Chicago area churches hold Prayer Vigil for Life
January 23, 2012 marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that removed many state and federal restrictions on abortion.
Every year, thousands gather in the District of Columbia, the nation’s capitol in Washington, DC for the annual March for Life. It’s been deemed the largest and longest-running peaceful human rights demonstration for the unborn, with more than 100,000 in attendance.
As marchers gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life, pro-life marches and commemorations around the country have already taken place in solidarity with the main event. Many were held on Saturday and a few Sunday, while others took place the week before.
The Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago sponsored and hosted the 4th Annual Prayer Vigil for Life on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Westchester, IL with His Grace Bishop Demetrios, a chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago delivering a key-note address, titled “Executing Death”.
Clergy and parishioners of almost very Orthodox parish in Chicago Metropolitan area attended the Prayer Vigil. Representing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA were His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, accompanied by Archimadrite Pankratiy of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha and Deacon John Charest of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL, and Subdeacon Vasyl Pasakas of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary.
The prayers were unspeakably beautiful, in large part due to the parish Chorus, who lead the chanting of a number of Psalms and singing responses in all of the languages of the various Orthodox jurisdiction of Chicago metropolitan area. His Grace Bishop Daniel delivered a prayer during the Vigil, stating: “...Seeking to fulfill Your teaching o Lord, we as Your followers, turn to You in fervent prayer on this “Sanctity of Life Sunday”. O God, Who knows each of us from our mother’s womb, protect the fragile lives of our unborn little brothers and sisters, granting blessed repose to those whose tiny lives were terminated, as well as repentance and forgiveness to those who have participated in their termination… O Life-Giving Christ, the Prince of peace, through the intercession of our Holy Mother, the Birth-Giver of God and all he Saints, grant us and all people the will to treat life as sacred. By protecting the Sanctity of Life, may we ever more glorify You, its Source – together with your eternal Father and Your all-Holy Good and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.”
Following the Vigil, His Grace Bishop Demetrios reflected upon the historical and moral complications of pregnancy and abortion as well as Capital Punishment and the evil that such actions take against the creation of God. “The founders of our nation understood that religion and morality are essential to the survival of a freedom-loving society. John Adams expressed this conviction, stating: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
During the coffee hour, sponsored by the Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox parish community, Bishop Daniel reflected that "...Orthodox Christians must not shrink from the obligation to assert the values and principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being…"
In conclusion, the representatives of Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago shared long-awaited news with those in attendance about the opening of Martha and Mary Hospitality House in Chicago Metropolitan area, helping young women through pregnancy and offering a child for adoption.