It was an unseasonably warm morning on Good Friday as Eric Scheidler and I set up the Stations of the Cross along the perimeter of the vacant lot across the street from Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois. We’ve prayed the stations there on Good Friday for the last three years since Planned Parenthood came to town. Though we welcome challenges to our mettle, it’s nice when the Holy Spirit gives our spirits a boost in the form of nice weather. Little did I know how much my spirits would be lifted by the end of this remarkable morning. At 10 a.m. people were beginning to gather on the vacant lot. Planned Parenthood’s lot was sadly full of clients. Earlier I wondered how many people would really be coming in for abortions on Good Friday, of all days. The answer was, surprisingly, quite a lot.
Local Deacon Leads Prayers
By the time we began the service there was a sizable crowd gathered. As Deacon Art Tiongson of Our Lady of Mercy parish lead the prayers, the crowd blossomed to over 180 people—easily the best attended Stations service we’ve held yet. The prayers, from a book called The Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion, were very moving, focusing attention on the connections between the death and suffering of Jesus and the death and suffering caused by abortion.
Baby Saved at the 12th Station
As we approached the 12th station, in which Jesus dies on the cross, Deacon Art asked that the faithful kneel in prayer for a special moment and contemplate the death of Our Lord. As nearly 200 pro-lifers knelt in prayer, sidewalk counselor Margo Cupps was talking to a couple contemplating abortion. As it turned out, during that special moment of prayer, the couple had decided not to go through with the abortion and Margo was able to point them to Waterleaf Women’s Center, our local pregnancy resource center. At the conclusion of the Stations, Eric told the crowd of the saved baby which was a great consolation to all in attendance. Deacon Art then prayed a special prayer for the closing of an abortion facility and led the faithful in a Rosary.