Caroling at Family Planning Associates on Washington St. [Photo by EJS]
Fifty carolers joined us for our second annual “Empty Manger” Christmas Caroling Day Saturday, December 18. The group visited four different abortion mills in Chicago and gathered around a life-size empty manger to sing Christmas Carols about the Christ Child.
The empty manger was a symbol of the hope that a little baby can bring. But it was also a symbol of the empty space that is left when an unborn baby is killed by abortion. The carolers hoped to reach abortion-bound women with a message of Christmas hope. At least one mother who heard the carolers decided not to abort her baby.
“Deathscorts” Hear Carols
The Caroling Day began at the Planned Parenthood facility at LaSalle and Division Streets. A crew of “deathscorts” (volunteer clinic escorts) flanked the clinic entrance as we sang our program of eight carols, including “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger.”
One of the deathscorts confronted the carolers and insisted they not touch the Planned Parenthood building. He even shoved volunteer Dan Gura away from the building wall. When Dan said he’d have the man arrested if he touched him again, the deathscort claimed to be a police officer and flashed some kind of badge. When I asked for his badge number, the man swore at me.
Dan and his daughter Corrina held a large banner at each caroling site reading “All I want for Christmas . . . is an end to abortion.”
We were joined for our last few songs by members of the St. Mary of the Angels young adult prayer group, who stayed on at the abortion mill to pray and sidewalk counsel through the morning.
Prayer Group Joins Caroling
Bill McIlvaine accompanies the caroling on his French Horn [Photo by EJS]
The prayer group at Family Planning Associates on Washington was already in the midst of prayers when we arrived for the second stop of the day. They joined in the caroling at the clinic, while two counselors continued to offer help to women and couples going in. It was heartening to see prayer intercessors and sidewalk counselors at each abortion mill we visited that day.
Mom Hears Carols, Chooses Life
When we arrived at our third stop, American Women’s Medical Center on Western Avenue. Fr. Steve Lesniewski reported that a woman had just decided against abortion and had gone in to see if she could get her money back from the clinic. He had to leave soon and asked Ann Scheidler to help the woman if she didn’t come back out before he left.
Our caroling touched the heart of at least one young mother who could hear us from the clinic waiting room. She came out of the clinic and talked to sidewalk counselor Julie McCreevy. She told Julie that the caroling made her wonder, “What if Mary had aborted Baby Jesus?” With that thought, she just couldn’t go through with the abortion.
Meanwhile, a group of pro-lifers led by Wanda Glitz sang carols at the other American Women’s Medical Center location, in Des Plaines, IL.
Another Save at Last Caroling Stop
Our final caroling stop was at Albany Medical Surgical Center on Elston Avenue where the caroling group was joined by Mary Strom, the director of the nearby Women’s Center. In the middle of the caroling program, veteran counselor Kathy Mieding came up to report that a woman had just decided against abortion and gone to the Women’s Center for help.
After caroling at Albany, the group warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies at the Scheidler home on Chicago’s northwest side. All agreed there could be no better way to observe the last week of Advent and prepare for Christmas.
- “Empty Manger” Caroling Brings Christmas Hope to Abortion Mills—Winter 2004 Action News article on the first Christmas Caroling Day