SEWARD (SNR) - Every Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock, a small group of people led by college student Mary Masur gather at St. Vincent DePaul Church in Seward to pray for the unborn.
Miss Masur, who grew up attending St. Mary Parish in David City and graduated from Aquinas High School, was inspired to start this holy hour for the unborn after she started studying graphic design at Concordia University in Seward.
"There aren’t a lot of pro-life activities here," she said, speaking of the environment at school.
Since she was accustomed to a lot more opportunities at high school, she felt that something was missing.
"At Aquinas, it was always stressed how easy it is to save the lives of so many children," she said. "It’s really sunk in for me how horrible abortion is."
Since Miss Masur was around 10 years old, her father has led a holy hour for the unborn at their home parish in David City on Saturday mornings at 7. Miss Masur started toying with the idea of starting a similar group for Concordia students.
She made a couple minor adjustments. Knowing that college students probably wouldn’t attend a 7 a.m. event, she chose Sunday afternoons as the most viable time. Then, since Concordia is a Lutheran campus, she sought out the pastor of St. Vincent DePaul Parish, Father Randall Langhorst.
"He was really helpful," Miss Masur said.
People of the parish have also been supportive. Some regularly attend the holy hour and join the college students in prayer.
Miss Masur follows almost the same pattern that her dad established in David City. The hour begins with a prayer her father wrote to their guardian angels, asking them to attend to women planning on abortion and people who work at abortion facilities.
"The idea came from Padre Pio," Miss Masur explained. Padre Pio believed in sending his own guardian angel to the aid of others.
Next, the group sings the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which takes around 20 minutes. The next 20 minutes are spent in silence, and each person uses that time to pray, meditate on the issue of abortion, read related books or articles, and so on.
The final 20 minutes are spent praying the Rosary with extra mediations for the unborn, made available by Priests for Life. The group closes with the Angel of God prayer – a way to ‘call back’ their guardian angels to their sides.
Miss Masur makes it a point to stay up to date on the abortion issue. She reads updates on the pro-life movement, visits websites, and receives e-mail updates from prolife groups.
"My dad’s my biggest resource, to be honest," Miss Masur said. "He gets information from the Right to Life group and Ron Zimmer [Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, the outreach group that volunteers at Lincoln’s abortion mill]."
The number of people attending the holy hour for the unborn at St. Vincent de Paul Parish is slowly growing, between parishioners and a handful of college students.
Miss Masur has reached out to her peers through posters and an article in the campus paper, but she wonders if the activity might seem a bit "Catholic-centered" for the primarily Lutheran student body.
"It’s hard to find the Catholics here," she admitted.
The Catholic students have their own Facebook page (Catholics at Concordia), which numbers around 40 students at this writing. Miss Masur is hopeful that more students and more parishioners will make time to attend the holy hour.
She is considering reaching out to her friends to inspire them to take up the pro-life cause, using the 30-minute production "180." In this film, Ray Comfort of Living Waters Ministry challenges people to consider the implications of abortion. Some people actually change their minds during the course of the movie.
After seeing the film, Miss Masur was even more inspired, because it proves that people are willing to change their minds when faced with the facts.
In addition to her concern for the unborn, Miss Masur expressed sorrow for women victimized by abortion.
"They weren’t committed to doing wrong; they just had no other solution," she sympathized.
Everyone is welcome to join the holy hour for the Unborn every Sunday during the school year, beginning at 3 p.m. at St. Vincent DePaul Parish.
"The unborn can’t speak for themselves," Miss Masur stressed. "It’s on us to let the world know that abortion is wrong."