“‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:5-6
Anyone who has ever worked as part of a team knows the importance of unity and teamwork to successfully accomplish goals. Cooperation is integral in any job. But saving mothers and babies isn’t like any other job. It’s God’s work. Not only that, but it’s hard work—and that hard work requires time, compassion, unity, and, yes, humility.
“We’re not in this for us. We do it so that the moms are loved and so their babies are loved and dignified.”
Those sage words come from Mark Cavaliere, pro-life activist and executive director of Southwest Coalition for Life. He explained to Celebrate Life Magazine the importance of being instruments of God and allowing Him to do His work—and then of giving all the glory back to Him.
Mark explains: “We have to be able to be humiliated and do what God wants us to do. . . . We must educate mothers and empower them to save their own babies.”
Mark says the Litany of Humility every day. The Litany itself is very humbling because it begs God to break the chains of desire for worldly goods and accolades and replace them with the simple surrender to Him and His will. It ends with these words:
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease . . .
That others may be chosen and I set aside . . .
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed . . .
That others may be preferred to me in everything . . .
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should. . . .
Understanding and living a life of humility is not an easy thing to do. It takes practice. That’s why Mark’s staff members all know this prayer and why every one of his meetings begins with it. This constant reminder that the pro-life movement isn’t all about one person or group and that everyone must work together—using different skills and gifts—is vital to caring for mothers and their babies.
What does pro-life unity look like?
When Mark heard that an abortion facility would soon open in his hometown, he attended a community meeting to see what he could do to help stop it. As he says, he’s an “all or nothing” kind of guy, and when he heard Gaby Avila—the guest speaker—talk about 40 Days for Life, he was blown away. At that meeting, Gaby showed a training DVD of David Bereit talking about starting a 40 Days event, and Mark knew he had to help start one in Las Cruces (NM).
Knowing that the ideas and tactics used by Brian Westbrook of Coalition for Life St. Louis had revolutionized outreach in St. Louis, Mark reached out to him to ask for his help. He began studying how to motivate people to volunteer, how to encourage people to donate both their time and money, and how to talk to abortion-minded mothers with compassion and love.
In 2015, Mark created the Coalition for Life Las Cruces, now renamed the Southwest Coalition for Life, and began using Brian Westbrook’s strategies for fundraising and sidewalk outreach. Just a year later, Mark left his IT job to work full-time in the pro-life movement and build a focused and strategic presence outside the abortion facility.
Success came quickly! Just 27 months after the facility opened—and only eight months after SCL launched full-time prayer vigils—it shut its doors!
Mark wanted no credit for this however—and he took none. “This was God’s doing,” he said.
A beautiful partnership
Mark also began working with David Bereit to learn how to get the word out to more potential donors. As donations began to increase, Mark was able to hire staff and even paid interns so that SCL could expand its skills and focus on closing the next nearest abortion facilities just across the Texas border. Mark began to build a relationship with the people of El Paso, including Nydia Correa of Guiding Star El
Paso—a pro-life “supercenter” that offers counseling, sonograms, and other forms of help to expectant mothers.
The two organizations partnered, and together they raised $250,000 for Nydia’s organization. This partnership helped spark regional unity, and Mark saw the wondrous things that happen when different organizations work together to save mothers and babies.
Since then, a second abortion facility has closed, but now Planned Parenthood has unexpectedly returned to El Paso. With the help of STOPP’s Jim Sedlak, these pro-lifers are working to shut down this facility as well.
Today, the partnership between Guiding Star and Southwest Coalition for Life not only transforms lives, but saves them as well. Sidewalk advocates from SCL who convince abortion-minded women not to enter the abortion facility can take these women just a few minutes down the street to Guiding Star and begin the intake process. There is no charge for these services, and the women are never pressured. The counselors simply ask them to consider life and to look at their babies on a sonogram.
As Mark says, “We’re here to connect her to the care she needs to choose life.”
And this connection is part of the unity that creates success. From the advice of pro-life heroes and leaders, to the leadership of men like Mark, to the volunteers who are so integral to every organization, to the sidewalk counselors and pregnancy center staff, everyone has a vital role to play, and everyone’s job is significant.
The daily prayer for humility helps them understand this. For it is not all about us. It’s all about the moms and their babies.