Amidst the refrain of Hail Marys in the background, hundreds of faithful took to the streets around the Stapleton Planned Parenthood facility, accompanied by Jesus in the Eucharist. The eucharistic procession, led by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, circled the perimeter of the facility thrice, marking an end to the 40 Days for Life in fervent prayer and witness for life.
“It’s important that we realize that life is beautiful and it’s forever,” said Joan Murphy, a parishioner of Queen of Peace in Aurora. “It’s something to be cherished. The sacrifices we make for our children, you know, help them to realize God’s love for them.”
“We came here to pray because there’s a lot of need for prayer,” said Myra Bueno, a parishioner of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton. “We’re here to defend life, because we know that this is important: to defend the life of every child. Everyone deserves to have a birthday.”
Prayer indeed was at the center of Saturday's gathering. In addition to the eucharistic procession, the faithful were led in numerous rosaries by the Sisters of Life. “One of the most important things we can do as people of faith,” said Archbishop Aquila, “is to build a foundation of prayer under our efforts, so that God is the source of inspiration and strength for our outreach to mothers and their families. That is why we are here processing around Planned Parenthood with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Only he can help us love those in need and, at the same time, those who promote abortion.”
The procession was all the more powerful for those gathered in light of the recent signing of the Reproductive Health and Equity Act (RHEA) into law. “We are very sad and dismayed by the signing of HB22-1279 into law because this law is the only one in the world that doesn’t have any restriction,” said Laura Acosta. “This doesn’t only affect Catholics, but the whole world because this doesn’t only affect religion, but the dignity of the human person. We hope in God that he can put an end to all of this and that we all can love and help each other like he wants us to.”
“The recent signing into law of RHEA means that we must redouble our efforts to help mothers and fathers who are considering abortion,” said Archbishop Aquila. “There is already great work being done through the Marisol Health clinics, crisis pregnancy centers, support groups like Project Rachael and various parish-based ministries, but we have a long way to go in building a culture that welcomes life at every stage and in every condition. Supporters of RHEA have said they want to make Colorado an abortion destination, so we must work to make it a safe haven for unborn children.”
“I think we have to keep praying,” said Bueno. “We have to keep these people in prayer: the workers who work at this clinic and the people that work in the Capitol that passed this law.”
Following a marathon public hearing on a proposal to codify unrestricted abortion into Colorado law, a state committee passed the bill in the early hours of March 10, sending the bill one step closer to a debate in the full House.