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150 gather for ‘powerful, peaceful and prayerful intercession’ outside abortion clinic in Falls Church

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As the sun rose over a three-story building on Lee Highway in Falls Church Oct. 24, people with signs, banners and rosaries started assembling in a quiet line along the sidewalk. Before 8 a.m., there were 40 people praying softly, and just a half hour later the crowd grew to nearly 150 people who came to join Bishop Michael F. Burbidge for a prayerful protest in front of the Falls Church Healthcare Center, one of the largest abortion clinics in the area. The gathering was part of a campaign Sept. 23 through Nov. 1 run by 40 Days for Life, an international organization that encourages people to pray outside abortion clinics.

The group included members of the Knights of Columbus, parishioners from across the diocese — some who pray at this location weekly — chancery staff, students from Christendom College in Front Royal, a group of seminarians from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., leaders of pro-life ministry groups and others. Brian Addington, a Baptist who has been praying outside this clinic for years, said, “I don’t think I have ever seen this many people turn out; 150 people, that’s an amazing number.”

Kevin Zrenda, a parishioner of St. Veronica Church in Chantilly, said, “Our pro-life group came here today to pray in support of women under pressure, not just the child.”

“I know people who have had an abortion and are still healing from it,” said Patricia Lawless, a parishioner of St. Louis Church in Alexandria, who said she has been involved in pro-life activities since the fourth grade when she attended the March for Life for the first time. “It makes me feel good to see such a good turnout today for a subject that is near and dear to my heart as a Catholic and as a woman,” she said.

As the event ended, Bishop Burbidge greeted those gathered with socially distanced elbow bumps, and thanked them for coming. He also blessed the rosaries of two Christendom students. “Every week we have Shield of Roses, a group of usually two or three vans of students who pray outside the abortion clinic,” said Halyna Charba, whose rosary was blessed.

“It was a great day for life in the Diocese of Arlington. It was a powerful, peaceful and prayerful intercession right in front of where children’s lives are lost and women’s hearts are broken,” said Amy McInerny, diocesan Respect Life director. 

Find out more
Go to prayforlife.org.

Buy photos from the rosary at catholicherald.smugmug.com.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020