It is Wednesday evening again, and I approach Main Circle just as the clock on the dashboard changes to 5:00. A group of well-bundled people pile into the big silver Campus Ministry van. Everyone is chatting and laughing, but as we turn into Ironwood Circle, the van quiets down as we prepare to face the cold. We begin to pray.
We are here at the Women’s Pavilion, a nearby abortion clinic, during the coldest week of the year to pray for an increase in the culture of life. We are here to pray for the unborn children, the women and the employees who are at the clinic today. We are here to pray for all those affected by abortion, especially those men and women who are mourning the loss of a child to abortion. We are here to support the sidewalk counselors, those courageous men and women who come to tell the women going in that they can choose life for their babies. We are here to stand up for the inalienable right to life of every human being.
The purpose of the Spirituality Commission of Notre Dame Right to Life is to bring the power of prayer to the pro-life movement. Although human action is essential to the defense of life, our work alone will never be sufficient to bring about the conversion that is necessary to establish a culture of life. We, as pro-life activists, become discouraged and burnt out if we depend on our own strength to bring about change, because human strength is simply not enough. Only God can bring about the change of heart and mind. Through the Spirituality Commission, we help keep prayer at the forefront of this battle and bring before God the needs of pro-lifers and all those affected by the culture of death.
Every Wednesday we gather to pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at the abortion clinic a mile and a half from campus. We hold a weekly hour of adoration to gain strength from Our Lord and to pray for the upholding of the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. Once a month, Mass in the Basilica is offered for the intentions of the pro-life movement.
In addition to these regular times of prayer, the club gathers periodically to pray for specific intentions. Last semester during Respect Life Week, around 50 students gathered for a candlelight vigil on South Quad to pray for the healing and hope of all those wounded by abortion. This semester, we are also planning an interdenominational prayer service in collaboration with Campus Ministry-affiliated clubs such as Iron Sharpens Iron, Four:7 and FIDES.
Club members are also encouraged to keep the needs of the pro-life movement constantly in their private prayer. At the beginning of the school year, students were invited to “spiritually adopt” an unborn child in danger of abortion, praying for the child daily, a practice encouraged by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. This semester, the club will have a different prayer intention each month, either for the vulnerable whose lives need protection, or for members of the pro-life movement.
Each of us has a responsibility to uphold the dignity of each human life in whatever way we can. We are all called to act and to speak out against these tolerated injustices in our culture. For some that will mean volunteering at a pregnancy help center or a nursing home. For others it will mean participating in protests. Often, it will mean starting a conversation with a friend or coworker. Some may even be called to devote their entire careers to the pro-life movement.
These actions take on a new meaning and a new hope when they start with a foundation of prayer. Even if you were not able to go on the March for Life and you have no plans of becoming a sidewalk counselor, you can still participate in the most important part of the pro-life movement by bringing our needs before the Father. We simply cannot overestimate the power of prayer.
Christina Gotcher is a sophomore psychology and theology major; you may know her from her loud singing in the dining hall. To hear more, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.