Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, led a group of about 100 people in a 40 Days for Life-sponsored rosary procession from St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church to Planned Parenthood’s office in Walnut Creek.
This was the second time a large group had rallied for life outside the Planned Parenthood offices, an easy walk from St. Mary Church and School, said Linda Mertes, one of the 40 Days for Life organizers.
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides “reproductive health care,” including abortion, worldwide.
“We are surrounded by truth, and lies,” said Bishop Barber in his homily at the noon Mass May 18 preceding the walk. Eighth graders from St. Mary school also participated at the Mass.
When we’re told that baby in a mother’s womb is not a human being, that’s a lie, Bishop Barber said.
When people get old and we’re told it’s OK if they want to kill themselves, that’s another lie, he said. They should be loved, we should support them, and alleviate their pain.
Another lie is that two men, or two women, of the same sex can be married.
“It’s not a marriage. It’s legal; but not everything that is legal is right.”
If Congress passed a law that the world was flat, that would not make it true.
In Germany in Adolph Hitler’s time, they were told Jews were not people, so they were rounded up and put in concentration camps.
In the United States 150 years ago, just because you were black, you were not a human being, the bishop said.
How can we change things? he asked.
“All we have to do is tell the truth.”
We can convert people through prayer and love, he said, citing how St. Teresa of Calcutta’s prayer and love changed people’s minds.
Last October, the bishop recalled, after he met with a dozen young Jesuits, one of them told the bishop his story, that his mother had been on her way to an abortion clinic, but she changed her mind. I am so glad she allowed me to live, he told the bishop.
“It’s not a batch of some cells,” said Bishop Barber. “It’s a human baby. It’s a person, not a thing.”
“The Church will help any woman who doesn’t want a child to find a home for it,” he said.
Many attendees believe a life may have been saved as a result of the Mass, walk and prayers.
“We saw something amazing,” reported Rev. Lawrence D’Anjou to the group gathered in the St. Mary school gymnasium after the rally. “It was right toward the end of the event, Father D’Anjou said, the procession group had broken into groups on either side of Oakland Boulevard and the driveway to Planned Parenthood.
“A young couple went into Planned Parenthood,” he said, “and we saw the two of them come out, and when they left the parking lot, they were both waving and smiling with great joy.” From their car, the couple made the peace sign to the church group, smiling and waving as they left.
“They were really excited,” Father D’Anjou said. “It was a sign they were keeping that baby.”
“Praise God,” Father D’Anjou said as the audience applauded the moment.
Besides Bishop Barber and Father D’Anjou, some of the priests and seminarians participating were Revs. Dante Tamayo, parochial vicar at St. Mary; Erick Villa, from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood, and Alex Castillo, director of Faith Formation and Evangelization. Also joining were Revs. Mario Rizzo and Arturo Bazan, who were ordained May 25.
Full story at The Catholic Voice.