by Joe Bollig
OVERLAND PARK — The faithful will have an opportunity to seek the intercession of St. Gianna Beretta Molla — patron saint of mothers, couples with pregnancy and fertility challenges, and of unborn children — at a Mass this month.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will be the main celebrant and homilist at the 10:30 a.m. Mass on May 27 at Holy Spirit Parish, 11300 W. 103rd St., Overland Park.
“The relic and an accompanying prayer service, or the possibility of celebrating Mass in the presence of the relic, is being commended to pastors whose parishioners may be experiencing difficulties in fertility and pregnancy,” said archdiocesan liturgist Michael Podrebarac.
All are invited to pray for St. Gianna’s intercession and to venerate the relic after the Mass. The relic is in the possession of Archbishop Naumann on behalf of the archdiocesan church.
St. Gianna was an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother. She practiced medicine according to Catholic principles and devoted herself to helping the elderly and poor.
She and her husband Pietro Molla married in 1955, and she gave birth to three children. While pregnant with her fourth child, doctors discovered a tumor on her uterus.
Although she was advised to have an abortion or a hysterectomy, she was unwilling to do either, because these options would have resulted in the death of her unborn child. She opted for a less invasive procedure.
Her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was born by Caesarean section on April 21, 1962. St. Gianna died a week later of septic peritonitis.
Saint Gianna was canonized by St. John Paul II on May 16, 2004. Her feast day is April 28.
Today, her daughter Gianna Emanuela is a doctor of genetics.