Joe speaks with Frank Lyons, President of Lincoln Right to Life [Photo by Doug Rosenthal]
Joe and Ann Scheidler were guests of the Nebraska Catholic Conference on Friday, November 10, on the first day of the Nebraska Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities conference. They were met at the Omaha airport by long-time pro-life activist Ann Marie Bowen, who drove them to Lincoln. The first stop was the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on South St. and 30th. A dozen prayer warriors were already at the clinic, as well as a sidewalk counselor.
A Fort on the Frontier
The Catholic Conference had been able to purchase the residence next door to the abortuary and Mass had been celebrated earlier that day in the garage at the rear of the house. In the back yard, just inside the blockade fence between the house and the clinic is a children’s fort on stilts, which provides perfect access for speaking to Planned Parenthood clients as they walk through the parking lot to the building entrance. The pro-lifers have affixed a large canvas sign to the top of the fort with a pregnancy help phone number that can easily be seen from Planned Parenthood’s property despite the barrier Planned Parenthood erected above the wooden fence.
Ann and Joe pray with Nebraska activists next door to Planned Parenthood [Photo by Doug Rosenthal]
After spending a short time in prayer at the abortion clinic, the Scheidlers headed for the conference at the Cornhusker Hotel. Ann gave a sidewalk counseling workshop to the diocesan Respect Life Coordinators from all over the state of Nebraska, which included a portion of the League’s sidewalk counseling video “No Greater Joy.”
The Pro-Life State
Nebraska has the singular honor of being the only state in the union that can claim that every elected official—state and federal—is pro-life. A reception prior to the evening banquet featured Governor David Heineman and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, both of whom also attended the banquet, along with two hundred fifty pro-life Catholics.
The Catholic Conference had sponsored a poster and essay contest throughout the diocese, and the young winners were announced during the banquet. The fourth grade and eighth grade winners read their impressive essays and were congratulated by Bishop Bruskewitz.
Joe Praises Nebraska Witness
Joe Scheidler was the keynote speaker at the banquet. He praised the state for having elected a pro-life governor, alluding to the fact that Illinois has never known a governor to attend a pro-life function, and referred to Bishop Bruskewitz as his favorite bishop. Scheidler then spoke about the challenge still facing Americans in restoring respect for all human life, emphasizing the spiritual dimension of the battle.
Among the attendees at the conference was sculptress Yolanda Bello, who has designed a beautiful 11-week ceramic fetus she calls Baby Innocence. She presented Baby Innocence to Ann on a brass stand with the baby cushioned in a glass globe. The sculpture is available from St. Joseph Enterprises in Omaha. Yolanda and Ann discovered they had attended the same high school in Evanston, IL.
The pro-life movement in the Catholic community is alive and vibrant in Nebraska, and the Scheidlers relished the opportunity to be among such dedicated people.