By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — “There is no better service than prayer,” says Ray Knight, youth minister at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.
In October, Knight decided that one way to make an impact with prayer was for youth to pray together outside the Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa’s Bettendorf Clinic.
So each Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m. Knight arrives at the pro-life Women’s Choice Center, which is located across the street from Planned Parenthood, and waits for the teens to show up. Tuesday was chosen because that is the day that surgical abortions often are performed at Planned Parenthood.
Jeanne Wonio of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants sends a text message to Knight reporting how many surgical abortions the Helpers estimate were performed that day.
When the youth gather outside the pro-life center they pray first for the unborn babies who died that day. Then they recite the rosary.
The number of participating youth varies each week, Knight said. Sports schedules sometimes dictate how many students show up. “The week of Thanksgiving we had our biggest group.”
Once the youth arrive they decide whether to pray outside or go into the chapel at the Women’s Choice Center. “It’s up to the youth,” Knight said. “I’m really proud of my youth.” He said they take time out of their busy schedules to pray for the unborn. And the youth figured out it was best to park in the upper lot so that space could be left for clients who may need services at the Women’s Choice Center.
Julia Arth, a junior at Assumption High School in Davenport, said she attends because “I feel it’s important. It is for my sister, too (Natalie, an eighth-grader at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School).
“Every life deserves a chance,” Julia said. “I don’t understand why (mothers-to-be) choose abortion, but we talk about it together.”
She said the Bible notes that God gives each person talents. “Abortion throws away the gifts God has given that child.”
Knight has sent invitations to all youth ministers in the Quad-City area inviting junior high and senior high school students to join the St. Paul youth each Tuesday — no matter the weather.