By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — More than 150 pro-life advocates set up chairs in the outfield at Prairie Heights Baseball Complex last month to praise God and pray for an end to abortion.
Pro-Life in the Park, now in its second year, raises money for local pro-life organizations and pregnancy centers, including Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf, Quad City Right to Life, and Pregnancy Resources in Davenport and Moline, Illinois.
Previously, pro-life advocates in Scott County hosted the Black and White Gala to support local efforts.
Musicians from St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport kicked off the 90-minute event with praise and worship music. Afterward, St. Paul’s pastor, Father Bruce DeRammelaere approached the microphone to lead guests in praying for Mary’s intercession. “Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those mothers and fathers who feel threatened and overwhelmed by (the mother’s) pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may grant them the grace to say ‘yes’ and the courage to go on. … May they experience the help of Christian people and know the peace that comes from doing God’s will.”
Father Andrew Rauenbuehler offered guests a message about the importance of evangelization and outreach. “We are pro-life, but we are also pro-eternal life,” said the priest, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Victory Parish and chaplain of Assumption High School, both in Davenport. “The prayers, sacrifices, advocacy and care of pregnant women that so many of you have done played a pivotal role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. But, friends, our work is not over because our work was never solely about the correct (interpretation) of the Constitution of the United States. Our work has to be more concerned with the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the social media posts and the protests, punditry and talking points we’ve all seen this past year have shown us one thing, it’s that we still have much work to do.” Evangelization can help to change hearts, he said. “Take Jesus into the public square.”
Throughout the evening, Knights of Columbus from St. Paul the Apostle Parish spoke to guests, encouraging them to donate to the cause. “We have a lot to do to restore respect for life and make abortion unthinkable in this country,” KofC Tom Heinold told the crowd. “We continue to encourage all women (who are considering abortion) to acknowledge and love the precious gift that has been entrusted to them, just as our blessed mother, Mary, did all those years ago. We also need to encourage men to be protectors of their children, with St. Joseph as their model.”
As the sun began to set, the musicians from St. Paul the Apostle performed covers of popular inspirational songs.
Leah Wilson, a senior at Assumption High School, was one of several students at the event wearing a “Knights for Life” T-shirt. She told The Catholic Messenger that students at the Davenport school are working to establish a pro-life club of the same name. Wilson said she is passionate about advocating for people “who don’t get to speak up for themselves. The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Life is not just something to throw away.”
Brad Merritt, an event organizer, said guests donated about $4,000 the night of the event. People unable to attend the event have contributed more than $1,500 so far. Additional donations can be made through Venmo at stpaul15725
“There is much work to be done, but God is with us,” said Merritt, a member of St. Paul the Apostle. “We are all called in our ways to do our part … it’s been great to see so many people do something.”
Prayer for the unborn
Dear Heavenly Father
You have placed a love for preborn babies in the hearts of so many of us. Help us spread this love throughout our country. Help us teach the sanctity of human life to those who neither see nor understand it. Guide us as we work to protect all babies from abortion. For this we pray to our Lord. Amen.