The Importance of Pro-Life Prayer Vigils

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 16 March 2017 - 12:58:19 | by admin

Archbishop Bernard Longley of the Archdiocese of Birmingham leads a pro-life Rosary outside a UK abortion facility.

Carol Everett ran four abortion facilities in Texas between 1977 and 1983. During that time, it is estimated that some 35,000 innocent babies were killed in those facilities. Thanks be to God, Everett received the grace of conversion and went on to become a well-known pro-life speaker, who has done much to expose the behind-the-scenes evils of the abortion industry in America.

Carol Everett encourages pro-lifers to keep on with their prayer-vigils outside of abortion facilities.

In October 2016, the National Catholic Register reported her words: ''Every time pro-life activists are standing in front of the clinic, you are holding a light on inside that clinic.''

These words echo the testimony that Everett gave to pro-life activists several years ago during an event of the American Pro-Life Action League. She proclaimed: ''But every time you are in front, you are holding that light on. They slow down. An abortionist who brags and thinks he can do eight to ten, maybe even twelve abortions an hour, with a picketer in front of him, will slow down. Do four, six, three, something - but he will slow down. He's afraid of you.''

Last night, Angie and I sat down together at the end of the day to read a moving account of a recent prayer-vigil outside of the BPAS abortion centre on Parkfield Road, in Liverpool. That account is featured as the latest article at the splendid Liverpolitanus website and we strongly encourage readers to click the link at our ''Links Page'' and have a read. It is well worth your time to do so.

Last week, we received an uplifting communication from the excellent Good Counsel Network, which featured a positive story about a prayer vigil that had been led by Archbishop Bernard Longley of the Archdiocese of Birmingham (UK).

The first bit of good news is that the ''clinic'' involved has closed down since that prayer vigil.

The second relates to a mother and baby that were saved from the horror of abortion during the vigil.

A young Catholic lady, who had little support for her young family from the man she described as her ''partner'' had always regarded herself as pro-life. However, she felt that she could not cope with another child without support.

She booked an abortion at the said facility, but first went to Holy Mass in a Catholic parish. By God's grace, it was a Marian feast day and, when she listened carefully to the Gospel, the young lady felt called to be strong like the Blessed Mother and have her baby.

However, she still headed off to the abortuary afterwards. On the way, she asked God to give her a sign about what He wanted her to do. She added, ''I am very confused, so please make it a very clear sign.''

Arriving at the abortuary, she was met by about 15 Catholics praying. One of the Helpers, a man called Michael, approached her in a loving and compassionate manner. Pretty soon, the young lady was chatting to Fr. Martin Edwards. She then met Archbishop Longley, who gave her and her growing baby a blessing.

The woman took this as a sign from God to continue her pregnancy. She was then able to receive ongoing counselling, help and practical support from Good Counsel Network.

May God bless Archbishop Longley for this, and various other important public pro-life witnesses that he has taken part in during recent years. This really shows the power of the witness given when consecrated bishops and their priests show up to support the pro-life work. Several years ago, we wrote to a bishop, asking him to join us on a pro-life prayer vigil. Sadly, we received a rather enigmatic reply. This is why we are always so greatly heartened to hear of bishops and priests who do get involved.

As Good Counsel note in their latest mail-shot: ''Bishops, Priests, Religious and lay people praying and offering help outside abortion centres around England are really making a difference. Thousands of Mothers in difficult circumstances have been able to continue their pregnancies because of the help they have been offered... Please come and pray with us... You can make a difference; you can help save a life and make another happier.''

Angie and I used to pray a couple of times each month outside of the BPAS facility on Parkfield Road, in Liverpool. Over the years we prayed there with the late, great Fr. Cyril Thomas and Fr. Mike Williams, a Franciscan brother from Pantasaph, with Bernadette Smyth from Ireland's Precious Life, with good Passionist nuns and lay people involved with SPUC, with local Catholic friends, and sometimes just the two of us.

Actually, it was Precious Life's Bernie Smyth who got us going to pray there, during one of her visits to England in 2003. Up until then, we had done pro-life talks in schools, colleges and parishes, but Bernadette helped us to see that it is essential to also do one's best to pray at the very site where the abortions take place. This ensures that one is not just supporting an ''issue'' out there in a detached way, but actually engaging in trying to save real babies in real situations.

On some occasions we took along a large framed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When conditions seemed right, we would sometimes offer 10-week stage Little Feet badges, pictures of the stages of development in the womb, pro-life helplines and practical help for girls and women to keep their babies.

That never went down well with the BPAS staff.

Not everyone can do this kind of thing all the time. Unhealed emotional wounds, unresolved anger, or other responsibilities might preclude some people from taking part on site. I would never recommend it to post-abortive women until they have had thorough counselling, healing and reconciliation. There are certainly many roles for many different types of people in the pro-life movement. At this present time, due to Mum's 24/7 care needs, we also find ourselves unable to attend to actually pray at the BPAS location.

However, we want to do all we can to encourage readers everywhere to pray for the 40-Days for Life vigils which are taking place around the world - and at BPAS Liverpool - from 1st March - 9th April.

The hours of the Liverpool vigil are 8am - 8pm.

We also want to urge anyone who is able to sign up to take part in the Liverpool vigil to do so as soon as possible, by getting in touch with Declan Carroll, the local contact for 40-Days for Life, at: Declancrrll©; 07584-575867.

Remember Carol Everett's words: ''Every time pro-life activists are standing in front of the clinic, you are holding a light on inside that clinic.''

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn - Pray for us!     

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