Prelate: ‘We will end abortion, we must’
300 gather at Planned Parenthood to lay flowers, pray, recall lives lost to abortion
By Julie Filby
Photo by Corie DuChateau/DCR
On Sunday afternoon, fresh-cut flowers lined about half a city block of the sidewalk in front of Denver’s Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. They were left in memory of the lives lost to abortion at the country’s second largest abortion facility.
“In sharing our love for the little ones that aren’t born, we’re able to show that we feel very strongly,” said Patricia Muscari, a parishioner of Mother of God Church in Denver, after she offered her flowers. “We expect our prayers to make a difference.”
At 3 p.m. Jan. 20, nearly 300 people gathered with Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila across the street from Denver’s Planned Parenthood headquarters at Lighthouse Women’s Center, 3894 Olive St., for “40-Year Remembrance: Honoring Denver’s Children Lost to Abortion.”
The event to commemorate Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, began in prayer and song led by a choir of seminarians. This was followed by words and a blessing from Archbishop Aquila, and concluded with a silent procession led by the archbishop and a missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that ended in front of Planned Parenthood. There the memorial flowers were placed, and the group prayed and sang solemnly, before dispersing quietly.
“As we gather together today we commemorate 40 years of a culture of death, a culture of death that began with the decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973,” Archbishop Aquila began his comments at Lighthouse. “It was a decision that said unborn children no longer deserve the protection or the right to their lives.”
While those gathered were not responsible for creating that culture, they must work to end it, he said, citing a quote delivered by fallen cyclist Lance Armstrong in an interview the week prior, when addressing rampant doping in professional cycling.
“’I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t do anything to stop it,’” the archbishop said, quoting Armstrong.
“Those are important words for us to hear because (you) didn’t invent the culture of death,” he continued. “Yet we cannot remain silent and do nothing about it, we must stop it.”
He encouraged Catholics to be courageous in proclaiming a culture of life.
“It’s important for us as Catholics to be in the public square,” he said, “to give witness to our faith no matter what the cost.”
He not only blessed, but counseled participants traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the national March for Life Jan. 25.
“If this is your first trip, be prepared,” he advised. “There will be people there who hate you … who will be yelling and screaming at you.
“It is important to always look at them with charity and treat them with charity.”
Archbishop Aquila will participate in the national march, as he has done many times.
“I will be there with you … to give witness to our country that we will continue to promote the dignity of life; that we will end abortion,” he said. “We must.”
Bishop Machebeuf High School senior Kaiti Lawler, 18, will attend the national march with a group of 26 students from the Denver school.
“It’s important for us to share that what society thinks is OK—aborting children—is not OK,” she said holding a “Choose Life” banner with five classmates. “People need to realize it’s a big deal and we’re going to stand up for that.”
Perri Otto, 16, a junior at Holy Family High School in Broomfield, attended the remembrance event with several classmates.
“It’s important to stress that even though (an unplanned pregnancy) may be difficult, it’s not worth giving up a child,” she said. “A life is a life ... (abortion) is never the answer, there’s always another way.”
Lighthouse Women’s Center helps provide “another way” with free and confidential pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, medical care, counseling and reproductive health education. Since opening last October they have served nearly 70 clients.
“Our nurse (Paula Suhr) says everyone leaves here happy,” said Lynn Grandon, executive director of Lighthouse. “But you can’t say the same across the street (at Planned Parenthood).
Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions in 2011 according to their annual report.