40 Days for Life is a 40 day event that includes prayer, fasting, and action. Fr. Andrzej Mitera celebrated Mass at the Family for Life office, just steps away from the Women's Choice abortion mill. Brother Knights from St. Catherine of Siena Council 7399 participated in Mass and the Stations of the Cross that followed, ensuring that we took care of the prayer and action.
This was my first time participating in pro-life events so close to an abortion mill, and I was, quite frankly, a little apprehensive about doing so. As Fr. Andy celebrated Mass, I became more at peace with what I was about to do.
As Mass ended, participants were handed long-handled paddles with the images of the Stations of the Cross and a booklet with the text pf the service. Fr. Andy read a reflection for each Station, followed by each of person carrying the Station, the entire group, and a final reflection on the relevance of the Station to pro-life causes.
After a handful of Stations were complete, the all participants processed down the access road to the abortion mill; with its administrative offices on one side of the street and the abortorium on the other. As we marched, we sang Were You There?, with the idea being that unborn human beings were about to suffer their own "crucifixion" at the hands of their own mothers.
Outside the building, where the "procedures" are performed, stood two escorts that sported rainbow colored vest with the words "Clinic Escort" emblazoned on the front. Their job was to escort "patients" from the parking lot next to the administrative office into the "clinic." The participants and clinic personnel were protected from each other by three uniformed Jacksonville police officers who ensured that we were safe from automobile traffic and that nothing detrimental occurred between the two groups.
After another handful of Stations, we processed again, all the while reciting a litany. After the final Stations, we processed a final time, had a concluding prayer and blessing from Fr. Mitera.
Trudy Perez-Proveda and Fr. Andy would like to have the Knights of Columbus, along with the parishioners from St. Catherine of Siena, participate in a similar service one day a month. It will likely be the third Tuesday of the month, but stay tuned for more information as this takes shape.
Thanks to the few brothers (Fr. Andrzej Mitera, David Coughlin, Francis Azer, and Michael Gambone) who showed up to take part in Mass and Stations. I encourage you to pray about attending a future event and I pray that our efforts saved lives and souls.
Lou Manz PGK, PFN
Photos provided by Trudy Perez-Proveda, Pro-Life activist and organizer.