Building an Effective Pro-Life Ministry

By Whitney Bradley, Center for Family Life Formation

The urgency of the pro-life mission often leads committees to focus primarily on developing programs and planning events which they hope will be an answer to the culture of death. This work is good, but as JP II points out, “Communion with Jesus, which gives rise to the communion of Christians among themselves, is an indispensable condition for bearing fruit.” Before we are a part of the pro-life movement, we are the living Church. If our primary focus is a relationship with Jesus and His Body, then the good work of building a culture of life and defending human dignity will be the fruit.

To put this into practical, easy to follow steps, every parish pro-life ministry should do the following:

  1. Build a Team – Human beings are created for community. We image God who is a communion of persons by building up and participating in community. The first step in growing a community is simply to gather a group that meets regularly and has a common goal – a team.
  2. Pray Together and Cultivate Community – Before this team can begin any good work, it is essential that they root themselves in Jesus and His Body. A praying team is a healthy branch nourished by the vine and connected to the other branches. As they build a culture of life on their own team, they will begin to see how to transmit that same culture to their parish community.
  3. Define Your Dream – Once there is “Communion with Jesus which gives rise to the communion of Christians among themselves”, a team can begin the work of bearing fruit. In the pro-life movement there is a copious amount of good work to choose from, and it is easy to burn out by trying to do everything. Articulating a compelling dream or vision allows the team to say yes or no to a project based on whether or not it will bring them closer to their dream.
  4. Do the Pro-life Work – Once this foundation has been established – a community with a defined dream that is rooted in Jesus and His Body – the team will have the freedom to produce truly good fruits. This will be the pro-life work that they empower their fellow parishioners to do as well.

If you are interested in making this happen in your parish, contact Whitney Bradley at

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