Forming a boundary between the street and the building, over twenty Benedictine students prayed together outside of the Overland Park, Kan. Planned Parenthood. Praying for an end to abortion, to cap off the annual Raven Respect Life Week held from Sunday, Oct. 2, through Saturday, Oct. 8.
October is recognized by the Catholic Church as Respect Life month, a month dedicated to praying for an end to abortion and raising awareness for the pro-life cause. To kick off Respect Life month at Benedictine College, the Raven Respect Life organization (RRL) sponsored a variety of activities centered around prayer, education, and community in what was dubbed Raven Respect Life Week.
For the past month, the RRL leadership team, led by president Joe Hogan, worked to plan a powerful week aimed towards bringing greater awareness to the pro-life movement on the Benedictine campus.
“The purpose of Respect Life Week is to provide our club and the whole student body opportunities to serve in the context of the pro-life movement and to be educated on the tragedy and effects of abortion,” RRL president Joe Hogan said. “The week serves as a living reminder of those who scream in silence and the responsibility we have to be their voice. Respect Life Week brings the reality of abortion right onto our campus, as the problem can often feel far from us.”
To kick off the week, as thousands of other pro-life organizations hosted local Life Chain gatherings across the country the club, RRL sponsored a local Life Chain event, held at the corner of 10th and Hwy. 59, to create a public display for the pro-life cause. Monday Oct. 3 brought with it an opportunity to bring the public pro-life display to campus, as the club asked students to draw pro-life messages outside of Haverty.
That night, the club sponsored an event asking students to share their own pro-life testimonies. Ranging from students speaking to how they became involved with the pro-life movement to a student mother discussing why she chose to give life to her child, The evening moved the hearts of many attendees.
Last Wednesday brought an opportunity for students to educate themselves on the root causes of the abortion issue through a panel discussion. In conjunction with the Center for Family Life, RRL sponsored a panel discussion aimed at answering the question: what are the root causes that have contributed to the tragedy of abortion in our society?
“The main thing that stood out to me was when Mrs. Rhizia discussed the importance of family life because it was really relatable to my own family,” junior, Maggie Schimidt said. “I learned just how many of the societal issues that we face are interconnected and all influence this degrading of human life that we are witnessing.”
Friday presented students with two opportunities for prayer. At noon, RRL sponsored a rosary to end abortion at the Marian Grotto and a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. at the memorial for the unborn. In addition, the prayers, the club encouraged members to participate in a Lenten fast: eating two small meals and one normal meal while refraining from consuming meat.
Continuing the spirit of prayer, a group of students traveled to the Overland Park Planned Parenthood for a prayer pilgrimage to end abortion. Praying in front of an abortion clinic proved to be both a moving experience and a perfect way to conclude the week.
The pilgrimage even attracted the attention of Lucy Maloney, a former Benedictine student who now works for Pro-Life Action Ministries of St. Paul Minnesota.
“At the heart of the abortion issue, it is a spiritual battle,” said Maloney. “Prayer and fasting is going to end abortion in America. Abortion is not going to end when Roe is overturned or legislation is passed, it will end through prayer and fasting.”