By Sr. Clare Hunter
The unified voices reciting the “Hail Mary” broke cadence as the black truck passed, the driver shouting angry diatribes and honking his horn as the group processed down Main Street in Falls Church. The banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe leading the procession extended in the wind, curious bystanders peered out of the windows and the procession paused to cross the street. In a repeat performance, the truck turned around, though this time the Hail Mary did not waver, the line drew closer together and the voices grew louder. Over 200 faithful had gathered for a monthly Respect Life Mass, celebrated by Bishop Loverde, at 7:30 a.m. at St. James Parish. Bishop Loverde’s homily, “Persevering hope in the face of present darkness,” set the tone as he led a one mile procession to the local abortion facility on South Washington Street, where he led a second rosary to pray for an end to abortion.
As Bishop Loverde led the procession down Main Street, the black truck attempted to avert our attention, thwart our unity and cast a fear that might make us wonder if being a public witness to the culture of life is safe, or makes any difference in our world today. Yet, amidst the blaring horn, the stares, and the cold wind, the joy and hope of the those processing was palpable. Yes, we were buoyed by cars that gave beeps of support, smiles, waves or thumbs up and bystanders thanked us and shook a few hands. But the real spirit came from within the group. A body of believers, centered in prayer, cloaked under the banner of Our Lady, led by our shepherd. The living Church – priests, religious, and lay faithful of all ages processing together for one purpose, to witness to the truth, that life is sacred and must be protected at all costs.
Each month Bishop Loverde celebrates Mass at one of the parishes in the Diocese for the intention of the protection of human life from conception until natural death. Following the Mass, Bishop Loverde invites all to join him at a local abortion facility in a peaceful presence to pray the rosary and be a witness to those considering the termination of a pregnancy – that they may know that there is another option: saying “yes” to life.
Please join Bishop Loverde at our next monthly Respect Life Mass at 9 a.m. on May 15, 2010, at St. Ambrose Church, Annandale. In addition to the monthly Masses, many parishes have groups that go each Saturday morning to a local abortion facility to pray. The diocese also participates in the 40 Days for Life Campaign each year. Now might just be the time for you to witness to the culture of life in a new way, a visible way, trusting that as we follow Bishop Loverde, our shepherd, we must “be not afraid.”