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Pro-life prayers make a difference


Offering a prayerful witness, a group of people gathers outside the Planned Parenthood offices in West Seneca. Members of the group meet three times a week to pray to rosary in hopes of preventing abortions. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

Outside the Planned Parenthood offices in West Seneca, a dozen and a half people stretch out holding signs saying, “Take my hand, not my life” and “Here to help, not to judge.” They are a regular fixture three days a week, this group of local citizens quietly praying the rosary with the faith that the prayers will lead women facing difficult pregnancies to choose life.

This contrasts greatly with what happens inside the clinic. That particular location conducts surgical abortions and offers the Morning-After Pill, which their own website says may cause pain and regret.

The prayerful witnesses cannot approach anyone entering the clinic. They don’t hand out flyers on adoption or resources by the diocesan Pro-Life office. They must stay on the public grass between Wimbledon Plaza and Center Road. They can’t even park in the lot.

They don’t call themselves protesters. Although they had signs on this particular day, they say that is a rarity. They’re there just to pray.

“We’re not here for any confrontation. We’re here to let these girls know that we are praying for them. If we could get in touch with them to let them know that there is another option,” said Patrick Haley of Queen of Heaven Parish in West Seneca. “I’m here because these girls who are going in there, need to know there is another option for them, that they don’t need to kill these babies. There are plenty of American couples out there who want to adopt babies.”

On the street, one passerby gives a thumbs up, another called them “what’s wrong with the world,” while driving with both hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. The group say the majority of responses are positive.

They have seen positive results from their efforts. Charlene Huegel, Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Orchard Park, said that a few weeks ago, a woman came when the prayer group was not outside. “But this place is covered by prayer. Even though we were not physically here, He hears our prayers. She no sooner walked in, she realized she couldn’t do this. She was overcome by the presence of God is what I heard the person who shared it with me say.”

Dolly Verdi, former director of 40 Days for Life in Buffalo, is a longtime advocate for life. She hopes to make abortion “unthinkable.”

“I don’t care if it’s legal. It doesn’t make any difference,” she said. “The law is not going to force people to come here to kill their babies. We need to get to their hearts and souls, so that they understand that it should be unthinkable. That’s why we’re here. We’re a witness for life.”

Although the rosary is part of the Catholic tradition, anyone is welcome to join and pray with the group.


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