OLPS confirmation group organizes more than 250 students to Stand for Life
When the confirmation students from Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in Alexandria were told they had to do a small group service project, five of those students formed a small group and began thinking.
Kelly Robichaux, Christian Gaspar De Alba, Midori Mickel, Leah Aldridge, and Chase Bertrand wanted to do “something real” for their project. They wanted to make a difference.
They thought of different things, such as feeding the poor and giving gout items to needy people. Then they decided to do something for those who are totally helpless – the unborn.
The idea for “Operation Stand for Life” was born.
After talking to Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, and hearing his recommendations, the event changed to a Life Chain, to be held on a busy thoroughfare, where people could see the witness of the praying people for the unborn and elderly victims of death.
“We wanted everyone to come – every Christian, every member of every church, to come out and pray together for life,” said Christian Gaspar de Alba, one of the group members.
They began talking to everyone, handing out flyers, bringing signs to businesses to put up in windows, and contacting pastors through email, phone, and fax. They arranged to be guests on KALB-TV’s morning show, Jambalaya, and promoted it to youth groups. The group talked the event up for five weeks.
On Saturday, March 29, the day of the event had finally arrived. The weather was cool and unpredictably cloudy. Workers – mostly teenagers – began the day with Mass at 8:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church then began working to set up the stage, the sound system and everything for the Stand for Life.
Tables were loaded and transported, tent-canopies were erected, and Gatorades were iced-down as an eager group of teens awaited the unknown turnout for the Stand for Life at Vilar and Elliott’s Law office at 3709 Masonic Drive, next door to Julia’s Mexican Restaurant at the Traffic Circle.
By noon the sky cleared and the temperature warmed. It was truly the most beautiful day so far in Alexandria, in 2014!
At 12:30 p.m., people began arriving. Each person signed in, with his or her name and church membership. They received a t-shirt and either made a sign or picked one out.
Christian music filled the air and people visited each other and milled around the pro-life booths, which were handing out materials and information.
At 1:00 p.m., Leah Aldridge, one of the group members and emcee of the event, called everyone to gather in the parking lot to begin the talks.
Father Dan O’Connor, OLPS pastor, welcomed and thanked everyone for coming. Pastor Greg Texada of The Word Christian Church opened with a prayer. Leah thanked our sponors, Christus St. Francis Cabrini Hospital, Simpson Security, Hixson Autoplex, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Vilar and Elliott Law Office, Lily of the Valley, and Bayou T-shirts. (These sponsors donated 265 shirts that were given to everyone that came to the event. All shirts were given out.)
Kelly Robichaux, another group member, introduced Ryan Verrett, director of the Center for Medical Ethics; Benjamin Clapper, from the Louisiana Right to Life; and three women from Lake Charles and the Silent-no-More Organization, who gave testimonies about how abortions affected their lives.
Lastly, Chase Bernard, another group member, gave directions about how to form the chain, where to stand, how to act, and explained that this was a time of prayer, silent reflection for those lives lost to abortion and to pray for our country and the many lives hurt from abortion.
“It was beautiful to see and experience everyone praying together in silence (except for the Bible verses being read every 10 minutes),” said Sandra West, an OLPS volunteer youth minister. “It was truly a coming together of many faiths.”
Adults and young people from 15 churches participated in the event including Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church, Alexandria; St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria; Holy Cross Catholic Church in Natchitoches; St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, and Christ the King Catholic Church in Simmesport; Oak Grove Baptist Church in Hineston; Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, and Philadelphia Baptist Church; The Word Christian Center, Word of Grace Ministries, Grace Christian, Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Church of God of Prophecy, Lone Pine Assembly of God, and the Pentecostals of Alexandria.
At the end of the hour-long Stand for Life, Paul Hood, OLPS youth minister, led the closing prayer followed by refreshments provided by the OLPS Catholic Daughters and the Knights of Columbus.