At vespers service, Catholics pray for culture of life


By Celine Klosterman

Isabelle Howard sings during an Evening Prayer for Life service at St. Mary Church in Iowa City Jan. 22.

IOWA CITY — Forty years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion in the United States, nearly 150 people gathered at St. Mary Church on Jan. 22 to rededicate themselves to protecting life.
Bishop Martin Amos presided at a service of vespers, or evening prayer, after which four parishioners in the Diocese of Davenport spoke on their pro-life work. Students from Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City and St. Mary parishioners provided music.
“This human life of ours is our first gift from God — a precious gift we are called to care for and protect,” Bishop Amos noted in his homily.
This evening, he said, Cath­olics rededicate themselves to:
• public information and education on the sanctity of human life
• pastoral care for women with problems related to pregnancy; for all who have been involved in abortion; for those who are disabled, sick, and dying and their families and caregivers; for those who have lost loved ones in violent crimes and for prisoners sentenced to death
• efforts to legally protect unborn children and those vulnerable to pressure to choose assisted suicide, and to providing moral alternatives to abortion and assisted suicide
• prayer and worship to create a culture of life and love.
Much has been accomplished, the bishop continued. The number and rate of abortions declined in the 1990s, and more Americans have identified themselves as pro-life. “Pro-life movements continue to be one of the largest and most effective grassroots movements in the nation,” he said. Services for those facing difficult pregnancies, as well as services for women and men suffering because of abortion, have helped many. More states enacted measures to restrict abortion, and assisted suicide initiatives were defeated in many states.
“Yet the federal law has changed very little…. Much remains to be done.”

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