Today, October 2, 2008, is 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 today 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. 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, we 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 me and Eric Scheidler, who are cantors at St. George. Candles, incense and an icon of the crucifixion linked the service with our ancient Christian roots. 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.
Though a thousand may be falling at your side, and ten thousand at your right no harm will come to you. But you with your eyes shall observe and see the retribution of the wicked.
After the prayer, Eric Scheidler offered some thoughts about answering God’s call to prayer and activism at Planned Parenthood, and the necessity sharing that invitation with others, especially during these 40 Days for Life. 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.