Good Friday, a time for solemn reflection, was a glorious day this year in more ways than one!
On this day, in front of the new 46,000 square foot Planned Parenthood facility, a whopping 3,200 people assembled praying to end the scourge of abortion. Instead of the typical “Good Friday Storm,” God showered them with the gift of sunshine. And He also bestowed a more important present–the gift of the Spirit moving on behalf of life.
Let me explain…
The Culture of Life v. The Culture of Death
At the old Planned Parenthood located in Highland Park, 4,000 babies were aborted each year. But those running it were not content with that number, so they built a bigger and grander facility, which opened last December. On Good Friday, pro-lifers marched quietly on the street in front of the new abortuary, where an area was cordoned off for the prayer vigil–those praying included religious leaders, families and children. The only sign they carried was a life-sized cross. On the other side of the fence, was a group supporting Planned Parenthood–including an elderly lady holding up a sign that read: “Don’t have sex with pro-lifers!” There was another woman over there who walked around with her pregnant belly exposed, and on the baby bump she had written: “My choice.” They jeered at the praying marchers.
And somewhere in the middle of these two groups, hesitating on the sidewalk near the entrance, was a mother contemplating abortion.
Father Larry Hubbard, a retired priest, was among the marchers, and he told me, “These mothers who have an appointment at Planned Parenthood on Good Friday are between the Lord on one side and the Devil on the other. The big question is: Who is going to win out?”
In the Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) #50, Blessed John Paul II wrote:
“In the early afternoon of Good Friday, ‘there was darkness over the whole land…while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two’ (Lk 23:44, 45). This is the symbol of a great cosmic disturbance and a massive conflict between the forces of good and evil, between life and death. Today we too find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic conflict between the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’ But the glory of the Cross is not overcome by this darkness; rather, it shines forth ever more radiantly and brightly, and is revealed as the center, meaning and goal of all history and of every human life.”
The glory of the Cross
Good Friday is a day of hope. But the woman who was hesitating on the sidewalk was no doubt feeling conflicted and quite hopeless. And even though the day was bright and sunny, this mother was probably experiencing a sense of darkness.
That is, until she met Father Larry Hubbard and the counselors with Pro-Life Action Ministries.
Brian Gibson, director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, told me that one of his staff members and a sidewalk counselor had approached the woman and laid the groundwork. They had given her literature and told her that help was available. This is when Fr. Hubbard came to the mother’s side and shone forth brightly.
“I sensed this mother was at the point of going in to abort her baby. She was such a fine lady, and she told me she didn’t want to have the abortion,” recalled Fr. Hubbard, who is also known as ‘Padre Lorenzo’ in his ministry with the Spanish speaking Catholics. “She was with a man, but he was already inside Planned Parenthood waiting for her. I think he was the one who wanted her to have the abortion, and she was just torn apart.”
Father spent about 10-15 minutes talking with the woman, and eventually encouraged her to bring the man out so that Father could speak with him, too.
The good priest said, “I walked with the vigil-goers for an hour and a half, and prayed for this couple…but she didn’t come back.” Then Father, who was there that day to fill in for another priest, went home with a heavy heart–thinking she had gone forward with the abortion.
But little did he know…
The mother chose life!
About four minutes after Father Hubbard left Planned Parenthood, the mother came out with the man. Charlie Ramsey, a staff member at Pro-Life Action Ministries, said that the couple was very receptive to obtaining help for the unborn child, and was directed toward it.
Brian Gibson said, “Father Hubbard is a gentle soul and he played a vital role is saving this baby. His intervention was by divine appointment!”
How did Father Hubbard discover the big news?
“I called him and left a message saying that the woman he had been speaking to at the Good Friday vigil left the facility. And then I told him that he had saved a baby that day,” Brian Gibson told me.
‘Padre Lorenzo’ got choked up when he talked to me about it. “I never dreamed I’d be able to change someone’s mind. That was my first one-on-one encounter.” Father, who has prayed often in front of abortion facilities, definitely gave that mother something important to ponder on Good Friday–just like Jesus did to the women He passed as He carried the cross: “Daughters, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children” (Lk 23-28). And this is just what this mother did. Father Hubbard said that the presence of the people at the prayer vigil, some carrying the cross, is really beautiful support which encourages mothers to choose to keep their babies. Then he added, “Thanks be to God that mother stuck to her guns and came out of Planned Parenthood–with her baby!”
And thanks be to God Father Larry Hubbard was at the vigil that day. That pre-born child was the eighth baby saved from abortion since that facility opened its doors in December. Brian Gibson and his staff are very excited that another mother was talked out of an abortion this past week, bringing the total to nine.
Father had this to say about the work of Pro-Life Action Ministries: “Brian Gibson is so persevering and his staff and volunteers are just beautiful–they want to save babies!” When I told Father that I thought the mother whose baby he helped to save should name her child ‘Larry’ or ‘Lorenza’ he gave a joyful chuckle.