More than 400 people gathered near a Planned Parenthood clinic in southwest Fort Worth to pray for the life of unborn babies during the Bishop’s Good Friday Rosary Vigil for Life.
Bishop Michael Olson of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese led the mostly Catholic crowd as the advocates prayed a series of rosaries for women who are contemplating abortion.
This year the 32nd annual event coincides with March 25, which is when the Feast of the Annunciation is typically observed. The Feast of Annunciation celebrates the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, Olson said.
“On this day, we can remember the conception of Jesus and Mary’s ‘yes,’ ” Olson told participants before they began praying the rosaries. “We also remember the end of his life and how he redeemed all life from natural conception to natural death. We pray for the dignity of those babies who will be killed today as well as for their mothers and for those engaged in this evil endeavor.”
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Men, women and children from across Tarrant County, from Arlington to Keller to Fort Worth, participated in the vigil, which was organized by Catholics United for Life of North Texas, Inc. Many participants are Catholics, but people of other religions and anti-abortion activists also took part in the event along the sidewalks near the Planned Parenthood Southwest Fort Worth Health Center on John Ryan Drive.
This has been a tradition for 32 years — just to remember those who otherwise are forgotten.
Bishop Michael Olson
The Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas didn’t comment specifically on the Fort Worth vigil but explained the organization’s work.
“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted healthcare provider in Fort Worth since 1938,” spokeswoman Kelly Hart said statement. “Today, Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate care for women and men at four health centers in Tarrant County. We are proud to provide life saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control to help plan and space pregnancies, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, screenings and treatment for other health issues, and safe, legal abortion.”
People at the vigil said it was an opportunity to pray on the issue of abortion. Having the vigil on Good Friday — the day many Christians remember Jesus’ crucifixion — is significant. Good Friday is described as a very special day of sacrifice, they said.
Good Friday takes place the Friday before Easter.
“It’s the day he died for us,” said Joe Storto of Arlington, who attends the vigil every year.
“This is the my life,” Storto said, adding that he arrived early hoping to persuade any women contemplating abortions to make a different decision.
“Some are interested and some aren’t,” he said. “I pray for all of them.”
Valerie Fonseca, 17, of Keller said she came with a group of immigrant families who live in Keller and north Fort Worth.
1.2 billion is the estimated number of Roman Catholics in the world, according to 2013 Vatican numbers.
“We are here to support as a family,” she said. “We are basically showing what life is.”
The rosaries and vigil are ways to show their Catholic faith, Fonseca said.
“We are celebrating the death of Jesus so this helps us grow in our faith and realize what we are here for,” she said.