More than 200 people attended the Candlelight Vigil for the Unborn held outside the Auckland Medical Aid Centre on Palm Sunday evening.
Another 30 people gathered outside Wellington Regional Hospital.
The Candlelight vigil is an annual event hosted by Family Life International which remembers the great loss of life through induced abortion in New Zealand. This year the vigil concluded prayer outside AMAC and Wellington Hospital each Wednesday as part of the Lenten Prayer for Life. In previous years, the candlelight vigil has concluded the 40 Days for Life vigil.
In addition to remembering the unborn killed by abortion, participants also pray for the healing of all those who are impacted, in particular women, who suffer the most, whether it be physically, psychologically or spiritually. Fathers and siblings and the wider family are also prayed for.
Finally, prayers are offered for the conversion of those who participate
In Auckland, a memorial consisting of 1085 pink and blue hearts was created to commemorate the lives lost to abortion in AMAC during 2017, the last year figures are available. Each heart, approximately the same size as a 12-week pre-born child, were individually numbered.
An additional three hearts could have been a part of the memorial. However, in 2017, three babies are known to have been saved from abortion during the 40 Days for Life vigil held that year. Two were known about at the time. A third only came to light during the 2018 40 Days for Life vigil, when a woman approached prayer volunteers and told her story.
The previous year, the woman said, she had turned up for her appointment at AMAC but saw people praying and out of curiosity stayed for a while and listened. She spoke briefly to the prayer volunteers, but not about her pregnancy, nor about her abortion appointment. She then returned to her car and drove home.
“Today” the mother told the prayer volunteers in 2018, “my son is three months old!”
The story highlights the power of prayer and the critical importance of standing in witness to life outside of abortion centres.
At the conclusion of the prayer, the memorial was taken across the road and placed in front of AMAC’s doors. Many participants quietly made their way over the road to pray, placing their candles on the footpath. This impromptu display of respect was a particularly moving part of the evening.
Both vigils in Auckland and Wellington were peaceful events with many attendees having never prayed outside an abortion
A peaceful prayer vigil is held every Wednesday during the year outside AMAC from 9:30am to 10:30am. All are welcome to attend. For more information please contact the team at Family Life International.
Photo credit: Rachel Manning