Prolife Pilgrimage Part 3 - FRIENDSHIP!
I went to Mass at the exquisite chapel of the Precious Blood for the last time this morning. It’s been lovely to be able to get there each day, with Mass said by Monsignor. I had my last breakfast with Sr. Precious and helped her figure out a couple of things on her new phone before packing and awaiting my ride to the airport. Monsignor Reilly loaded me up with booklets and guides he has produced for the Helpers.
The ride was great, because I had the chance to talk to two local pro-lifers, Humphrey and his wife Anne. Humphrey has visited Australia three times already, and I hope Anne will one day have the opportunity to visit, as well.
My enforced internet ‘fast’ continued, as I could connect only long enough to give my next host the flight details. I guess any fasting God imposes on us is worth more than the fasting we choose for ourselves.
Finally, after a delay at Washington’s Dulles airport, I arrived in cold, cold Dayton Ohio. Along with my hosts, Jeannette and Mark, were two pro-life stalwarts - Vivian and Bob. Viviana has been sidewalk counselling for many years, and was even involved in ‘rescues’ back in the day. We collected my baggage and went to eat at Chick-Fil-A.
The first event for the day was a regular Rosary vigil outside Martin Haskill’s abortion facility at Kettering. Jeannette and I joined about 6 or 8 others and prayed Rosaries for around an hour. Martin Haskill is infamous for having invented the partial-birth abortion technique. This procedure allows a full-term baby to be partly birthed, but then killed by stabbing it in the back of the neck. Former President Clinton wanted to make it legal but the procedure has been outlawed here. Martin Haskill continues to perform abortions up to 22 weeks in Kettering. Across the road from his clinic is a women’s life centre.
The local prolifers also arranged a Planned Parenthood protest for today. The building, in downtown Dayton, doesn’t perform abortions, but similar to Australia’s Family Planning clinics, does pregnancy and STD testing, provides abortifacient contraception, LBGTI sexual health advice and abortion referrals.
We finished the day with Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration, where pro-life priest Fr. Bowman remembered my son from Josh’s recent trip to the US.
Sunday was our rest day until the afternoon, and my prayers were answered: it snowed!!! That afternoon, several pro-lifers came around for a potluck meal; Vivian and Bob, Len and Margaret, Katherine, Divina - and a Facebook friend from nearby Columbus, Mark, braved the snowy conditions to join us. It was very encouraging to listen to their experiences on the sidewalks and in pro-life activism. They gave me a lot of food for thought regarding the use of abortion-victim photographs outside the facilities.
Monday meant a drop in temperature and another protest outside Planned Parenthood. Vivian managed to approach a number of girls and offer them fliers and encouragement. I was well and truly ready to go by the end of the hour since my fingers and toes were numb.
Katherine and I visited the Dayton Right to Life offices and the cemetery. The famous Wright brothers are buried here, but the main reason we went was to visit the graves of some aborted babies whose bodies were discovered in dumpsters and later given a decent burial by pro-lifers; these kind people also named them, and now remember them from time to time. It isn’t known if the mothers know their babies are buried here.
Our next event was a regular protest outside Wright State University. This was to draw attention to the Wright State Physicians who are affiliated with the university and practise nearby. Some of these doctors have a transfer agreement with the abortionist, Martin Haskill, and thus are enablers - Haskill would be forced to close his practice were it not for these doctors. They have agreed to treat any of his patients who experience an unexpected health outcome after their abortion (that is, if he botches the abortion.)
Our final event for the day was a drive to the town of Troy to visit my friend, Bryan Kemper, of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach. My son has done two internships with Stand True, and it was Bryan who got me active in pro-life work two years ago, when I met him on his last visit to Australia. We had a great meal together and I left with a load of pro-life t-shirts for the kids courtesy of Bryan.
All good things must come to an end, as they say, and sadly, my trip ended the next day. After 35 hours of travelling, I made it home to my family, very grateful to have had this opportunity to travel and visit an amazing group of really Christian Christians.
There is a lot more to tell and many more pictures, but they will have to wait until another day. Thanks to Katherine Marple for providing some of the above pictures!