Prayer Event Remembers Those Affected by Abortion
Volunteers from the Respect Life Office are among those gathered at Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford for a Jan. 14 memorial for those who have been affected by abortion. The group prayed and left flowers near the altar. (Observer photo by Lynne Conner)
January 27, 2012

ROCKFORD—A faithful few gathered at St. Peter Cathedral on Jan. 14 for a "Morning of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession." Sponsored by the Diocesan Respect Life Office, the event was held to commemorate the upcoming 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in the United States.

"Since not everyone is able to attend the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., this morning of prayer gives local Catholics an opportunity to support respect life activities closer to home," said Mitch Striedl, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office.

"A big part of our diocesan pro-life activities center around ministering to all who have been affected by abortion. Abortion is a tragedy with a ripple effect," Striedl observed. "A woman who has an abortion, makes a decision that not only impacts her, but also her family, the baby's father, the baby's grandparents, her extended family and the people around her," he said.

Striedl considers the recent closing of the Northern Illinois Women's Center, Rockford's abortion facility, a significant and positive event for the Rockford community. "We are certainly grateful to God that Rockford's abortion mill has closed permanently," he said. "There have been countless volunteers who have spent thousands of hours through the years at the abortion facility praying, counseling mothers and witnessing to the sanctity of life. This is wonderful news for our town, for the lives of babies who have been spared and for the lives that will be spared," Striedl commented.

A powerful feature of the Morning of Prayerful Remembrance event was the reading of testimonials. Volunteers from the Diocesan Respect Life Office read actual point of view stories from those hurt by abortion. Using the perspective of a doctor, grandparents, a father, a clergy member, a friend and a mother; these narratives painted emotional portraits of fear and pain, but also forgiveness and healing.

Deb Minogue, a respect life volunteer from St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Dundee works with the Project Rachel program and read a testimonial story. Through her work with Project Rachel, a post-abortion healing ministry, Minogue has seen transformations in the lives of those affected by abortion. "There is absolutely nothing like seeing the healing that takes place when someone seeks help after an abortion experience. Lives are so broken (by abortion). I don't think people understand how broken lives are and how far the impact of abortion reaches," she said. "To see someone make a connection to God after an abortion experience and finally realize that they can be forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and healed by God is truly amazing," she commented.

The Morning of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession also included a brief talk on the "Far Reaching Impact of Abortion" by Ms Virginia Desjarlais, Assistant Director of Catholic Charities for the diocese; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation and Mass.