The summer of 2022 marked a juncture of pivotal pro-life breakthroughs, notably the reversal of Roe v. Wade. But abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, so life advocates know we must respond by changing hearts and minds at the local level. Such momentous change must arise from prayer.
On Saturday, the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants held their silver anniversary Prayer Pilgrimage, a day of sacramental prayer and visible witness to the community on the sanctity of life.
Sixty million innocent lives have been lost in the past half-century because of abortion. The Catholic Church teaches that human life is sacred and must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.
The morning commenced at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown with Eucharistic Adoration, confessions, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Alfred Schlert, followed by silent procession to Allentown Planned Parenthood, with more than 200 parishioners from across the Diocese joining to pray 15 decades of the Rosary.
“This is real evil,” said Bishop Schlert in his homily. “It, of course, goes back to original sin. ‘I will not obey, I will not serve; I wish to play the role of God.’ Those who enact (anti-life) laws go against the will of God. God’s laws must prevail. That’s our witness today, to say we as God’s people will not allow evil to go unchecked.
“Today, we must show compassion to those who, for whatever reason, cooperate with abortion. But we must remember our quarrel is with evil. The devil is the ancient one who demands child sacrifice … but he will not win. Our mission is completely seeking the Blessed Mother’s intercession.”
“In Allentown we are so fortunate to have a Bishop who is willing to publicly engage in the battle to end abortion,” said Mary Vigilante, Helpers event coordinator, commenting on the prayer pilgrimage. “The pilgrimage is an opportunity to be led in prayer against the evil of abortion by our Bishop, a call to stand up for God’s law.”
Helpers of God’s Precious Infants was started in 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. by Monsignor Phillip Reilly.
The Helpers became a ministry of the Diocese of Allentown in 1997, when the first prayer pilgrimage processed from Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish to the Allentown Women’s Center. For 25 years, the Helpers have continued the ritual on the second Saturday of every month.
“Catholicism encompasses serious business – the salvation of souls,” Vigilante continued. “What’s happening in Planned Parenthood has such a gravity and weight to it that the response has to be of equal gravity, because it’s a spiritual battle.
“The pilgrimage is a conscious entrance into prayer. This is not a walk-and-chit-chat, with a few prayers thrown in. This is serious spiritual warfare.
“We have a lot of people across the entire Diocese who are good Catholics, who don’t know about this pilgrimage. We need them, too.”
For more information about the prayer pilgrimages, click here.