Hundreds of young Catholics hike, rally for life
By Ambria Hammel

.- Choosing to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term almost seven years ago proved to be a life-threatening decision for one young Catholic woman.

Edel Carrick, a Scottsdale Catholic, shared her story during the annual Youth and Young Adult Rally for Life Jan. 21 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. The annual gathering, hosted by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Respect Life, marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Carrick detailed before a crowd of teens, young adults, “the young at heart,” at least two deacon candidates and a few priests and women religious from throughout the diocese, how a simple encounter at a party led to a sexual assault and pregnancy. Couple that with Carrick’s diabetes and that left the then 19-year-old fighting for both her life and the life of her unborn son.

It started with Carrick’s first ultrasound.

Afterward, the doctor told Carrick that she would resent the baby, and because of the coming complications due to Carrick’s diabetes, it’d be best for her to have an abortion.

“I looked at him and said, ‘You’re a doctor. You’re supposed to help save lives, not kill them, so if you’d like to help the next person, feel free, but I’m done here,’” Carrick recalled.

Further complications sent paramedics to Carrick’s home weekly during her pregnancy and landed her in the hospital when she was seven-and-a-half months along and facing congestive heart failure. Carrick’s son was born shortly after by c-section at 7 lbs., 15 oz.

The baby spent the next month in intensive care.

“I remember saying, ‘I fought for you. You need to fight for me,’” Carrick told an almost spellbound crowd.

Shortly after that, she introduced her 6-year-old son and happily reported that he’s learning to read and excels at sports.

“That little boy is the one who people were telling me, ‘throw him away’,” Carrick said.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted then had a brief pro-life message for those at the rally, but began by telling Carrick’s son that he is the “best message without words that we could have here this evening.”

He recounted the mystery of Christ’s birth and how Jesus’ government refused to protect him because it wasn’t convenient to have a child there — much like Roe v. Wade does for the unborn in the United States. He also affirmed that there would be a day when abortion is no longer legal.

“It will happen through prayer and penance and when we do our part to stand up for life,” the bishop said.

He also talked about how the annual rally for life was as much a rally for eternal life. Bishop Olmsted recalled a meeting outside of an abortion clinic with a Spanish-speaking woman that ultimately led not only to the birth of her child, but a return of the baby’s grandmother to the Church.

Damon Owens, founder of New Jersey-based Joy Filled Marriage, said the quest for eternal life is best met through sacrificial love. He was also among the night’s speakers.

“Our crisis in this culture of death and a call to return to the culture of life requires returning to agape love,” Owens said.

He reminded the college students, especially, that they weren’t just in school for an education, but for a period of formation of habit and their life’s vocation. Don’t just hear and accept the vocation, but love it, Owens said.

“Take the package called ‘you’ and place it at the service of mission. That will build a culture of life,” Owens said, calling abortion a personal problem first, not a political or social one.

It’s a personal problem that quickly went public after when the crowd filed out of the Newman Center and gathered in front of the Old Church immediately across from ASU for a eucharistic procession up A-Mountain.

A passing car honked in support. The procession spanned some 100 yards, following the bishop up the butte to recite the Pope’s new “Prayer for Life” over the Valley.

For high school freshman Angelica Castillo, her passion for the pro-life cause proved greater than her fear of heights. Castillo, who joined in the eucharistic procession, was among two busloads of teens from St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear.

“I like to hope that my presence would show my support for life,” said James Fernando, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Havasu City. He added that, if nothing else, the sheer visual presence of people during the eucharstic procession made a statement.

The rally continued with all-night adoration for the unborn, those considering an abortion and those in the abortion industry.

Printed with permission from The Catholic Sun, newspaper for the Diocese of Phoenix, Ariz.

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