Wind chills dipping to -15 degrees couldn’t keep Mary Kay Mahowald and about 2,500 others away from the annual Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul and pro-life march to the Minnesota Capitol Jan. 22.
“I’ve been coming on this day for 40 years,” said Mahowald, a member of St. Catherine in Spring Lake Township. “However cold it is on this day, I just crawl out of bed and tell the Lord, ‘This is for the babies. Make something good of it.’”
The march, sponsored by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and the prayer service marked the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand in the United States.
During his homily at the prayer service, Bishop Andrew Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis told the story of how, when his mother was pregnant with him, a doctor informed her that she was carrying a deformed fetus and should undergo an abortion. Bishop Cozzens’ mother, a staunch pro-life advocate, refused, and she eventually gave birth to a healthy baby.
The bishop’s parents told him this story often when he was growing up. “They would say God saved your life because he has a plan for it,” he recalled. “Your job is to figure out what that plan is.”
God likewise has a plan for everyone who attended the prayer service and every person ever conceived in a mother’s womb, Bishop Cozzens said. This realization should lead to a sense of childlike wonder and awe, knowing that God lovingly creates every person to accomplish something special.
“Each of us must come to know deeply the gift of our own life and see God’s plan for our life,” he said. “Each of us must be able to say, ‘God saved my life because he has a plan for it, and my job is to figure out what that plan is.’
“This wonder and gratitude will allow us to become instruments of God to change hearts, so that many people will come to reverence life,” he said.
The March for Life was moved inside the state Capitol for only the second time in 40 years due to the extreme cold. The event featured a short program. MCCL said its 2014 legislative agenda includes ending taxpayer-funded abortions, which account for 34 percent of all abortions performed in the state. It is also seeking the licensing and inspection of abortion facilities, and passage of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortions at the point when an unborn child can feel pain.
MCCL said it also will continue to support programs that provide help to pregnant and parenting mothers and their children, so that no woman feels forced into an abortion due to lack of resources.
Photos by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit