DISCIPLINE FOR SIDEWALK OUTREACH AND PRAYER (Children Deserve Birth)
Dear friend of the unborn, we welcome you and are delighted to have you join our sidewalk outreach and prayer ministry. Because it is critical that we be united in thought, word, and deed, we ask that you please read the following explanation of our adopted discipline. We ask everyone who desires to participate in our ministry to adopt and adhere to the following discipline in its totality.
- We go to the abortion sites in pure prayer and, by way of "sidewalk counseling"; we offer practical help to the distressed mothers coming there for abortions.
- Our approach is centered on prayer and the conversion of mothers, fathers and abortionists. We go with the mindset of Christ Jesus, with love and with hope to save lives and souls.
- By reaching out with love, prayer and practical assistance, we hope to help parents accept and protect the life they have conceived so that their child may be born and loved and that they will not be harmed by the numerous dangers of abortion and be deprived of a lifetime of love from their child.
- We follow the way of Christ Jesus, using the overwhelming power of love and prayer, not anger or confrontation.
- We believe it is essential that our witness be peaceful, prayerful, and constant. No scorn, abuse or picketing, because scorn and ridicule close off a channel of grace to the very people who need it the most; the mother seeking the abortion and the abortionist who commits it. Therefore we prohibit all forms of demonstration.
- We bring only love and prayers. No judgments, conversations, debates, quarrels, signs, pictures, displays, nor any words or images on our clothing.
- No one is permitted to stand on any portion of the abortion facility's property or block its entrance or the path of anyone, including passersby, on the sidewalk. Driveways must also remain clear.
- We strive to maintain a Christ-like demeanor. A public witness employing true gentleness requires incredible strength. It calls for selfless love and sacrifice. The way of Christ is to use the overwhelming power of love. We must go to those promoting the Culture of Death and let them see in us the face of Christ Jesus. The people who are in darkness must see a light. They must see love, not anger or confrontation. God prizes their souls as highly as each of ours. Christ Jesus shed his blood that they might be saved. No one has ever been won over by abuse and scorn.
- The counselors will address the parents as they make their way to the abortion center. They will offer them information about where to go for free counseling and practical assistance, as well as fetal development, adoption, abortion procedures, risks and side effects, and post-abortion counseling and healing. It is surprising that the mother often has not been given much factual information about what happens in an abortion or about the alternatives to abortion. She probably has never been to a pregnancy help center where she would have learned about her child's biological development in her womb, and been helped to understand the details applicable to the various abortion procedures. If the mother decides to go in to see the abortionist anyway, she will be reminded that we will pray for her and be outside waiting if she, like others before her, changes her mind while she is inside and comes back out again. If she proceeds with the killing of her child, we pray for her conversion and healing.
- We love the unborn children who are brought there that day. These children have been rejected by their parents and are doomed to die. Through our love, prayers and the efforts of the counselors, we hope many mothers will be converted and choose birth for their children. But for those children who will die, we offer the only human love they may ever encounter in their short lives. We recognize them as our brothers and sisters, welcoming them into the human family. We embrace them spiritually. We stand with them when they die. Our loving presence for the children at the hour of their death comforts the Heart of God because they belong to Him.
- We hope for ourselves to become closer to God through experiencing the mystery of his Cross. We deny ourselves comfort and go to experience what Calvary is like. We more clearly realize Christ Jesus' personal love for each one of us, and know the joy of having responded to his call. We offer prayer and penances, and abandon all to God. We see that it is God's power and love which overcomes the evil of abortion and softens the hearts of those who participate. It is the road of relying purely on the power of God’s grace to convert hearts. It is the road of allowing oneself to be a channel of his Grace by one’s presence and witness.
- Whether or not a prayer group accompanies the counselors, a strict discipline of prayer is to be maintained. No unnecessary discussion at all is permitted – with the public, or with one another. It is essential that the women arriving for an abortion see a praying people. The only ones who should speak are the designated counselors. They must be allowed to counsel without interruption. No one should yell out or otherwise interfere with their attempts to effectively communicate with whom they are speaking. Every second is critical and what may sound clear to you will only be a confused noise to the women if several people are attempting to speak out.
- If a prayer group does accompany the counselors, they must be positioned some distance away from the counselors and the facility's entrance and be together in one place as a unit where they will not be a distraction or threat to the anyone's privacy when they are speaking with a counselor. They must be positioned at the side of the walkway to allow pedestrians to freely pass by. They must conduct themselves in a reverent prayerful manner praying in a low tone or silently. They must not call out to anyone nor hold signs or pictures with the possible exception of a single image of Our Lady of Guadalupe among the group.
The prayers provide spiritual and moral support for the counselors and give their personal love to God's infants who will die that day. They carry on a most important spiritual battle. Before a mother is able to physically abort her child, a 'spiritual abortion' must take place within her heart. By the time she arrives at the abortion center, she will have already rejected her child. This 'spiritual abortion' must be overcome by spiritual means before the mother can change her mind about the physical abortion. By their sacrifice and prayer the prayers call upon the grace of God that is needed to reverse the 'spiritual abortion' while at the same time the counselors are working to prevent the physical abortion of the child.
They pray in a spirit of reparation for their own sins, the sin of abortion, and particularly for the deaths that will occur that day. They pray for the women going into the abortion center, for the abortionists and their staff, for the neighboring community, for the legislators, for the religious leaders of the nation, and for all who, through indifference, do nothing to try to stop abortion.
- All participants must resist temptations to talk unnecessarily with one another, respond to remarks or ridicule from bystanders, passersby, or the abortion center's staff, engage in conversation or debate with anyone, and be distracted by surrounding activity.
Our discipline, with the exception of a "life exhibit", is modeled primarily after that of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants. Much of the above explanation has been adapted from Msgr. Philip Reilly’s literature. See Serious Thoughts on Sidewalk Counseling.