Dallas, Texas, December 5, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What happens in 24 hours? The earth turns once on its axis. 34,560 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube. The first cellular division happens to a newly conceived baby.
But for three Texan pro-life warriors, 24 hours means a diehard midnight-to-midnight vigil, where they witness to the life of the unborn child at the new late-term abortion facility in Dallas that kills babies through 6 months of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever.
Welcome to the 24-hour pro-life club, not for the faint-of-heart.
LifeSiteNews contacted each of the three pro-life warriors and asked what compelled them to commit to a vigil that some would call extreme. The vigils took place at the Southwestern late-term abortuary in Dallas, a major vigil site for the 40 Days for Life campaign that wrapped up last month.
Braving the cold, intermittent bouts of rain, 53 year-old Minh Tran from Plano, Texas made his 24-hour vigil on October 8th, starting at 12 am. He says he looked at the vigil as an opportunity to profess his faith, to pray for an end of abortion, and to join the thousands of pro-lifers countrywide who witness to life. To Tran, it “just seemed like the right thing to do.”
In the time that it takes the earth to turn once on its axis, Tran lived his faith out loud, praying for an end to the slaughter of innocent human life. “Life is one of the greatest gifts that GOD has given to each one of us,” he said, adding that to deny anyone from this gift is “unthinkable.”
At one point during the night, Tran’s prayer took the form of exchanging life stories with people who had stopped by to chat for a moment. He said he was “very happy” that some of his friends responded to his plea to join him in witnessing for life. At one point, two abortion proponents taunted him and his group. But the rain got the better of them, and they left the pro-life diehards to once again pray undisturbed.
“The participation of all these people, regardless of their race, age, belief, who all came for a common and worthy cause, inspired me tremendously and made me wanted to do even more for life,” said Tran.
Another member of the 24-hour club, a 62-year-old man from Garland, Texas, who wished to remain anonymous, this year pulled his fourth consecutive 24-hour prayer vigil. He said he owed the “Holy Innocents” his time for what he had “done and failed to do.” The man described himself as a convert to Catholicism and to the pro-life cause.
“I stand the watch for those who cannot stand it for themselves. I owe them. We all owe them. I just owe them a little more,” he said.
In the time that it takes 34,560 hours of video to be uploaded on YouTube, the Garland native worked towards paying off his debt to the little ones. He prayed with what he called his “primary culture-war weapons of choice”: the Catholic prayers of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. He discussed pro-life issues with people who took the time to inquire about his vigil. And he made sure that those who came to witness alongside him signed the roster and the declaration to witness peacefully.
The thought crossed the witness’s mind at one point that his 24-hour vigil, which began on Monday October 10th at 12 am., took place outside a clinic that ended the lives of some babies who were just 24 weeks old. “You see,” he said, “that clinic performs abortions up to 6 months of pregnancy.”
Richie Colonna made his 24-hour vigil on October 29th, starting at 4 pm. The 48 year-old from Denison, Texas said that he was once a “male victim” who had “no say” in the matter of an abortion. Colonna, a 3rd Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus, is writing a book for men who have been injured by abortion. He says that men harmed by abortion need to know that they are not “alone” in their struggle.
In the time that it takes the first cellular division to happen for a newly conceived baby, Colonna did his part to make a “difference in the lives of other men” so that they might have a say in “making the right decision in keeping their child.”
“I love a challenge, especially for such a worthy cause,” he said.
During his vigil, Colonna prayed the Rosary. He watched over those who witnessed with him, so that they would be safe from passersby. At one point, he bought coffee and hot chocolate for a few women who had stayed with him for more than five hours. He answered questions put to him by a young lady who told him she was gathering research for a school paper. He learned later that she worked for the late-term abortion facility.
Colonna felt that he owed the time of witness to his wife who made a choice in favor of life a long time ago. That ‘choice’ is now a man, Colonna’s stepson. The day after Colonna signed up for the vigil, he learned from his stepson that he would be a grandfather for the first time. During the vigil, he says he carried his wife, his stepson, and his new grandchild in his heart, and offered to God his hurtful experience from abortion.
This year, 40 Days for Life Dallas set new records in their campaign that ran from September 28th through November 6th. The fall campaign saw 6,000 people take to the sidewalks in peaceful prayerful witness to the unborn and to those who are affected by abortion. At the Southwestern late-term abortion centre, the site of 24-hour witness-to-life club, a confirmed 23 abortion-bound women chose life for their children. Peaceful and prayerful witness saved an additional 92 lives at 4 other Dallas abortion centres.
A spokesperson for 40 Days for Life Dallas said that throughout the entire campaign, the “power of prayer was felt.”
In the words of the Nameless Witness: “we owe the Holy Innocents of our time…We all owe them.”