Apr 18, 2014

Hundreds pray for an end to abortion on Good Friday



Story and photo by Carolee McGrath

SPRINGFIELD --  More than 200 people gathered in front of Planned Parenthood in Springfield on Good Friday morning to pray for an end to abortion. 

The Pro-Life Commission of the Diocese of Springfield organized the “300 Witnesses” vigil on Wasson Avenue, which lasted from 10 a.m. to noon.  While pro-life groups typically gather to pray at the clinic on Good Friday, this was the largest vigil in years.

“Our Lord said, ‘Whatever else you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do unto me.’ The innocent unborn babies in the womb are dying. It’s not their fault. They are very Christ-like,” said Tim Biggins, the chairman of the commission. “We come here in memory of Jesus on Good Friday and his suffering and death and to try to get people to change their hearts and minds on abortion.”

Biggins said he expected to get close to his goal of 300 witnesses on the sidewalk. He added it was difficult to keep track because people were coming and going throughout the morning.

The idea for the size and scope of the prayer vigil came from a sidewalk counselor. Several people from across the diocese came together to make it happen. Michael King is a member of St. Michael’s Cathedral Parish on State Street in Springfield.

“There was a good core group that worked many months trying to coordinate the activities for today’s event,” King said. “We feel very passionate about it. We felt as though we needed to go out to spread the word to the Christian community that there are some things that we need not be silent on and we need to step up and let the voice be known that that is wrong.”

The group gathered included several parish youth groups, who prayed the rosary together. Eighteen-year-old Diana Gerberich is a member of the St. Cecilia Parish youth group in Wilbraham. “I really am pro-life," she said. "I support that strongly and this is a great opportunity especially for teens to get together and express their views.”

Father Daniel Cymer, the parochial vicar at St. Cecilia’s, accompanied the teens. He said their peaceful witness is making a difference in the world. “We have to pray and to defend life. God told us to pray. It is slowly growing. More people are prolife because we pray,” said Father Cymer. “We have to teach respect for human life. We have to teach the younger generation life is a gift from God.”

For more on this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS