October Ministry of the Month: Holy Resurrection Antiochian Church - Tucson, AZ
Ministry Leader: Michele Ritchie-Moore

Tell us about yourself!
I am a former Army officer. I’m also a mom and my kids range in age from 32 to 14. I’ve been working in the pro-life world for decades, which has included often attending the March for Life in Washington D.C. and participating in 40 Days for Life since [it] started. I’m just so excited to see Orthodoxy getting involved in the public square. We are engaging and teaching, something that for so long was monopolized by other groups. When I go to the March for Life, it is just so wonderful to see us praying and marching as an Orthodox group. It’s obviously a joyous occasion, but our presence is also a prayerful one. I think it is beautiful that we can be such a presence in the world. 

Have you always been pro-life?
I was rather indifferent when I was younger. Especially in the 70s and 80s, life issues were not spoken of at all in the parishes I was a part of. In the military too, it wasn’t convenient to be pro-life. So, I became fervently pro-life a couple decades ago, as a consequence of my faith journey and study of the Church Fathers.

Why is the pro-life cause important to you?
Well, I spent a career in the army, so I’ve been all over the world. While you are defending the Constitution in that role, you are also supporting the taking of life. So, I think it is my turn to be on the other side, supporting life for those with no voice. I have seen what it is like in other countries to not have a voice. Through OCLife, our Holy Resurrection ministry is giving a voice to the voiceless. We talk about life at all stages, from conception to natural death. 

What are some big accomplishments of the OCLife group at Holy Resurrection?
I’m very humbled by everything our group has been able to do. Along with my co-leader Sean Kiilehua we have organized talks with the Young Adult Ministry, marching in the Tucson March for Life, and multiple prayer vigils – including 40 Days for Life.  We really enjoy the National Orthodox Baby Shower and have great participation. We have a lot of support from our parish and really enjoy the baby shower because it is such a tangible way to see the fruits of our efforts and how that multiplies by giving back to the community.

Do you have any other words of encouragement for other parishes thinking about getting involved?
Even though the ministry in your parish might only seemingly be playing a small role, it is important to remember that you never know when you are touching people. As a parish community we need to be counter-cultural and combat the secular influences constantly assailing all of us. OCLife is a great way to spread the word about Orthodoxy and to talk about and act on our belief in life. Regardless of the size of one’s community, being involved in the public square, by attending things like a local March for Life or 40 Days for Life vigil, is an engagement opportunity for Life and for our beautiful Faith.