Diocesan News

Pius X Students Keep Vigil at Abortion Facility

LINCOLN (SNR) - Every Tuesday, an effort among Lincoln’s Pius X High School called "Block the Walk" is making a difference at the local Planned Parenthood clinic.

Already, two mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies have chosen life for their babies after seeing the faith and faithfulness of high school students praying out in front of the clinic despite blustery conditions.

Block the Walk has really taken off this semester. Well-meaning adults had tried to encourage Pius X students to pray at the clinic earlier in the school year, but with little results.

"Cathy Haden, who prays at Planned Parenthood every Tuesday, called and asked me if we could get students from Pius X to go pray," explained Maria Benes, campus minister.

Mrs. Benes and Principal Tom Korta decided to start encouraging seniors to participate during the students’ extra free period on Tuesdays. It’s a theology class during the rest of the week, but the priests who teach those classes are off on Tuesdays.

Despite their best efforts, however, the idea of going to Planned Parenthood during that time didn’t seem to gain traction with the students.

Meanwhile, senior Brittany Ullman was trying to get up the courage to go to the clinic on her own.

"I prayed there once on a Tuesday last summer," she said. "Once school started in the fall, I felt that I should go to Planned Parenthood during my theology off period."

However, Miss Ullman wanted a companion. Eventually, she convinced her cousin, Sarah Ullman, to go. The two started going weekly, sometimes with one friend or another joining them.

Then their efforts hit a detour when all the seniors had presentations during their theology off-periods for four consecutive weeks. But Miss Ullman rallied, inviting her entire fourth period theology class to start going again. Within two weeks, there were six students carpooling to Planned Parenthood.

In December, Mrs. Benes and Mr. Korta gathered the students who belonged to the Pius X pro-life club and the Fellowship of Christian Teens (FCT), and encouraged more of them to use their theology off-periods to pray at the clinic. Miss Ullman was almost simultaneously inspired to start a Facebook page and name the effort "Block the Walk," drawing inspiration for the name from the Pius X event "Pack the Chap," which encourages students to participate in the campus daily 7:25 a.m. Mass.

Unfortunately, almost everyone was too caught up with studying for finals to respond.

When second semester started, Miss Ullman gave it another shot and set up Block the Walk for Feb. 4, a candlelight vigil on the night before Planned Parenthood performed abortions. She ended up inviting the entire senior class.

That Monday evening, Miss Ullman headed to the Planned Parenthood clinic to pray.

"I was just… speechless," she recounted. "I couldn’t believe how many people responded!"

Now seniors are regularly using their theology off-periods to go pray at Planned Parenthood. Some also go after school. The weather hasn’t been the greatest – in fact, it’s been downright nasty at times – but the students remain faithful. And more have gotten involved.

Fellow senior Paige Harrison suggested including the underclassmen, who can go during their own free periods with parents’ permission. Alexa Birkel thought of the weekly Monday night candle vigils, and Amanda Hilger started bringing her ukulele along to incorporate songs into the vigil. Junior Kayla Brion encouraged students to go after school on Tuesdays.

But it is the two lives saved (so far) that really inspire the students.

On a recent Tuesday, Miss Birkel and six other seniors were praying the Rosary at the clinic during seventh period, despite an intimidating bodyguard who spoke rudely to them.

During the third decade, they saw a young woman leave the clinic and stretch her arms to the sky. The woman got into her car and started to leave, but sat in the clinic driveway for a time before rolling down her window.

"We were expecting her to yell at us like some other girls did about 20 minutes earlier," said Miss Birkel "Instead, she said ‘Jesus loves you. I couldn’t do it, you are doing a great thing.’

This is an experience that has helped all the students realize that they are making a real difference.

Mrs. Benes is thrilled to see the success of yet another spiritual endeavor at Pius X.

"The weekly prayer vigils at Planned Parenthood are one reflection of a greater spiritual revolution that is going on at Pius X right now," Mrs. Benes said.

She mentioned several other programs, including Pack the Chap, overnight Eucharistic Adoration, a Eucharistic procession and Mass with Bishop James Conley, and St. Valentine’s Day letters written anonymously by girls and sent to every boy in the school, encouraging then to pursue chastity, chivalry and Christian masculinity. And that’s just the highlights.

"The Holy Spirit has been at work in so many ways this year!" Mrs. Benes stated.

 She continued, "What strikes me about all this most is that I can see our students really taking ownership of their faith, as they are choosing to do many of these things… They go to Planned Parenthood to pray because they want to save lives and pray for all those hurt by abortion."

To acquire an invitation to Miss Ullman’s Facebook group, search for "Block Walk" (no "the") and send your request.

Southern Nebraska Register:

Ver noticias y columnas en español  
Southern Nebraska Register | 3700 Sheridan Blvd Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100 | 402-488-0090 | Email Site Map | Clergy Resources

Site by Solutio