St. Michael Parish to
host interfaith pro-life service
Every day about 4,000 babies die in the United States through abortions.
To take a stand against this national tragedy, St. Michael Church in Sioux City will host this year's Siouxland Pro-life Interfaith Prayer Memorial slated for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 20.
According to Larry Walsh, a member of the spiritual committee at Queen of Peace, Inc., about 40 churches and pro-life groups will take part in the memorial. This is the eighth year for the ecumenical service in Sioux City.
"The service is to pray for and mourn the loss of lives as a result of the Roe vs. Wade decision," he said. That Supreme Court decision legalized abortion 29 years ago in this country, on Jan. 22, 1973. Those who attend the service will also pray for a conversion of the heart.
With close to 1.5 million abortions every year, Walsh referred to it as a holocaust.
"Over 40 million people have been exterminated through legalized abortion in this country for the motive of convenience," he said.
Pastors from several Siouxland churches will take part in the prayer memorial. Dr. Don Cork of Central Baptist Church will serve as the master of ceremonies and Father Tim Hogan of St. Michael Church will provide the welcome. Father Thomas Begley of St. Thomas Orthodox Church will offer the opening prayer.
A children's choir, directed by Mary Conway with accompaniment by Kathy Baker, will offer music for a portion of the service.
And once again the interfaith service will include the Presentation of Roses. Walsh pointed out that persons from infant through age 29 would carry up a rose. The 29 roses represent the 29 years of legalized abortion. During this presentation, Father Dennis Meinen of Sioux City will offer a narrative and reflection.
The Presentation of Roses will be followed by the keynote address of Dr. Jim Eckman, president of Grace University in Omaha, whose presentation will center on "The Value of Life in Light of Sept. 11." In addition to his academic background, Eckman is an ordained minister who received the Charles A. Nash Award in Historical Theology while at Dallas Seminary.
He has expertise in historical theology, with special emphasis on the American church and revivalism. Eckman has conducted marriage seminars, current issue seminars, family life conferences, Bible conferences and retreats throughout the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Ecuador.
This year's memorial service will also include a drama titled "A Baby's Prayer" performed by Joel and Stephanie Lohry and Stephanie Kamm.
Msgr. Leonard Ziegmann, spiritual director of the Queen of Peace, will offer the closing prayer and a coffee social will follow with Roxanne and Greg Lohr as hosts.
As the event comes to a close, those who attend the memorial service are encouraged to take part in the final destination of the roses. The roses will be taken to the Circle of Life Memorial to the Unborn at Trinity Heights.
Organizers of the service compare this to, "Just as a rose will wither and die from exposure to the cold harshness of winter, so too are the world's future sons and daughters dying from the 'cold reality' of abortion."
Pastor Jim Scallions, Sioux City Gospel Mission, will lead prayers at the Tomb of the Unborn Child to conclude the day's activities.
The co-chairs for this year's event are Judy Verschoor and Marge Stanek. The memorial service is sponsored by The Alpha Center, Queen of Peace Inc., Rudy Salem Staffing Services, Knights of Columbus, Garrigan Assembly 4th Degree, Siouxland Right to Life, Siouxland United for Christ, Youth for Christ, Diocese of Sioux City and Catholic Charities. Bishop Daniel N. DiNardo has been extended an invitation to attend the event.