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United rosary for end to legalized abortion promoted in Sioux City prayer campaign

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Catholic Globe) – “Defend life.” Those are simple words that call Catholics to a huge responsibility.

According to Mark Thomason, diocesan pro-life contact person, defend life will be the theme of a diocesan-wide pro-life effort on Jan. 22. Given that day marks the 35th year of legalized abortion in the United States, he said they hope parishioners throughout the diocese will offer prayers to end abortion.

“We want to create solidarity,” he said. “Everyone can be a part of it and we need everyone to be a part of it. We want people to pray and fast.”

‘Praying in the streets’

Bishop R. Walker Nickess will preside at 12:10 p.m. Mass on Jan. 22 at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. About 1:30 p.m., there will be a rosary outside of Planned Parenthood.

“If people feel called to it, praying in the streets is one of the first calls - to witness our faith,” said Thomason.

Even parishioners who reside in communities without a Planned Parenthood may opt to pray the rosary on the main street of their hometown as a visible sign of their pro-life stance. The diocese can e-mail individuals a PDF file so they can print a “defend life” sign or is even willing to mail some out through traditional mail.

“We are asking parishioners to put together something at the grassroots level and get the word out to others,” he said.

Some may opt to build solidarity for this effort by attending daily Mass in their parish that day and still others may pray on their own in their home. Catholic schools may wish to hold a special prayer service at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. The options are endless.

Abortion is ‘number one issue’

While Thomason noted that the Catholic Church promotes respecting life in all forms, abortion is the “number one issue because it leads to every other issue,” said Thomason. “It’s a cornerstone issue of social justice for the church.”

Praying for an end to abortion, he noted, is the first domino in helping to turn the tide on the culture of death.

“Even if there was only one abortion, it would still be more atrocious than the death penalty because of the innocence of life,” said Thomason.

He referred to the recent tragedy in Sioux City where two young girls were murdered.

“Those kinds of stories affect us deeper because we see the innocence of children,” said Thomason.

Along those same lines, he said, “Who is more innocent than an unborn baby? The beginning of the culture of life is defending life at its basic root.”

He mentioned that there are only about 3,000 people on death row in the entire country and statistics show there are about 3,500 surgical abortions daily. Over the course of four years in Iraq, he noted there have been about 3,500 soldiers who have died. Over the course of 35 years of legalized surgical abortion, that’s about 50 million people - equivalent to the population of 14 Midwest states in the country.

Stealth abortions use RU-486

While some Catholics in the diocese think there is only one abortion clinic, Thomason noted that all Planned Parenthood locations offer chemical abortions.

“Every Planned Parenthood carries emergency contraception - RU-486 - which is not contraception, it is a chemical abortion,” he said.

Thomason commended the individuals and groups in the diocese who have worked hard to promote life.

“Plus the victims of abortions go way beyond just the baby being murdered. It’s also the mothers, fathers, grandparents and the siblings,” said Thomason. “And the women are really affected by it - the post-abortive woman has struggles physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It really devastates people.”

Those who actively want to participate in pro-life ministry are called not only to offer prayers to end abortion but also to help women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. They might volunteer at Birthright or befriend a single parent.

“There are a lot of single parents out in the diocese that don’t have the parenting network that couples do,” he said.

While the majority of diocesan parishioners will pray here, others are taking their pro-life response one step further. Four busloads from the diocese will join thousands in Washington D.C. for the National March for Life. Another group will join hundreds or thousands in Des Moines for the statewide rally.

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This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Globe (www.catholicglobe.org), official newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa.

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