome new members to their families. We rejoice and pray for their health, recognizing that they are future members of our family of faith, for eventually they will be baptized and connected to God’s vine.”

The bishop then blessed the eight pregnant women present, asking God, the author of all life, to “bless these unborn children. Give them constant protection and grant them a healthy birth.”

The mothers were then each given a blanket by Cheryl Calire, executive director of the Office of Pastoral Ministries – Pro-Life, to “wrap your baby in the beautiful protection of Christ as well as the blessing that you received today.”

Calire arranged for a papal blessing to be bestowed upon Michael Mombrea Sr. for his unwavering commitment to babies and mothers as a tireless worker in the vineyard. Turning 100 last year has not stopped Mombrea from spreading the pro-life message that all life is precious. He regularly protests abortion outside the Buffalo’s Women’s Services Clinic and hands out Precious Feet pins to pregnant women he sees while out and about.

“I heard he’s always out there with the moms and the babies. I never really knew what that meant until I saw Mr. Mombrea in action,” said Calire. “He was continuously getting the little Precious Feet from our office. You could see him at the supermarket or wherever he might be, handing out those little precious feet to the women he saw. He is to me, what the vine and branches are all about.”

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