Witnessing to our faith can be an intimidating task in any realm of the public eye. Those who choose to show this witness in praying for the defense of life know the challenges.
Imagine standing alone outside of Planned Parenthood clinic and praying for the souls of the men and women entering and exiting. You do your best to look at each person that passes, just simply to acknowledge their presence. No one seems to want to make eye contact with you. This avoidance from others makes you feel uncomfortable, insignificant, and you feel the weight of everything you’re confronted with. Despair may easily begin to set in.
The reality is, one can often feel alone in pro-life work. The recognition of this hardship prompted the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary to begin a pro-life apostolate aimed at providing spiritual encouragement.
Last year, with the help of four seminarians, and under the direction of Father Gary Selin and guidance from the Holy Spirit, they began their work. Father Selin, in summarizing the mission of the apostolate told the Denver Catholic, “The St. John Vianney Pro-Life Apostolate is to help form and mentor those people in the pro-life movement, particularly on a spiritual level.”
With the help of the Respect Life Office of Catholic Charities, the group of seminarians began last year by educating themselves on the spectrum of life from conception to natural death. They continued their ministry with assisting in the twice-yearly 40 Days for Life campaign, which includes praying a rosary outside a Planned Parenthood.
Late last spring, the seminarians in this apostolate led a day of recollection with this focus of ministering to the spiritual leaders of the pro-life movement.
For the seminarians themselves, this apostolate is an opportunity to develop and grow in their abilities to minister to others as future priests. Opportunities for growth are abundant in being able to support future parishioners in pro-life ministry, along with how to educate and invite others within their future parishes to become active in pro-life ministry.
Father Selin, in commenting on the need for this apostolate said, “Whenever we’re defending life … it brings up often times great visceral, emotional, even violent behaviors. … There’s very much a spiritual battle.”
Leaders do feel this spiritual warfare at times. That is where The St. John Vianney Pro-Life Apostolate is important for encouragement, spiritual protection, and as being a visible sign of Christ’s hope in conquering death. Seminarians Jonathan Tansill from the Diocese of Phoenix, and Codi Krueger from the Diocese of Helena, will be taking this mission on as the seminarian leaders this year.
They, along with other seminarians studying in the archdiocese, will be making their presence known throughout 40 Days for Life, which goes from Sept. 28-Nov.6.
This time will afford multiple opportunities to pray in community, strengthen one another, and to give hope for those who wish to inscribe a victory for life into the history books.
We should keep in mind that it’s God’s story we are a part of, said Father Selin, and we are not alone in being faithful instruments in filling the pages: “St. Mother Teresa . . . her famous quotation is ‘We’re not called to be successful, but to be faithful’. . .We have to lift up our eyes and say, ‘We have to do what we’re called to do to be faithful and leave the rest over to God’s divine providence and power because he’s the author of life.’”
40 days for life begins Sept. 28
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