reprinted from Credo May 31, 1999

On the front lines

Local parishioner says Saturday vigils help cut abortion rate

Lisa was on her way into an abortion mill in Detroit. Her much older boyfriend was trying to coerce her into having an abortion to end what he considered an unwanted pregnancy. At the last minute she refused because of the presence of a group praying outside the building.
"We counseled Lisa right on the street there," said Pat Kennedy, a parishioner at Holy Spirit, Hamburg, and a member of the prayer group. "We gave her pamphlets and numbers to call."
Lisa returned to the abortion mill months later with her baby and presented a beautiful card to the dedicated group that goes to two abortion mills in Detroit every Saturday to pray, witness and counsel.
Kennedy, 56, has prayed there regularly for six years with six to 12 other members of Catholics United for Life.
"I have seen many turn away because of our presence and praying there," said Kennedy. The group follows a program of saying the rosary continually, and they know they change the mind of at least one woman a month there.
But they are hopeful that they are reaching many more.
"Our presence there is a message to anyone who is traveling past the abortion mill," explained Kennedy. "We do carry signs and, of course, another sign is our rosaries that we carry. When passersby see us, it is a witness to them."

Their presence, however, isn't always appreciated.
"Some of the neighbors don't like us to be there," Kennedy admitted. "We are continually kind to them, but we let them know that Auschwitz is on their corner."
She said both abortion mills are on busy main roads and about 70 percent of those who pass by are pro-abortion.
"Sometimes they shout at us," said Kennedy. "We've had things thrown at us. We have had individuals park their cars and approach us and they are very vocal with vulgar warnings to attack us."
"The abortionists, at times, are very verbal," she said. "It is very upsetting to them for us to be there. We are even able to witness to them and the workers occasionally.
"We invite them to change their lives and we tell them we have phone numbers for them. We are out to save all souls, not just the souls of the babies."
There are positive reinforcements too, like those who come to them with hugs and in tears.
"We have even had people who have stopped with hot coffee and donuts for us," said Kennedy. "We are there in all kinds of weather. That can be even more of a witness."
Kennedy said the mills try to throw the rosary-praying group off by changing hours on them. But they pray and witness just the same as if it were open.
And the hour drive each way is no waste of time for Kennedy either.
"I spend the time in prayer and preparation. I say the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet and other pro-life prayers," she said.
She also tries to prepare something to say if she is called upon to counsel a woman there. But, she said, she is often amazed at what comes out - that it is nothing she formulated ahead of time.
"That's because it is the work of the Holy Spirit." She said. "Sometimes words flow from your mouth that you are not even thinking of. Yow are surprised at what you say. We give all credit to the Holy Spirit because it truly does come from Him."
And just how long can they keep the every-Saturday routine?
"We won't leave the abortion mills until they close," said Kennedy.
Action Link
For more information about Catholics United for Life call Earl Amyotte in Windsor at 1-517-256-2757.
For 24-hour crisis pregnancy help with counseling and referrals call 1-800-848-LOVE.