As part of a Lenten practice-the 40 Days for Life Campaign-I've decided that I would join a few others of our Sanctity of Life Committee at a local Planned Parenthood Facility to pray for the unborn once a week. Wednesday was my first visit to the 7th Avenue facility which, we hope through the efforts of our prayers, will someday be out of business. I expected to be one of maybe 2 people there but to my surprise, there were about 7 others present on the sidewalk of the avocado-green building; 3, from my parish. I arrived there late in the day, so the few cars that were driving in and out were "pick ups": moms or boyfriends there to drive their loved one home.
I'm not a total stranger to praying before an abortion clinic however I'm not a seasoned veteran of it either. The 2 other times that I've participated were Good Friday afternoons where Bishop Olmsted along with about 1200 faithful prayed the rosary (all of the mysteries!) in front of the main PP Facility in Phoenix. There was great safety in numbers. Yesterday afternoon was a little different, only in that I felt more vulnerable since there were fewer of us. A sketch of the reactions are as follows:
The Honkers: There were supportive & unsupportive honkers; finger showing or thumbing up and down were the observable traits. I judged 2 shorter beeps as being friendly to our cause while a long "laying on of the horn" as a condemnation. We waved at all. A Catholic priest drove by with a hearty holler. We also noticed the ash smudge on his forehead. That gave us great edification.
The Drunk: A very talkative man who was panhandling passed by. He read our sign and gave us "knuckles". I could not understand a lot of what he said, save for..."I may be an alcoholic, but I do know that THAT (as he motioned toward the Planned Parenthood bldg) is wrong!". He asked each of us for .30 cents. I gave him a blessed St. Terese medal which he deposited into the "special place" in his wallet.
The Young Couple: 2 young people holding hands emerged from the building. It did not appear that the woman was a client. (She was walking much too fast). Both were snickering as they passed and one member of our group said hello. The young man quickly responded that he was "going over to the store to get some (expletive) protection so that he didn't need to get one of these." I suddenly felt very sick for the young woman that he was with.
The Ironic License Plate: Many cars exited the parking lot of the PP building when I was there. One of them was of an employee that one member of our group recognized from earlier. We noticed that her license plate was one of the AZ themed plates with children's hands adorning its background with the following caption: "It should not hurt to be a child."
And there were the moms who aborted their babies. I saw a couple of them and I prayed for them. My heart broke for their incurable wound which concealed itself in a "simple surgical procedure", sold by trusted professionals and sanctioned by our constitution. There are many accomplices to this crime. Perhaps one day, she'll be able to see things from the other side.
Until then, I guess I'll come back next week.