St. Stephen vigil honors 57 million lost to abortion

  • Written by Michelle Bruno
  • Published in Local
Candlelit crosses, each representing a million babies lost to abortion, line a path at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Renton. Photo: Courtesy St. Stephen the Martyr Parish Candlelit crosses, each representing a million babies lost to abortion, line a path at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Renton. Photo: Courtesy St. Stephen the Martyr Parish

RENTON – For the sixth time, Mary Schofield will join a January procession past blue and pink crosses, each representing a million of the babies lost to abortion in the U.S. since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

“Each year I have been struck by seeing so many crosses,” said Schofield, secretary of the Respect Life Committee at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Renton.

The procession is part of the parish’s prayer vigil on the eve of the annual Washington State March for Life. For the first vigil in 2011, the Respect Life group erected 50 crosses; this year’s vigil will have 57 crosses.

Trying to fathom 57 million abortions “is a devastating loss beyond my comprehension, a loss to humanity that only God can heal,” Schofield said. “Even if each cross represented only one baby who had been deliberately denied his first breath, that number would still overwhelm me with sadness.”

vigil crossesBlue and pink crosses represent the millions of babies lost to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Photo: Courtesy St. Stephen the Martyr Parish

The 40-inch wooden crosses are made by Bernard Wittgens, a member of the Respect Life group and the Knights of Columbus. Painted by the parish’s youth groups, the crosses are pink or blue, colors chosen by the committee “to remind people this is about babies and the unborn,” Schofield said.

The vigil begins with Mass at 6:30 p.m. in the parish chapel. Then Father Ed White, pastor of St. Stephen’s, will lead a candlelit eucharistic procession along the cross-lined path to the parish’s Memory Garden for benediction.

“We represent the babies’ families as we process,” said Louise Scott, one of St. Stephen’s Respect Life founders. The babies “should be here with us, but through no fault of their own, they’re not,” she said. “It’s sad, but it’s a joyful time of representing these children to their Father in heaven.”

After Benediction, the candles will be blown out and the crosses gathered up. Participants will follow Father White back to the chapel, where eucharistic adoration will continue until 4 p.m. on Jan. 19, in support of the March for Life. Parishioners will take some of the pink and blue crosses to the march, scheduled for noon Jan. 19 on the steps of the state Capitol in Olympia.

The vigil on the eve of the March for Life is a moving and prayerful experience for those who participate. It “continues to bring me closer and closer to the Lord, and to the protection of life — unborn life in particular,” Wittgens said.

And, Scott said, the vigil is an opportunity to “give the honor due these babies who have sacrificed their lives.”

vigil walkersA procession to an outdoor garden for Benediction is part of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish’s annual candlelight vigil honoring the unborn. This year’s vigil is Jan. 18. Photo: Courtesy St. Stephen the Martyr Parish

Join the vigil for the unborn

Join the candlelight vigil to remember the unborn at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, 13055 S.E. 192nd St., Renton.

The vigil includes Mass in the parish chapel, followed by a eucharistic procession to the Memory Garden for Benediction. Afterward, eucharistic adoration will continue in the chapel until 4 p.m. the following day.

The vigil is sponsored by the parish’s Respect Life Committee.