Crosses For Life Memorial

Thursday, April 15, 2021
CLT, Shop Students & other student volunteers who were available helped to set up the plot, they are, from left: Xavior Galles, Mr. Paul Ahlers, Shop Instructor, Jacob Britt, Jeremy Koenck, Brittany Johnson, Carly Ortmann, and Tori Galles.
(Photo contributed)

St. Mary’s Church and the adjoining school lawn was the site of the first time ever use of the Plymouth County Right To Life (PCRTL) Crosses For Life Memorial. The St. Mary’s Christian Leadership Team sponsored this maiden run of the Cross display. The mission of PCRTL is to pray, educate, act, and respond to put an end to abortion. The PCRTL was organized over forty-five years ago to oppose the many in the political arena who were working to make abortion legal.

Here is a brief account of how abortion became legal in the United States: Before, the 1850’s laws opposing abortion did not protect a newly-conceived infant. Through the work of the then recently formed American Medical Association (AMA), the idea was put forth, for both moral and selfish reasons, that after fertilization, a new human life would take shape if no one interrupted its development. By 1880, laws had been passed to criminalize abortion with life-of-the-mother exceptions. With the advances in science and medicine in the 1930’s and 40’s, it was hard for doctors to justify taking the life of an infant through abortion. But In 1959, the American Law Institute (ALI) drafted a statement that widened the reasons women should be able to obtain an abortion. In the 1960’s, states from coast to coast were passing laws that put less restrictions on abortions. Both the feminist movement and the population control movement began demanding that all restrictions be lifted and abortion decriminalized. Those sticking up for the Right to Life quoted the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as evidence that a baby in the womb had the right to life. Those who promoted abortion said the constitution upholds the right to choose. Law suits against states laws restricting abortion ensued, and in 1973, Roe vs. Wade was taken to the Supreme Court. The court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade was that the right to privacy protected a woman’s right to choose abortion and rejected the claim that a newly conceived baby had rights. Furthermore, the court made clear, according to their interpretation of the Constitution, that the term “person” applied only after birth. The prochoice and pro-abortion issue became even more polarized. Many have called the court’s decision immoral. Should a man-made law override God’s law? What about all the places in the Bible that refer to life in the womb? What about all the scientific advances that allow us to see a live baby’s activity in the womb? The court decision made most state laws concerning restricting abortions invalid. States have been allowed to put their own restrictions on abortions in the years since, with the stipulation that they do not in the end impair a women’s right to choose abortion.

The PCRTL, like other prolife groups, believe that one of the primary tools in changing minds and hearts for those who call themselves prochoice is education. The majority of Americans have no idea how cruel and barbaric an abortion is, nor do they realize the magnitude of lives being taken by abortion. The cross and banner memorial is meant to educate about the incredible number of lives lost to abortions in the United States - an average of 3,643 abortions each day of the year for the last 47 years. It is PCRTL’s response to the feelings of helplessness as progressive agendas encourage and enable the killing of tiny, defenseless infants.

Deacon Rick Roder provided a blessing for the first time use of the display.
(Photo contributed)

When the possibility of the project was brought to the PCRTL group, the response was overwhelmingly positive. The next step was how to do this? The group found a like-minded ally in St. Mary’s Wood Shop instructor, Paul Ahlers. He made a prototype of a cross with the ideas given to him and then suggested improvements. The group went with his improved version, and under his supervision, the shop students at St. Mary’s made the crosses. The RSM Christian Leadership Team (CLT) and the Gehlen CLT/Prolife group both submitted ideas for a banner. RSM’s moderator Kris Schiltz was onboard with an April date for this first time display. Father Bill McCarthy gave permission for the display to go up on the Remsen St. Mary’s church/school lawn for the Divine Mercy weekend. Mr. Ahlers, CLT members, shop students, student volunteers, and members of the PCRTL, put up the display on Friday afternoon, Apr. 9. Mr. Ahlers had mapped out the plot, and he and the students measured and marked the crosses position with a matrix of mason lines, which sped up the process of setup. A blessing by Deacon Roder and a short address by Norine Harvey was scheduled for Saturday morning, Apr. 10.

In her address, Mrs. Harvey spoke of the reason for the White Cross display, highlighting the fact that each one of the 364 crosses represents ten babies. “Imagine ten babies laying by each cross. That is the number of babies killed each day in the U.S. by abortion”, she added. “We as a nation have become passive to the killing of pre-born children,” she said. She also commented on how appropriate it was for RSM to be the host for this first time display, as the school does so much in promoting life. For over fifteen years, students have designed t-shirts, each year with a different pro-life message for the students and community. The senior students also have a Pro-life Teaching Team that makes the RSM students aware of the reality of abortion, as well as taking the message to groups of peers in other communities. She also thanked all the above mentioned people for their part in making the project and the display a reality. Jacob Britt, a CLT member and shop student spoke of how he was involved in the project and what it meant to him. Other members of PCRTL also spoke. Deacon Roder walked around the perimeter of crosses sprinkling the display, as well as those attending the blessing with holy water. The elementary students and teachers had a brief prayer service on Monday morning, Apr. 12, before the display was taken down. It was a short turnaround for the display, as it was set up on the grounds the elementary students play on.

Thanks to all who took pictures and all of those who in many different ways support this project. The PCRTL will loan this display to churches, organizations, etc., to set up in their own communities and win minds and hearts to promote life issues and respect for all life from the womb to the tomb. Call-712-541-8406 for more information. Check out the Plymouth County Right to Life Facebook page for more pictures.

Shop students cutting and packing the crosses.
(Photo contributed)
(Photo contributed)
(Photo contributed)
St. Mary’s Elementary students and teachers gathered for a prayer service at the display on Monday morning, Apr. 12.
(Photo contributed)
An arial view of the St. Mary’s Church block on Sunday, April 11, 2021.
(Photo contributed)