By JOEY REISTROFFER
SPARTANBURG — Our Risen Savior Parish couldn’t let a quarter century of abortion go by without doing something about it.
So they held an all-night vigil on the 25th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, the Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion in the United States. The vigil began at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 and went straight through to 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.
They prayed for the souls of the unborn, whose lives had been cut short too soon, and they prayed for the consciences of the mothers and fathers who decided to abort their babies.
They prayed for the legislators and leaders of this nation, and they prayed for this country.
Father Gene Leonard, pastor at Our Risen Savior, said it was the people who spearheaded the idea of the all-night prayer vigil. “They wanted to do it,” he said, saying their efforts are important in the fight to secure the right to life for all of God’s children.
“There have been gains, but there also have been losses,” he said. “If the people hadn’t been involved, we would have euthanasia and a lot less respect for life than we do now…. Because of their efforts, we haven’t degenerated as far down the slope as we could have.”
Father Leonard said he read a recent newspaper poll showing that abortion is not a high priority concern with Americans. “It boggles my mind,” he said. “That is really, really sad.”
And that is why parishioners at Our Risen Savior prayed through the night.
On Jan. 22, they held a special service, with the Knights of Columbus leading a procession into the church. It featured the young group singing in the choir, and was highlighted by three testimonials to the preciousness of life. It also included songs by six members of the Rettew family. The Rettews have 21 children — birth children and adopted.
“They brought tears to my eyes,” said one attendee at the service. Then, in closing, the congregation marched out to the entrance of the church and laid red roses on little white crosses that had been planted on the grounds and symbolized America’s loss.