Annie Casselman, Marianne Linane, director of respect life ministry for diocese of Little Rock, Joe and Bishop Anthony Taylor [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
Joe and I spent last weekend—Palm Sunday weekend—visiting our daughter Annie and her husband Robert and their three children in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Annie had mentioned to Sharon, the respect life coordinator at her parish, Immaculate Conception in North Little Rock, that her dad was going to be in town. Sharon immediately asked if he would be willing to speak at the closing ceremony for Little Rock’s 40 Days for Life vigil in front of Little Rock Family Planning Services.
Joe, of course, didn’t hesitate a minute. He was pleased to be invited and delighted to have an opportunity to meet the pro-life activists of Little Rock. One of the benefits of involvement in the pro-life movement is meeting the best people in the world everywhere we go.
Twins Lives’ Saved Due to 40 Days
A crowd of more than sixty pro-life prayer warriors turned out for the closing ceremony on Sunday, April 18. A mother and daughter musical team then led the group in song. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock opened with a prayer and scripture reading.
The coordinators of Little Rock’s 40 Days campaign reported on the successes of the vigil, with several Protestant churches joining the heretofore Catholic effort to maintain a prayer presence throughout the forty days. They announced that a young mother who had been saved from going through with her abortion at that facility would be coming to the ceremony with her newborn twins to testify to the value of the prayer effort.
As it turned out the mom and twins were detained due to the demands of the babies, named Tyler and Taylor. Bishop Taylor reveled in the fact that one of the babies shares his name and that his pastoral center office is on Tyler Street, the name of the other twin. The grateful mother sent her thanks and appreciation for the prayers and intervention of those who come to the clinic to reach out in compassion to women like her.
Joe Addresses the 40 Days Crowd
Joe addresses the crowd [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
As he began his remarks, Joe recalled the story of Lazarus and the rich man and the great chasm in eternity between those in heaven where Lazarus had gone and those on the side of the rich man. Since the podium where Joe would speak was on one side of Office Park Drive and the gathered prayer group was on the other side, he invited everyone to close the chasm and come across the road.
Joe then related to the group that he had met David Bereit at College Station, Texas in 2001 and encouraged him to go into full time pro-life work. And how, a few years later, he tried to hire Bereit to work for the Pro-Life Action League, but that David wanted to try a new idea—a national 40 Days for Life campaign. Joe told him it would never work, but, of course, it has worked amazingly well and thousands of babies have been saved.
Joe told the people that they might wonder why they were there in front of that clinic and that many other people were not. “Because you have been called by God by name,” Joe said. He commended them for answering the call and encouraged them to continue to answer that call to save lives and change the culture.