We tend to think of abortion in terms of the mother and baby and sometimes the father, but so often we fail to look at the entire picture of how abortion has impacted our nation. As a teenager who was coerced into an abortion by my parents, my road to healing was long because no one would acknowledge my experience. It was years before I found the help I needed.
In the Gospel of Life Pope John Paul II states that we need to, “Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly.” It is never cut and dry. An abortion decision is complicated, with many dynamics involved. Through healing, I came to recognize the impact my one abortion had on countless people: my parents, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my friends, my future children, and yes, society as a whole.
Some years ago, while before the Blessed Sacrament, I was inspired with a prayer service to show the far reaching implications of abortion and the many it impacted. A service where all could participate in prayer and reparation whether they had been directly involved in an abortion or not. I brought the idea to the Family Life Office of New York and “An Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance” was born.
The prayer service involves short testimonies of many key people and their roles in abortion and provides a safe place to mourn, pray and intercede as a community without anyone knowing who has been involved in an abortion.
With the Archdiocesan Family Life Office of New York, we have been moving the prayer service to different parishes throughout the diocese each year. In 2009, it was televised from St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and has since spread to a number of other dioceses, including Washington, DC, Paterson, NJ, Providence, RI, Austin Texas, and Rockford, IL.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, people truly “enter into” the service as it touches countless souls, opening hearts to healing, as well as bringing an understanding of what goes on in the minds of those who have been involved in abortion.
Each year, on January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, tens of thousands of people gather in Washington, DC for the March for Life and at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception the evening before to celebrate The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in reparation for abortion; however, there are tens of thousands more people unable to make it to Washington. It is our hope and prayer that this service will continue to spread and more dioceses across the country will begin to offer this service of “prayerful remembrance.”
– T. Bonopartis
An “Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance” was developed by Theresa Bonopartis with The Family Life Office of the NY Diocese. For more information on how to conduct or host the service contact Theresa Bonopartis