“What a blessed day October 2nd was,” said Kelly, a vibrant pro-life activist, sidewalk counselor and prayer warrior. Kelly is one of several young adults who provide a peaceful yet powerful pro-life witness on Saturday mornings in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility on LaSalle and Division Streets near downtown Chicago.
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Young Adult Group “Adopts” Clinic
Two years ago, a group of pro-life young adults started the “Young People for Life” initiative, in which each participant was assigned a day to fast for the end to abortion. In addition, they started to pray and sidewalk counsel in front of the clinic using the methods they had learned from the Chicago Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, who are sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League.
“Then we implemented the Mother Teresa Project, a ministry under the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago,” said Tessa, another member of the group. “Each parish has an assigned abortion clinic to pray for its conversion. St. Mary of the Angels Parish has ‘adopted’ Planned Parenthood.”
Two Babies Saved on Momentous Day
Back to October 2, 2004: Vince, another member of the group, remembers that day quite well. “An Hispanic couple approached Planned Parenthood. As I began talking to them I quickly realized they didn’t speak English,” said Vince.
“My girlfriend, Gaby, was praying with the group, so I asked her to come over and translate for me, as she speaks Spanish. The couple told her that they had an appointment for an abortion. I continued to counsel them and they were listening intently. It appeared as though the Holy Spirit was reaching their hearts because a Planned Parenthood ‘escort’ came over and tried to get them to go inside, but they didn’t budge”.
Enter a local Catholic priest who also was there that day in prayer with the group. Continues Vince, “Father came over and started telling them in Spanish how much of a blessing their child is. The couple told him that they weren’t going to go into the clinic. They left and didn’t come back.”
But the miracles weren’t finished.
Just a short while later there was an African-American woman to whom Vince spoke. “She was also scheduled for an abortion. After counseling her for about 20 minutes, her eyes filled with tears. She said that she was going to keep her baby. She then went home with the information and resources I gave to her.”
Cardinal George Writes Letter of Thanks
And, to top it all off, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, happened to be driving by the abortion mill that Saturday morning. He was so heartened to see the young pro-lifers’ witness that he sent them the following letter, dated October 4, 2004:
Dear Members of the St. Mary of the Angels Young Adult Group:
This is a letter that I did not know I would have the pleasure to write until just a few days ago. Last Saturday, October 2nd, I happened to pass by the intersection of Division and LaSalle Streets on my way to celebrate a late-morning Mass for the Chicago Marian Conference. It was moving, inspiring and uplifting for me to see so many of you gathered in silent, peaceful prayer in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.
I’m sure that many of you had errands to run, housework to be done or you could have just slept late on a cool fall morning. Instead you chose to give an hour of your time to standing up for the dignity of the unborn, opposing the culture of death and reminding women and men who come to Planned Parenthood that the Church offers life-saving alternatives to those who have been led to believe that abortion is their only option. The sight of you praying on that street corner on the first Saturday of Respect Life Month remained vividly in my mind as I celebrated the Archdiocesan Respect Life Mass later that afternoon where I commissioned pro-life leaders from our parishes.
Since I was unable to stop and thank you last Saturday, I wanted to let you know that your efforts do not go unnoticed. I am deeply grateful for your faithful witness to the truth our Church teaches about the dignity of all human life. Your trust in the power of prayer, as well as your generosity to Catholic crisis pregnancy centers, give evidence that Christ remains faithful to his Church by sending his Holy Spirit to guide us in living as his disciples. May your example invite other young women and men to return to the practice of our faith. I will remember you in my prayers, and I ask you to remember me in yours. May God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.