Alex Taylor , Contributing Writer
Over 200 students, faculty and seminarians gathered to pray the rosary, sing hymns and provide a prayerful presence this past Saturday for Crusaders for Life’s sixth biannual “100s Day.” As the majority of those in attendance prayed and sang, several pairs of trained sidewalk counselors spoke with the women who came to the clinic that day, trying to offer those women and their partners a choice for life.
The event began in spring 2010 as a special way to draw students to Crusaders for Life’s weekly Prayerful Presence event in front of the Abortion Advantage clinic in Dallas run by Dr. Lamar Robinson. Senior Teresa Shumay, Prayerful Presence coordinator, said she has noticed students who can’t come every Saturday making a special effort to come pray on 100s Day. Shumay has seen firsthand the impact of the prayer and work of the sidewalk counselors. This Saturday, one woman who talked to the counselors went into Birth Choice (a pro-life clinic) for a free pregnancy test instead of into Robinson’s clinic. While Shumay is not sure what will happen, she believes Birth Choice will provide a better atmosphere for the woman to receive the support she needs.
“It’s certainly better for her to be there, and hopefully she’ll hear what she needs to hear from them and get the support she needs to have her baby,” Shumay said. “I hope everyone who came to the early shift will keep her in their prayers.”
A wide range of people worked to support the mission of 100s Day and Crusaders for Life, including some who couldn’t attend the event, such as athletes who were attending meets and tournaments. The Ultimate Frisbee team said a rosary for the unborn on its way to a tournament Saturday morning, and some members of the cross-country team wore baby-feet lapel pins on their shoes to show their support for the pro-life movement. Several University of Dallas professors and 15 seminarians from Holy Trinity Seminary attended the event, which furthered the sense of community among students. Reverend Father Thomas Esposito, O. Cist., led the prayers at the 7:30 a.m. shift at the event. Esposito was in Rome with last year’s spring Rome class, and was its chaplain on class trips. He also studied at the university before he entered the priesthood.
“He used to go to Prayerful Presence when he was a student here,” Crusaders for Life President Ivanna Bond said. “He was there, Dr. Waterman Ward and her family were there, and some parishioners from the Church of the Incarnation were there as well.”
Crusaders for Life has been an extremely active organization on campus since it was founded; in 2009 it won the “Best Club” award, and Bond has plenty of ideas for new pro-life events on campus this year. The group is planning on participating in the national 40 Days For Life campaign, which begins this Wednesday, Sept. 26.
40 Days For Life is an event comprised of prayer and fasting designed to imitate that of Lent, where participants make sacrifices particularly for the intention of the end of abortion. As part of the campaign, the group will form a Life Chain down MacArthur Boulevard on Oct. 7, where members will hold pro-life signs and pray. The group also plans on holding a pro-life cupcake day on Oct. 9, a movie night to show “October Baby,” a diaper drive to benefit mothers from White Rose Pregnancy Center, and a 24-hour prayer vigil at Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center. It will also host guest speakers and provide volunteer opportunities. As always, Crusaders for Life wants to draw anyone who’s interested in the pro-life cause to its events, not only undergraduate students.
“Unlike some clubs, Crusaders for Life doesn’t have any events that are members-only,” Bond said. “In everything we do, we want to integrate the whole community, most especially praying at the clinic. We send notices to parishioners of the Church of the Incarnation and professors for all our events, but especially for 100s Day.”
Bond notes that the group has been around for enough time to have a long-standing legacy in the university, and that she is impressed with the fervor that the freshmen have shown in the way they have engaged themselves in the organization.
“I am very pleased with the way things are going so far, and very excited with the support we’ve been receiving from the freshman class,” Bond said. “I am pleased by their enthusiasm.”