Weekend 4 Life 2023 will highlight courageous mothers

QUINCY -- A Weekend for Life will take place April 13-14, bringing families, clergy and religious, guest speakers, and other pro-life advocates together to celebrate the gift of life.

A Weekend 4 Life, which began under the name a Night 4 Life in 2019, has become an annual event over the last few years. It is sponsored by the Flatley Foundation and organized by the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth and the Men of Divine Mercy Prayer Group of Quincy. Admission is free, and people of all ages are welcome.

The two-day event will begin with a "Mass 4 Life," held at Sacred Heart Church in Quincy on Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. The Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley will be followed by a witness talk.

The following day, Friday, April 14, "Youth 4 Life" will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Quincy Marriott. Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, will be a featured guest. This event will also include Eucharistic Adoration, praying of the rosary, and praise music provided by Brandon Fitts and Friends.

Mother Olga Yaqob, the foundress of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, spoke with The Pilot about why they chose this year's speakers.

"Every year, I pray before we begin the planning, how can we inspire people in this mission of pro-life ministry," she said.

Last year, the speakers highlighted the importance of adoption and the dignity of people with special needs, such as Down Syndrome.

"This year, we are trying to highlight the courage of women who are faced with difficult choices," Mother Olga said.

At the Mass 4 Life, Angletta Georges will share her story of choosing to deliver and raise a child conceived in rape. At Youth 4 Life, Arryn Vogan, a wife and mother who refused to abort her child while battling cancer, will share her testimony.

"Hopefully, these two stories will inspire with courage and strength to be able to share the beauty of choosing life. I'm so touched by both of them and excited to bring their stories to our diocese," Mother Olga said.

A Night 4 Life was first held in 2019 as an outdoor summer event. Mother Olga said they added the Mass 4 Life because "we know we cannot win this battle without the grace of God."

"It's not about our work, our effort or generosity of donors or having amazing speakers and witnesses. First and foremost, we have to seek the blessing of God, who is the author of life, to really help us in this pro-life ministry," she said.

While some advocates are working to influence policy or change people's hearts and minds about abortion, she said, "we also need people who can work with those who are already believers in the sanctity of life, but they need that affirmation and encouragement and support. So, I feel our mission as the Night 4 Life team is more to really affirm those who are in this ministry, to support them, to pray with them and for them, but also to give them encouragement."

Representatives of local pro-life organizations will also be present at exhibitor booths to distribute information about their work.

"That's another thing that's important for us, to equip those who are already on this path, and offer more resources for those who would like to get involved," Mother Olga said.

She said they chose to have the event in the spring, when school is still in session, in order to give the many college students in Boston the opportunity to come -- especially those who do not have Students for Life or similar pro-life groups on campus.

"I feel if they do get the message now, themselves, as young adults or college students, please God, when the time comes for them to make these choices on a personal level, they will always choose life, no matter what, but they can also be the voice among their peers, to be missionaries of pro-life for their peers, for their generation," Mother Olga said.

It is also significant that the Weekend 4 Life will take place during the Octave of Easter, in the days leading up to the feast of Divine Mercy. Mother Olga said they will pray for God's mercy on all those who have suffered because of abortion.

"I thought it's beautiful to celebrate the gift of life when we are celebrating the new life of Resurrection of our Lord and our Church. We all receive new life through the life of our Lord," she said.

She emphasized that, as always, the event is meant to be a prayerful celebration of life.

"We are not here to judge anybody or condemn anybody. It's just to love and support, and to affirm the sanctity of life, and to accompany those who have been hurt or impacted by the effects of abortion, how we can accompany them through prayer and mercy, to let them know that the Mother Church, just like any mother, will always welcome all her children," she said.

More information about the Weekend 4 Life is available at www.night4life.com.