View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

40 Days: Where have all the pro-lifers gone?

I arrived for my shift at Planned Parenthood early yesterday. I had invited fellow Rochester-area bloggers to join me, and since I was the "host" I thought it would be good to be there if any should arrive. I also wanted to touch base with the 9-10 shift people.

There was no one there.

10 minutes to 10: No one.

No bag with materials. No signs. No one praying.

I checked my watch (silly, I know) to see if I had messed up the time. I even checked it against my car clock.

I went over the Focus Pregnancy Center and rang the bell, hoping maybe someone had gone in to go to the bathroom or for coffee, and to see if at least I could get a sign.

No one was there.

As I wandered back to the site, I wondered if maybe something had happened. Maybe someone had gotten sick.

Or maybe they couldn't get volunteers to fill the earlier shifts.

I stood at the site. I decided that even if no one showed I would begin to pray. I wondered if I had anything in my car to make a make-shift sign.

A few minutes after 10, Mary, wife of Ben (the "Fallacies and Fashions" blogger), arrived. Hooray.

We said the reflections of the day provided 40 Days, then began a rosary. Barbara, who had not signed up but was part of the "Lambs" group that prays there many a Saturday and is a veteran of 40 Days, arrived to join us. Then "In the choir loft" showed up. We finished one set of decades.

Staff for Focus arrived part way through the shift - they'd been involved at a protest at a Planned Parenthood conference, and brought out the signs and materials. We did a second set of decades and said a few other prayers. When we weren't praying as a group, I prayed silently for people driving and walking by. We got a few waves and thumbs up. One woman going to the vet's across the street came over to thank us and shake our hands. (A St. Boniface parishioner!)

One guy did drive by and yell something that sounded like it might be unpleasant, but none of us caught what he said. The overall response was positive.

I was glad the others showed. I always feel charged up praying with other people. And I have gotten to meet some fellow bloggers/commenters (In the choir loft, Fallacies and Fashions, Journey to a New Pentecost).

Thank you, Lord.

I stayed until ten minutes after my shift was over. One person had arrived to help with the 11-12 shift. Two of the folks who prayed with us during the earlier hour were going to remain for a while.

But I wondered where the other pro-lifers were. Maybe some were out at the Planned Parenthood event protesting. Maybe some were saving their energy for the Life Chain on Sunday. But surely one hour?

And where are the other Rochester blogger/commenters? Perhaps they don't want to be seen with me? (Might ruin their credibility in some circles!) Perhaps they are showing up for other shifts (so far, only one has said that he is). I figured for working folks a Saturday morning would be possible. I even chose different times to try to fit in with others' schedules (not everyone is an early riser like me.)

40 Days is having a hard time filling shifts this year. Maybe there's fear due to some recent pro-choice violence. Maybe people have gotten burned out. Maybe the novelty wore off. I don't know why.

Please, if you have even just one hour over the next 4 weeks, consider coming down and joining us.

I'll be there next Saturday at 7 a.m. I'll pray even if I'm alone. I plan to make up an emergency sign just in case.

The issue is too important.


Blogger In the choir loft said...

Despite whatever divides us, like you write Lee, "this issue is too important", all of us should make a good attempt to be there to pray for the end to abortion. Even if you can only pray one rosary, or even one decade and have to leave, that's fine. Just show up. I often have to leave early because of taking care of people.

See you there. I promise I won't pray in Latin. :)

7:22 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I think it woud be cool to say a prayer or two in Latin. I'm always willing to learn something new (or in this case, old!).

7:24 AM  
Blogger Ben Anderson said...

Mary said she was pleased to meet both of you and that she felt it was a really good way to support the pro-life cause.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came down with a bad cold. If I feel better on Saturday, I will join you in prayer at 7:00 a.m.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

tmac - I knew you weren't feeling well - but you did show up last week!

I hope you feel better.

8:08 PM  

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