Akiko Bremar, Contributing Writer
Some 150-200 students and parishioners made their way to a fully-lit Church of the Incarnation last Tuesday night, long after Fr. James had finished saying 5 p.m. Mass, and on an otherwise ordinary weeknight.
As chandeliers glowed in what is typically a dark, quiet, empty space, and a choir of three led a large congregation in singing “O Salutaris,” Fr. Don Dvorak processed down the main aisle of the church, monstrance lifted high and followed by 55 students and parishioners carrying candles.
The occasion was the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The participants in the memorial service hosted by Crusaders for Life and Campus Ministry had come to honor the lives lost and impacted by abortion in the four decades since.
“I was surprised by how many people had showed up,” freshman attendee Jake Loel said. “It made me realize how lucky we are to be around such good and nice people. It’s great to have wonderful support from the UD community.”
Each candle brought down the aisle represented 1 million abortions, eventually totaling the approximately 55 million that have been performed in the past 40 years. The candles had been burning in the Eucharistic chapel since noon that day, and were placed on the ledge behind the altar for remembrance.
After the procession of candles and an opening prayer, Fr. Don read from the Gospel of John and gave a brief homily, followed by the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, silent prayer and reflection, and Benediction.
“I really enjoyed the evening because I was able to reflect on the importance of family,” said transfer student Mary Ryan. “I thought about my own life and society as a whole, and I realized that people who have families and children are the most selfless. It is so beautiful to see that. I like seeing such Christ-like figures and such good role models for everyone else.”
“Children are not the only ones who are lost, but everyone who participates in abortion endures pain and hurt, including the mother and the father,” senior and Crusaders for Life officer Teresa Shumay said. The event organizer also noted: “The focus was not only on the babies but also everyone else who has been impacted.”
In addition to hosting the memorial service, Crusaders for Life also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Roe by organizing a group of UD students to join the tens of thousands of other pro-life advocates in the annual March for Life in Dallas held the Saturday before.
“It is good for us and everyone to go and be a presence,” president of Crusaders for Life, junior Ivanna Bond said. “But it is also about being an observer. When you see everyone come together, there is hope that Roe v. Wade will be overturned which is the main goal that we are trying to achieve.”
For the rest of the semester, Crusaders for Life is planning to hold training sessions for lobbying for pro-life causes in Austin, sidewalk counseling sessions and the usual “Prayerful Presence” every Saturday morning at 7:30 and 9 a.m.
“Prayer is the strongest weapon that we have,” senior and memorial service co-coordinator Michaela Sobrak-Seaton said. “To see so many students take up that weapon is really inspiring. We are slowly making progress because of prayer. Converting hearts is the most important and we are doing that little by little.”