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Jennifer Martin has been pro-life since conception.
The resident of Yorba Linda, Calif., and the newest professed member of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (MEV), began her life as an unplanned pregnancy. Her mother was 17, her father was 18 and not knowing what else to do, they followed a doctor’s advice to make an appointment at Planned Parenthood.
“My mother didn’t even know what Planned Parenthood was but she and my Dad went down there and started talking to a counselor,” Ms. Martin said. “When the counselor asked if she was thinking about having an abortion, my mother ran out.”
Her parents chose life, got married, are still married 33 years later and have three other children, including one who died in utero.
“I really think that, going through that in the womb, my parents making that choice for me, was a very powerful influence on me,” she said.
Her decision to undertake the MEV program was an outgrowth of an already robust pro-life activism. The program is a direct response to the call issued by Blessed Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae: “What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life.” Missionaries promise to witness before the Church and the world to the priority of the right to life as the foundation of all other rights.
Ms. Martin made her MEV promises during Mass at her parish, St. Martin de Porres in Yorba Linda. She chose the Feast Day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, because he is her patron saint.
“It was really beautiful,” she said of the Aug. 14 ceremony. “There were about 100 people at Mass, with about 50 to 60 teenagers who got to witness the ceremony. My pastor, Father Sy Nguyen, got permission from Priests for Life to accept my promises.”
After the homily, Ms. Martin was called up to the altar.
“I stood and made my promises facing the altar,” she recalled. “When I turned around to face the congregation, everyone clapped. I was a little bit nervous but this was not about me. It was for the glory of God.”
The promise ceremony was the culmination of two years of hard work, study and prayer, in addition to her ongoing pro-life work. Ms. Martin serves on the pro-life committee at her church, and maintains a Facebook page, Orange County/CA Pro-Life Events and News. She’s also a counselor for her parish’s post-abortion healing program, Project Rachel.
Ms. Martin has her degree in marriage and family therapy and is working on becoming licensed. She is also being trained as a crisis pregnancy counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors and working on her doctorate in clinical psychology.
When she read about the MEV program on the Priests for Life website, she saw it as a way to “drive me closer to God and help me connect with more people who are pro-life. I just really wanted to be part of something that was going to make a change.” She particularly liked the program’s immersion in the writings of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
“I learned what it really means to be a pro-life Catholic,” she said, “and really brought me to the roots of why I believe what I do.”
Ms. Martin is the first person to undertake the MEV program in her parish, but she’s hopeful there will be more.
“A lot of people after the Mass were asking me about it,” she said. “I would absolutely recommend it. I’m so blessed to be a part of it.”
For information about the MEV program, visit www.MissionariesOfTheGospelofLife.com.