For women and men seeking crisis pregnancy assistance, it’s often not their first crisis — some have already had abortion experiences. A counselor at Pregnancy Choices in Apple Valley, Pete Herold, knows something of what they’re going through because he and a former girlfriend had an abortion in the 1980s.
His experience has given him a passion for helping anyone facing abortion, including men like him who know the pain of going through it. It’s also shown Herold, a parishioner at St. Joseph in Rosemount, the important role that men play in advocating for their baby’s life.
While sometimes ministering to those hurt by abortion at Pregnancy Choices, one of the Total LifeCare Centers, he’s also helping organize the archdiocese’s first all-night prayer Vigil where they and anyone else can pray for healing and to end abortion.
The “All-Night Prayer Vigil for Hope, Healing and Mercy,” will take place on Jan. 21-22 — just before the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion — at St. Mary’s Chapel at the St. Paul Seminary.
The vigil, sponsored by the archdiocesan ministry Project Rachel, will start with Mass at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 and end at 7 a.m. Jan. 22. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The vigil precedes the “Prayer Service for Life” at the Cathedral of St. Paul later that morning.
“Every year’s important in January but this year is even bigger because it’s 40 years,” Herold said. “It’s affected a lot of people in the last 40 years.”
The archdiocese is promoting the vigil in parishes where statistics show many struggle with past abortions, he said.
“Sometimes these people just bury it for a long time,” Herold said. “All of a sudden it’s surfaced and you really need to deal with it and [this is] an opportunity to heal and realize that God’s mercy is great — bigger than any sin that we commit in this world.”
The archdiocese also encourages anyone willing to pray for life to attend the vigil, which apart from Mass and the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 a.m., will focus on silent prayer, he said.
“We’re all in this together and that’s why it’s not just for those that are hurting with an abortion experience,” Herold said. “We want the prayer warriors to come, too. We want the people who pray to end abortion and pray for these people who’ve had these experiences.”
Project Rachel, not to be confused with the non-profit post abortion retreat ministry, Rachel’s Vineyard, offers free, confidential one-to-one support from priests and trained lay volunteers to individuals in emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain as a result of abortion.
At the vigil, the Knights of Columbus will serve as greeters and parking lot escorts, Herold said.
He noted that abortion supporters will mark the 40th anniversary — another reason for pro-lifers to humbly pray at the Vigil for mercy, forgiveness, healing and an end to abortion.
Whether or not they’ve had an abortion experience as Herold has, he believes that everyone has suffered spiritually from abortion.
“There are fewer children out there today because of abortion,” he said. “Because of that we’re all affected.”
For those wishing to stand up for life during the upcoming anniversary of Roe v.?Wade, there are several opportunities:
- Prayer service for life
The archdiocese is sponsoring a local Prayer Service for Life, which takes place Jan. 22 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Led by Bishop Lee Piché, the 10:30 a.m. service will be followed by a march to the State Capitol and a rally organized by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.
- Youth for Life Conference
On Jan. 21, which is also Martin Luther King Day when many schools are closed, there will be a Minnesota Youth for Life Conference at Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale. Going from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., it will feature speakers covering a variety of pro-life topics, including how youth can help overturn Roe v. Wade. For more information, visit http://www.mnyouthforlife.webs.com.
- Defending Life in 2013: A three-lecture series at the Univerity of St. Thomas
A lecture series reflecting on 40 years under Roe v. Wade will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Schulze Auditorium on the Minneapolis campus Tuesdays, Jan. 8, 15 and 22. Speakers are:
Jan. 8 – Paul Wojda, “Always to Care, Never to Kill” focusing on end-of-life issues and physician assisted suicide.
Jan. 15 – Clarke Forsythe, Senior Counsel for Americans United for Life, “The Tragic History of Roe.”
Jan. 22 – Teresa Collett, “Defending Life in 2013 After 40 Years Under Roe v. Wade.”