Friday, January 21, 2011

“Always a blessing when a priest joins us”

Planned Parenthood, Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010


News from the Trenches

(Reprinted with permission from “Blessings from the Sidewalk” published by Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, Sacramento.)

Today a small group of seven Helpers, including Father Patrick Lee, joined in prayer at the sidewalk to pray the Holy Rosary for the spiritual salvation of all those involved in the culture of death. It's always a blessing at the sidewalk when a priest joins us in prayer to witness our Catholic culture of life.

Our regular bilingual sidewalk counselor was not here today due to health reasons so I stepped up to the plate and volunteered for the assignment. My sidewalk counseling skills are novice at best but I was willing to try my best today.

While the remaining Helpers prayed the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, I stood near the parking lot entrance to Planned Parenthood, trying my best to maintain a friendly and welcoming appearance and with a gesture that I had some information to share. I had few takers today but remained patient. Eventually, a young Hispanic couple, about to exit the parking lot, acknowledged my presence, rolled down their window and invited me to approach them, which I did.

I introduced myself as a Helper of God's Precious Infants and told them that we come to this sidewalk every Saturday morning to promote a culture of life and offer those who are entering Planned Parenthood with information about the risks of abortion and healthy alternatives in case they know someone who is considering an abortion. The male driver asked me if I was part of some church or religious organization. I replied that we are Catholics and Helpers of God's Precious Infants, and then gave him a "Before You Choose" pamphlet, and asked him to share it with anyone he knows who is considering an abortion. He acknowledged that he was supportive of what we do and so did his friend. Then I wished this young couple a Merry Christmas and said goodbye to them with a "God Bless You" greeting.

They were my only contact for the day but it felt good because there have been days when nobody was interested in having me talk to them.

Soon thereafter, the other Helpers finished the last mystery of the Glorious Mysteries. After some closing prayers, we returned to our cars as peacefully and as prayerfully as we had arrived at the sidewalk one hour earlier.

Saturday, December 18, 2010, Planned Parenthood, Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento

Today six Helpers joined at the sidewalk in prayer to pray the Holy Rosary for the spiritual salvation of all those involved in the culture of death. The weather was horribly cold and windy and the dark clouds above warned that substantial rain was imminent.

As the self-appointed leader of today's Helpers, I decided that our peaceful and prayerful presence would be brief and that we would only pray the Sorrowful Mysteries. Our presence at the sidewalk doesn't have to be all or nothing, I explained, for something is better than nothing. A little peaceful and prayerful presence in witnessing our Catholic culture of life is better than no presence at all.

Rather than kneel for the Crucifixion Mystery as we normally do, I instructed them that we would instead bow our heads and close our eyes and meditate being at the foot of the cross with Jesus. As a group, we decided that today we would all pray the Holy Rosary and that there would be no sidewalk counselor.

We prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries during the next twenty minutes and then, after some closing prayers, we returned to our cars on this last Saturday at the sidewalk for 2010.