By MARTHA McCLAIN
Special to the PRESS
Some 100 Laguna Madre area residents joined a peaceful Pro-Life chain at the Port Isabel entrance to the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway Sunday afternoon to silently pray for the end of abortion in the United States and around the world.
Sponsored locally by Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, the event is designed to bring awareness to the 40 Days of Life Campaign sponsored locally by the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville. The event 40 Days for Life is a cross-denominational, faith-based effort made up of three key components that include Prayer and Fasting which invites people of faith throughout our city to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion; Peaceful Vigil which includes standing for life through a 40-day peaceful, prayerful, public witness outside the local surgical abortion facilities in Harlingen (Reproductive Services) and McAllen (Whole Women’s Health); and Community Outreach by taking a positive, upbeat pro-life message to every corner of the city through media efforts, church presentations, door-to-door advocacy, and public visibility.
The campaign which runs through Nov. 4 is said to be the largest and longest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization in history. From Sept. 26-Nov. 4, the Laguna Madre community has with many other cities and countries across the world, engaged in peaceful, prayerful and a simultaneous pro-life outreach – the 40 Days for Life campaign. A kick off rally for the 40 Days for Life was held on at Donna City Park, where Bishop Daniel E. Flores and Father Jim Erving, OMI, director of the diocesan Respect Life Apostolate, and former pastor at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, spoke and led the participants in prayer.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Pastor, Father Pat Seitz, commented at the peaceful rally on the dignity of human life. “This is for the gift of life. This is part of a constant reminder to bring us back to the truth of the Church. This is a witness to what we believe and it benefits our community. It should help us in our faith journey as well,” he said.
“There are many people who live in the Valley who have driven by. Hopefully it gives them something to ponder. We hope that it is life-changing,” he added.
“This is a silent witness to remind our people to choose live. This is one of our first unalienable rights…the right to life,” said Lynette Christensen, leader of the pro-life movement at Our Lady Star of the Sea.
“It’s so interesting to see the reaction (of passing motorists). Some purposely do not look, others wave or give the thumbs-up or honk in support. But, we are not here to judge. We do not know what they are going through, or what they have been through. This may touch a really raw nerve for them. I just hope they find guidance where needed,” she said.
Irma Wolcott was on hand to help bring peaceful awareness to the issue. As a regular participant at silent pro-life vigils during the 40 Days, she recalled an encounter with a young woman who had undergone an abortion, who realized that upon the action, had experienced “darkness” and depression. “It was like the death of her soul for several years, she told us. It took several years to understand, and now she is pro-life,” She said.
For David Krummel, a local business professional, the story was very personal. “We (with wife, Gwen) always felt strongly about this issue. Her first pregnancy was hard…and the doctor said that with her (Gwen’s) health issues, we should terminate it. We cried ourselves to sleep during those nine months, but ended up with the most beautiful baby boy we could have dreamed of…We cannot understand how people can justify what they do sometimes,” he said.
Mayra Nunez said that pregnant women need options other than abortion. “Abortion kills babies,” she said.
Vicky Pease said her presence at the event was to save the unborn. “There are so many babies killed. I think we need to keep people in office to help keep that from happening,” she said.
Evelyn Gonzales, and her CCE student Isabella, stood with pro-life signs. “We are here to support 40 Days of Life. It is important to celebrate life. We need to inform our kids by our actions…to set an example. How can we expect them to follow us if we don’t show them how,” she said.
Tina Martinez spoke of her love for infants. “(Unborn) babies are alive. I love them”, she said, point to her sign that read, “Abortion stops a beating heart.”
Carlotta Osario is an active 40 Days of Life supporter who has traveled to the Harlingen abortion clinic to silently and peacefully pray for an end to abortion. “Children are a gift of God,” she said.
Maria Alcocer said she was participating in the peaceful vigil due to her faith. “This is the least we can do to bring us closer to God. I feel at peace here,” she said.
Read this story in the Oct. 29 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.