By: Sr. Clare Hunter
Charlie is 18 months old. He likes to make dog noises, chatter during homilies and give high fives. Charlie giving high fives is much cuter and appropriate than a “relatively young” nun giving them. So, I’ll let Charlie give them – and I’ll write about who deserves them.
Kids like Charlie bring such a powerful presence to the monthly Respect Life Masses and praying of the rosary outside an abortion facility. Those kids become the icon of what we are there to do – to honor the life of children, born and unborn. Each month, Bishop Loverde travels to a parish to celebrate a Saturday Mass for the intention of increasing respect for human life. Following Mass, he goes to a nearby abortion facility to pray the rosary. I have yet to hear of another bishop in our country who does this each month. Charlie would high five Bishop Loverde for his tireless witness to being a Bishop of Life!
Last Saturday, May 18th, hundreds attended the Respect Life Mass at St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg. I’ll admit the pastor, Fr. Mosimann, was pretty relentless as well as patient as we tried to schedule a Mass in their parish. He is good! The gathering was most impressive – the largest we have ever had, and the desire to be united as a parish to pray for an end to abortion and the dignity of human life was inspiring. High fives from Charlie to Fr. Mosimann and the parishioners of St. John the Apostle!
Each month, it is a powerful experience to pray outside of an abortion facility on a Saturday morning. Often there is a baby or toddler present with their parents and it is sobering and emotional to know that inside that building, the lives of many babies have and will end that day. As there aren’t abortion facilities in Leesburg, we had arranged to pray at the cemetery in the area reserved for infants as a way of remembering the sanctity of all human life, from the time of conception. Due to rain, we remained in the church. Situated in the back, I had a great view of the families praying together; moms and dads helping youngsters hold their beads in the right spot. I saw a community, young and not so young, down on their knees, asking Our Blessed Mother to help mothers and fathers say yes to life. Rosaries and prayer booklets were handed out by members of a strong and active parish Respect Life Committee. High five team for all you do!
Following Mass and the rosary, Bishop Loverde traveled to 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, a crisis pregnancy center, to bless a new ultrasound machine to be used as they work with women who are in need of assistance in many areas. This machine was purchased through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Program as Knights from six parishes joined to raise enough monies for three ultrasound machines. I was bursting with pride and admiration as I witnessed Bishop Loverde bless the machine with pastors from the parishes looking on, side-by-side with the Knights of Columbus and staff from the Center. This is what it is all about! I don’t know where the Pro-life movement would be without the Knights of Columbus! High fives go out to the parishes of St. John the Apostle, St. Joseph, St. Theresa, St. Francis de Sales, Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Hope. Extra high fives (high tens?) to the Knights of Columbus and their state chaplain Bishop Loverde!
But more than all of these acts that deserve high fives from Charlie – I pray in deep gratitude for the gift of witnessing such dedication to protecting and upholding human life. May God bless all gathered together in prayer and action last Saturday!