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Bishop Burbidge leads prayer outside Falls Church abortion clinic

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On a cool morning, more than 50 pro-lifers gathered with Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge to pray the rosary in front of the Falls Church Healthcare Center, one of the largest abortion clinics in the area. The bishop’s witness April 4 inspired the many people who pray there throughout the 40 Days for Life. 

Ruby Nicdao has led the Falls Church campaign for several years and is often found doing sidewalk counselling outside the center. Nicdao, a parishioner of St. Timothy Church in Chantilly, was impressed and excited that the bishop joined the pro-life group. She knows the participation of the clergy grows the pro-life presence outside abortion clinics.

“We believe that if we see the bishops and the priests in front of these abortion centers it will bring more parishioners to the frontlines, because it shows that they value life,” she said.

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Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge leads the rosary as part of the Falls Church 40 Days for Life campaign April 4. 


As the group prayed, many faced the street and held signs that read, “Everyone deserves a birthday” or “Pray to end abortion.” The bishop and others, such as Peter Lucas, a student at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, took turns leading decades of the rosary. 

Several students from the school’s pro-life club participated along with the club’s moderator, Allison Lattie, and school chaplain Father Gregory Thompson. The club hosts “baby showers” for local charities, prays monthly at the abortion clinic and attends the March for Life. “If we don’t respect life in the womb, we won’t respect it anywhere else,” said freshman Natalie Archer. 

After they finished the rosary, the bishop greeted the group. “Thank you for what you do ... to transform the hearts of those in need,” he told Catholics from around the diocese, including parishioners of nearby St. James Church in Falls Church all the way to St. Veronica Church in Chantilly and Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville.

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A woman holds a pro-life sign facing S. Washington Street while praying a rosary with other pro-lifers. 

40 Days for Life is an international organization that encourages people to pray outside abortion clinics. Since its inception, the group believes many unborn babies have been saved from abortion due to the witness of pro-lifers. “We believe 40 Days for Life is the beginning of the end of abortion because we’ve seen a phenomenal rate of abortion centers close down since it began. I do believe it's because Christians are coming out to pray,” said Nicdao.    

Mimi Fleury from St. James was happy to join the bishop in prayer. “I’m 89 and I have been against abortion since forever.”

Learn more

Bishop Burbidge will celebrate a Respect Life Mass on Saturday, April 22, at 8:30 a.m. at St. James Church in Falls Church, and then lead a rosary at Falls Church Healthcare Center. To learn more about 40 Days for Life activities, go to facebook.com/40DaysforLifeFallsChurch.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017