This year’s 40 Days for Life vigil in Auckland came to a poignant closing with a well-attended candlelight vigil outside a private abortion centre.
Held on Palm Sunday, approximately 300 people gathered on the footpath opposite the Auckland Medical Centre to remember the lives lost to abortion, pay their respects, and pray in reparation for this grave sin against life.
Participants of the vigil were led by Father Jeremy Palman. Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge Youth sung hymns alongside a song they have composed titled “Children of God’s love”. The song is a conversation between unborn children and their guardian angels about what life is like on earth. The unborn children declare their desire to be born and to feel the love of their mothers and fathers.
Members of the Next Generation team and other youth prayed the Stations of the Cross using the reflections written by Father Linus Clovis. The pro-life reflections for each station focus on beginning and end of life issues such as abortion and euthanasia, and the importance of our Christian response.
Following the Stations, Michelle Kaufman, the leader of the Auckland 40 Days for Life vigil, reminded participants that a great tragedy takes place in the building they stood in front of. As with any tragedy, it is a usual response to mourn and to pay one’s respects at the site where the injustice takes place.
She also shared stories that had been relayed to her over the course of the six weeks. Kaufman spoke of one couple who had hesitantly walked into the front foyer of the abortion place. The woman’s male companion held the front door open and kept looking back at the vigil participants. Eventually, the couple left and was given a Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support card. While it is impossible to know exactly what this couple’s situation was, it was clear that the presence of people in peaceful vigil had an impact on their decision to go inside.
Just before the conclusion of the vigil, dedicated prayer volunteers, Deborah Railey and Helen Lelo took a wreath of roses across the road and laid it in front of the abortion centre’s doors. A minute silence was held for all those who have lost their lives to abortion.
After the final blessing those present were invited to pay their respects by laying a rose alongside the wreath.
More than 250 individuals gave of their time over the course of the 40 Days for Life vigil in Auckland. Many gave several hours every week to be peacfully present in prayer and witness to the great tragedy of abortion. They offered practical help, support, and hope to those who passed by.
The Auckland 40 Days for Life vigil was one of 567 cities participating in the global effort to end abortion. At the time of writing, 505 lives were saved from abortion during the Lenten season, and two abortion facilities closed their doors.
While it is true Scripture admonishes those who pray on the street corners (see Matthew 6:5-8), the admonishment is towards those who do so in order to be seen and praised. Prayer outside abortion centres, should never be about us. Our presence must always be about shining the light of Christ in the darkness. All we do, as little as we are, must bring honour to God (see Matthew 5:16) and expose the evil that takes place at that very spot (see John 3:20-21).
Weekly prayer and witness resumes outside the Auckland Medical Aid Centre every Wednesday – 7am to 8am and 9:30am to 10:30am.
Politicians are trying to criminalise peaceful, prayerful vigils like this, by instigating exclusion zones for pro-life activity known as “safe areas”. Please have your say by making a submission to the Health Select Committee before April 28th. Find out more information about the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Area) Legislation Bill here.