‘This is Calvary’: Phoenix bishop leads Good Friday prayer outside Planned Parenthood abortion center
PHOENIX, AZ, April 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted led more than 150 pro-life Catholics on Good Friday in praying the rosary at a local abortion facility.
The Good Friday Rosary for Life was offered for the unborn in union with Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, according to the Facebook event page established by the Diocese of Phoenix.
At the event, the bishop compared the slaughter of unborn children by abortion with the crucifixion of Christ.
“This is Calvary — this is where the innocent is unjustly killed just as Jesus was on Calvary,” Bishop Olmsted said, according to a report from the Catholic Sun.
The bishop has led the rosary at an abortion site on Good Friday every year since his 2003 appointment in the Phoenix diocese. This year the Good Friday rosary was prayed at the Glendale Planned Parenthood.
At the event Bishop Olmsted stressed the importance of solidarity with the vulnerable unborn.
“We need to be standing in communion with them and also be here for their mothers and for others,” he said. “We can assure them that there’s another way and there’s certainly a much better choice they could make.”
The Glendale Planned Parenthood performs abortions up to 24 weeks, one week shy of what’s considered medically viable. Local 40 Days for Life coordinator Anita Usher told the Catholic Sun she’s seen mothers who are visibly pregnant going into the abortion facility.
Women continued to enter the facility during the Good Friday rosary led by Bishop Olmsted.
“Come talk to me,” a prayer participant called to one of them. “Don’t do this. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life. We can help you. I’ll adopt your baby.”
“This is our annual tradition. We’re always here on Good Friday and Christmas Eve and we want to stand for life,” stated Luisa Lukaszewski, a mother of seven. “There are babies who are killed here every day and there are moms and doctors that don’t realize the gift that they are getting rid of and throwing away.”
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“The bishop’s right,” said longtime pro-life advocate Ellen Sweeney. “This is our current Calvary. If we call ourselves Christians, this is where we need to be.”
Bishop Olmsted was not the only member of the Catholic clergy witnessing to life along with the faithful in Phoenix on Good Friday. Several seminarians and priests joined him.
Father Joseph Terra, FSSP, was one of two priests violently assaulted in June 2014 in a botched robbery at their Phoenix-area parish of Mater Misericordiae. He suffered serious injuries from being beaten that day, and his fellow priest, Father Kenneth Walker, FSSP, just 28 years old and having just celebrated his second anniversary of ordination, died from gunshot wounds in the attack.
The two priests were known for their conviction to defense of life, including public prayer at abortion sites.
“Every time that I went to pray during the 40 Days for Life at the abortion places, [Father Walker] was there with Father Terra,” Bishop Olmsted said at the time of the attack. “They are faithful priests, joyfully serving their people.”
Father Terra has continued to perform public prayer for life since the attack and Father Walker’s death, with this year as no exception.
“We do this every year,” Father Terra said regarding the Good Friday rosary. “I spend a lot of time out here every week. When the most innocent of all lives is taken, why not?”