OAK HARBOR – In the prayer garden on the hillside behind St. Augustine Church, a pair of angels flank a new memorial to unborn babies.
“We wanted something that was meaningful,” said parishioner Geri Thomas, a member of the Oak Harbor parish’s pro-life committee, which began talking three years ago about creating a memorial to babies who died through abortion.
Construction was completed during the summer and the memorial was dedicated by St. Augustine’s pastor, Father Paul Pluth, on September 12, the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, Thomas said.
Funded with donations from parishioners, the memorial includes a plaque featuring a heart with two tiny footprints in its center and a psalm verse: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.”
“I’m very grateful to the dedication of the people behind it all,” Father Pluth said.
Father Paul Pluth, pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Oak Harbor, dedicates a memorial for unborn children on September 12, the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. Photo: Courtesy Geri Thomas
Formed in 2016, the pro-life committee at St. Augustine is small but mighty, said Thomas, who helped organize the group.
“It was something I always believed,” said Thomas, who has attended the annual March for Life in Olympia the past two years. “This is something I need to fight for.”
The committee has supported the Pregnancy Care Clinic in Oak Harbor, holding a fundraiser in 2017 and a diaper collection event in 2019; another fundraiser is planned in 2021, Thomas said.
In January, around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, the pro-life group brings in a speaker from Students for Life to talk with high school-aged kids in the parish, said Mairgret Smith, pastoral assistant for adult education.
During Respect Life Month in October, St. Augustine parishioners are gathering in the prayer garden to pray the rosary after the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass.
Smith, who also participates in the pro-life committee, said she been involved in pro-life efforts since she was a high school student in Yakima, even before Roe v. Wade.
The Catholic Church’s position on life hasn’t changed, she noted.
“You can’t kill. You just don’t,” Smith said. “We protect life from conception to natural death.”
October is Respect Life Month
Every October is Respect Life Month, when Catholics are called to “understand, value and become engaged with building a culture that cherishes every human life,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities.
Read “Live the Gospel of Life,” a statement on Respect Life Month from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Visit the USCCB’s pro-life website, offering prayers, devotions, educational resources and more.