Pro-lifers pray on the anniversary of Planned Parenthood’s opening [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
October 2, 2008, was the first anniversary of the day that Planned Parenthood Aurora first opened its doors. After months of protest, petitioning government, and constant prayer, that was a dark day for Fox Valley’s pro-life community.
And while the anniversary was a day of mourning for the babies who have lost their lives at the Abortion Fortress and their hurting mothers, the mood of the fifty pro-lifers who gave their lunch hour to pray at the vigil site was also full of hope.
Eric Scheidler and Fr. Frederick Peterson lead the faithful in the prayer of the Sixth Hour [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
Noon, the “sixth hour” by the old Hebrew reckoning, was the hour at which Christ was crucified. Linking the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross with the sacrifice of His little ones at the abortuary, the faithful joined in the prayer of the Sixth Hour of the Byzantine Liturgy of the Hours, comprising several psalms and prayers invoking the crucifixion.
Father Frederick Peterson of St. George Church in Aurora led the prayers, assisted by the League’s Matt Yonke and Eric Scheidler, who are cantors at St. George. Candles, incense and an icon of the crucifixion linked the service with the ancient Christian faith.
The faithful pray behind Planned Parenthood Aurora [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The faithful were were encouraged by the words of the Psalmist with his constant reminders that God is on the side of the Just, that He will not overlook evil, and that He is our refuge in difficult times. Though Planned Parenthood may have won a battle a year ago, the war belongs to our God.
After the prayer, Eric Scheidler offered some thoughts about answering God’s call to prayer and activism at Planned Parenthood, and the necessity of sharing that invitation with others, especially during the 40 Days for Life campaign. In closing, the crowd sang a verse of the song that has become such a consolation over the past year, “Amazing Grace”.
The commemoration encapsulated the tone of this first year of spiritual battle at Planned Parenthood: peaceful, solemn prayer, coupled with an unwavering commitment to shut down the “Abortion Fortress” once and for all.