Last week on Good Friday, over 100 Catholics congregated inside St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore, Maryland, to pray the Stations of the Cross. This was not an ordinary practice of the devotion.
Under the leadership of Archbishop William Lori, Bishop Dennis Madden, and Bishop Mark Brennan, the crowd of faithful processed through the streets of the city towards an unusual destination: Planned Parenthood.
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After exiting the church, the group stopped about twice every block to publicly pray one of the stations, after which they chanted a hymn to the tune of Stabat Mater. At the head of the procession was a large wooden cross and the three bishops, who took turns leading the stations. Dispersed among the large crowd were several priests, as well as many families with children.
Street spectators who viewed the procession had a variety of reactions. Some, who had likely never seen anything like it before, watched in awe. Others tried to pretend that it wasn’t happening. Still more bowed their heads in respect or made the sign of the cross.
Almost immediately after finishing the last station, the procession halted across the way from the Planned Parenthood building on Howard Street. The bishops then lead the people in reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of the children killed there. With each successive prayer the pro-life voice grew louder, so much so that the initial two clinic “deathscorts” outside were joined by additional Planned Parenthood hirelings from inside.
At the same time, two gentlemen stood holding signs on the same side of the street as the Planned Parenthood. Some of their displays depicted images of unborn children and another presented several variations of the message, “Prayer must be combined with action to stop abortion.” The same men also attempted to dissuade people from entering the building.
After reciting the holy Rosary, those who had gathered processed with the Cross back to the church where Archbishop William Lori gave the final blessing. The public display of devotion was a fitting way to make reparation to God for the national sin of abortion in America.