Support of the unborn is a moral stance, not a political one. This was the message shared during the 23rd Annual Prayer Walk for Life in Sarasota Jan. 22, 2021.
This walk coincided with the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The day also marked the 48th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision which cleared the way for the legalization of abortion in the U.S. Since legalization, some 60 million babies have been aborted.
A Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane began the day at St. Martha Parish, putting the activities in their proper context of prayer, resolve and hope. This Mass was livestreamed and shared via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities social media accounts and was available for viewing by those outside of the Diocese.
“Respecting life is not a political issue, but a moral one,” Bishop Dewane stated. “Failing to protect life is a moral evil that threatens the dignity of each and every human being in the world today.”
For this reason, the Catholic Church, U.S. Bishops, priests and the faithful are obligated to continue to speak out for the voiceless because the right to life is God-given, the Bishop added.
“It has to be all of us together,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Abortion is of preeminent priority and we need to continue to be a voice for life in our country. The position of the Church and that of the U.S. Bishop Conference is unchanging and publicly well known. The sacredness of human life must be defended and has been the position of the Conference and Church since the beginning.”
The prayer walk took place in front of the regional headquarters for Planned Parenthood on Central Avenue in Sarasota, the largest abortionist in the nation.
Circling the facility in prayer, approximately 100 took part in the walk with some holding signs seeking the closure of the facility, others calling for all to pray for the unborn.
Carmella Roberts of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch said she was pleased that there were so many people participating in the walk because of many factors that could have prevented participation.
“I’m so glad people didn’t use the excuse of the cold weather, the Pandemic or even a new president to stop coming out for this important walk for life,” Roberts said. “We are out here to raise awareness about what happens here, but also to educate others about the sacredness of all life. Jesus calls us to be here, in His place, to pray for the unborn and for the mothers that they choose life.”
The faithful of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City took part in their own Prayer Walk for Life on Jan. 23, 2021. Participants circled the Parish Church while praying the rosary as witnesses to the dignity of the human person.
In addition, a Prayer Life Chain took place on Jan. 24, 2021 on U.S. 41 in front of San Pedro Parish in North Port. Dozens of faithful, led by Deacon Richard Frohmiller, held up signs for passing motorists to see that read “Jesus Forgives and Heals,” “Adoption is a Loving Option, “Pray to End Abortion,” “Abortion Hurts Women,” and more.
Beginning Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, the faithful will have the additional opportunity to stand up as witnesses for life. There will be two Diocesan locations for the Spring Campaign of 40 Days for Life. Stand and peacefully pray during vigils in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood in Fort Myers or Sarasota. For more information, go to www.40daysforlife.com and click on the location nearest you.
For more information about the Diocese of Venice Respect Life Office, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife, or contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-484-9543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.