On Friday November 8th, A Caring Pregnancy Center (ACPC) hosted their Annual Respect Life Banquet and brought to Pueblo Author and Nationally known Pro-Life speaker Abby Johnson. The event brought together 900 plus members of the Pro-Life community from all over Pueblo and Colorado. The Diocese of Pueblo, along with various other church's and organizations came together to support the mission of ACPC and hear from Abby herself.
Leading up to the event, the Diocese of Pueblo hosted an essay contest titled: Unique and Unrepeatable, as a way to open the door for younger members of the Diocese to participate in this amazing opportunity. Over 60 submissions were received and 4 students and their families were chosen to attend. Congratulations to Page Parmley of St. Columba Catholic School (Durango), and home schooler's Danielle Knellinger, Agustyne "Gus" Daneluk, and Katherine Sproston.
The evening kicked off with a powerful invocation delivered by Fr. Matthew Wertin, Vicar for New Evangelization and Chancellor for the Diocese of Pueblo. Following the invocation, ACPC Director Tamra Axworthy gave a short introduction to what ACPC has been doing within the Pueblo community for the past 35 years. Not only did Axworthy talk about how the pregnancy center serves women during their pregnancies, but she also introduced the community to an additional service they are providing at their facility.
Through the powerful testimony of a woman who was a client at ACPC during both her first and second pregnancies. Though the staff at ACPC provided the best they could offer, because of the state of her relationship with God, along with many other factors, this young woman believed the lies that the abortion industry frequently tells, ultimately ending her second pregnancy with an abortion. Rather than leave her to suffer alone, when this woman reached back out to ACPC, the staff committed to helping this young woman find her way back to God and His unfailing love and mercy. To help other women like her, ACPC will now be offering a post abortion healing program, something Axworthy was excited to share with the community.
After briefly touching on Ann the Van (ACPC's mobile ultrasound unit) Axworthy then introduced Abby Johnson, who delivered an impassioned and powerful speech to the guests in attendance. Through laughs and tears, she drew the audience into her personal life and her journey from being an advocate for abortion to now being an advocate for life. She brought to tears many of those in the audience as she talked about her exit from Planned Parenthood, explaining in detail what she saw in an ultrasound guided abortion that forever changed her life.
Johnson attributes her conversion to the consistent prayers of those at the Coalition for Life, stating that the power of prayer is real and effective. Using this piece of her story to encourage and motivate those who pray for the end of abortion, to never give up on praying. She shared the powerful story of how her son Jude was adopted into her family. After learning that adoptive families had turned away from him for various reasons, one being that he is biracial, Johnson and her husband opened their hearts and home to their now son.
She used this part of her talk to highlight the struggles that women face when in a crisis pregnancy, and how the actions of a few can add to the idea and belief that abortion is a valid and necessary option. Throughout her speech, members of the audience laughed at her whit, shed tears over the heart wrenching details, and fell silent as they took in her powerful words.
While doing her best to stay away from politics, Johnson took a few moments to talk about how we are in a battle and that we need to fight both at the ballot box and in our everyday lives through our actions and words. She challenged everyone present to no longer live in fear of offending the opposition with our beliefs, and to rise up and stand strong in our fight for the unborn.
She said that the fight doesn't just take place before the abortion, but we have to open our minds and hearts to fighting for the souls of the women who have had abortions. She asked all the priests and preachers present to be courageous in standing up at the pulpit to talk about the grace and mercy God is waiting to pour on those women, men and families who are or have been victims to the abortion industry.
After declaring 2020 as the year of the man, Abby asked all men in the audience to stand stronger and taller than ever before as the men God created them to be, not as the men our world tells them they are. She celebrated and spoke to the importance of a man's role as a father and asked all of us present to see those men through the eyes of God. She then turned her attention to the parents in the audience and asked us to no longer stand down to the information and propaganda our children are constantly subject to, specifically in regard to the sex education programs within our school systems.
She challenged the families to see themselves as first teachers and to take those roles seriously, without laying down, regardless of the sacrifices necessary. Johnson closed out her talk with a call for all of us to be givers to the point of sacrifice. Asking everyone to give, not from what we had planned on giving, but sacrificing a little more to be able to give a lot more. Johnson exited the stage to a standing ovation and a room filled with inspiration and motivation to fight for the most marginalized group in our society, the unborn.
A Caring Pregnancy Center is located at 500 Colorado Ave in Pueblo. If you or anyone you know can benefit from their free and confidential services, they can be reached by phone at (719) 544-9312. While the Diocese of Pueblo proudly supports all the efforts of A Caring Pregnancy Center, they too offer free and confidential help to any woman, man or family member who has been touched by abortion. Father Matthew Wertin was commission by Pope Francis, and has been fully trained in offering counseling for any post abortive woman. Because abortion reaches beyond the woman herself, he also offers counseling to men and family members. These counseling sessions are one on one and go at the pace of the individual. If you or anyone you know could benefit from meeting with Father Wertin please email him at email@example.com
The Diocese will also be offering a Memorial Mass for all children who have died before birth. All are welcome, regardless of the type of loss: abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth. The Mass will be held at Holy Family Catholic Parish, 2827 Lakeview Avenue in Pueblo, on December 12, 2019. There will be a Holy Hour with the opportunity for Confession starting at 6:00 p.m. Mass will begin at 7:00 p.m. If you would like to remember a child, please join us. There will be candles available for the family members of the children being remembered and we encourage you to bring a rose to lay at the feet of Our Lady.
Contributor: Emily Glasser is a lifelong Catholic, homeschooling Mom of 4 kids, and the creator of Guided By Prayer (a blog dedicated to post abortion healing, homeschooling and Catholic living).