By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer
The Catholic Church is committed to the pro-life cause of preventing the loss of life through abortion.
Many who are pro-abortion criticize the Church another pro-lifers as caring only for the unborn child and not for the woman or the child once he or she is born.
But the Church’s commitment extends far beyond the womb, to help babies and children in their young lives. And in the Diocese of Allentown, there are an array of organizations to do just that.
Pro-lifers in some of those organizations gathered July 29, 2018 to celebrate lives in a special way by throwing a Love Saves Lives Baby Shower for several women who chose not to abort their babies through the prayerful efforts of these pro-life groups who pray outside of Planned Parenthood.
This shower, as was a similar one held Oct. 22, 2016, was held at the Quakertown home of Christopher and Maggie Sweet, regional coordinator of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in the Lehigh Valley.
Maggie Sweet and her husband have two parishes. They spend time at Holy Infancy, Bethlehem, where her parents are parishioners, and their local parish, St. Agnes, Quakertown, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The pro-life campaigns that gave the shower were Lehigh Valley Pro-Life Futures, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, Silent No More Awareness Campaign in the Lehigh Valley, 40 Days for Life, Rachel’s Vineyard and Pennsylvanians for Human Life.
“This is love put into action, which demonstrates the care for women who are in a vulnerable situation,” said Hartigan.
“Praise God. His graces continue to pour out upon the Lehigh Valley’s Gospel of Life campaigns,” said Sweet.
Sweet said early in 2018, Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, discussed how the 45th annual March for Life’s theme, “Love Saves Lives,” embodies the mission of the pro-life movement.
“Choosing life is not always easy, but it is the loving, empowering and self-sacrificial option. Love is universally attractive because it is directed toward others. Love is what we all strive for because deep-down we are all drawn to give of ourselves in this way. Love saves lives in countless ways,” said Mancini.
“And so it has,” Sweet said. “With prayers, daily Mass and frequent visitation to the Eucharist, we had four women turn away from Planned Parenthood in Allentown, choosing life.
“This past spring the 40 Days for Life campaign united together elevating this year’s theme by bringing it to the source and summit where love truly begins …in the Holy Eucharist.
“It’s not so much that four babies were saved, it’s more like ‘wow,’ how God’s presence was truly felt even among the unbelievers – from abortion-minded women, asking us to remove ourselves from their sight – to choosing life within minutes of counseling, and wondering how this type of love could exist.”
Speaking of the July 29 baby shower, Sweet said the pro-life groups came together to “shower these families with a love they will never forget … a baby shower.”
“This year we began with a live performance from the beautiful Gilbert family, “Sing for America,” opening with the Star Spangled Banner as children waved their flags,” Sweet said.
In addition to snow cones, there were plenty of games and activities for all the children, such as the cow milking contest, face painting, arts and crafts, and swimming. Sweet said several of these children even volunteered their time as lifeguards.
Sweet said several vendors who have found a way to work from home and still evangelize the Gospel of Life were invited, such as Theresa Shemanski (coordinator of 40 Days for Life in the LV/Berkshire Hathaways), Anne Foose (pro-life speaker, Young Living Oils) and Sal Rizzo (Pennsylvanians for Human Life).
Each of the mothers received brand new cribs, car seats, high chairs, play pens, strollers, baby clothes and enough diapers to last an entire year. “This year we even had a donation room full of clothing for each of the families,” Sweet said.
“It’s been several years these campaigns have been sharing this type of love for mothers who choose life. In each event they discover ideas networking with other campaigns in counties like Bucks, Montgomery and Berks.”
“Not only were families restored, but one post-abortive mother in attendance signed up for hope and healing with Rachel’s Vineyard,” Sweet said. “Also in attendance were previous Planned Parenthood workers who have also joined our campaign as their newfound ‘best friends.’
“A profound thank you to our dear Lord and the entire community for your generosity and support.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” Sweet said, quoting Matthew 7:7-8.