Gospel of Life Group Hosts Two-Part Sidewalk Counseling Seminar

On February 1 and 15, the Gospel of Life Group of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL, hosted a two-part sidewalk counseling seminar with Julie McCreevy, Director of the Chicago Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Thirty-five seminarians, as well as Fathers Ben Reese of the Diocese of Peoria, David Lawrence of the Diocese of Joliet and Tony Bico of the Archdiocese of Newark, attended the seminar thanks to the great recruiting effort of seminarians Dave Gross, Gerard Alba, Ladislaus Anatoly, Cory Sticha, Sean Stunink and Deacon Walter Stumpf.

Saved baby,Steven

Two-year-old Steven, saved from abortion by sidewalk counselor Bill Keen, enjoys a piece of cake at the Feb. 15 seminar [Photo by Julie McCreevy]

The attentive students honed their sidewalk counseling skills through the seminar’s lively presentation, question and answer and interactive role-play sessions. The role-play exercise on February 1 was particularly impressive, consisting of one person playing the part of an abortion-bound mother or father, while another took the role of sidewalk counselor. The thirty-five priests and seminarians broke into pairs and started practicing; through the din one could feel the power of the Holy Spirit, unifying these many voices and imbuing them with power from above for the salvation of souls and the saving of unborn lives.

A Mother Tells Her Story

As the seminar concluded on February 15, the participants were given an unexpected surprise. Bill Keen, a veteran sidewalk counselor, came into the room and introduced his friend Janeen and her two-year old son, Steven. While holding the toddler on her lap, Janeen shared her story of the confusion, desperation and profound isolation which led her to the doors of a Chicago abortion clinic on a windy and forlorn Saturday morning. But on that particular Saturday morning, on the sidewalk in front of the Washington Street abortion clinic, she met Bill Keen, “who seemed to appear out of nowhere.”

“Bill spoke to me of hope and promised to help me solve many of the problems that were pushing me toward abortion. He helped my husband, five other children and me find a place to live. Bill was an answer to prayer,” Janeen told the group. “Everyone in the family loves little Steven very much. If I hadn’t met Bill on the day I was heading into the abortion clinic, Steven wouldn’t be with us now.”

Saved from the Brink of Abortion

As Janeen finished speaking she smiled shyly, bouncing her little boy on her lap. A burst of applause broke out as the seminarians rejoiced at the great things God can accomplish. They marveled to see an actual baby and mother who were on the brink of abortion, but were pulled back through God’s grace and the simple presence and care of another human being.

Many of the seminarians stayed long after the seminar ended, visiting with Julie, Janeen, Bill and young Steven and basking in the joy of becoming ever more committed to the Gospel of Life.

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