Fort Myers | For the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary several pro-life activities took place.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane led the praying of the rosary at a prayer vigil in Fort Myers and that day many Parishes held National Night of Prayer for Life observances. Bishop Dewane led everyone in the reciting of the rosary, with Ashley La Mar providing the descriptions of each Joyful Mystery. Following the rosary, the Bishop thanked everyone for participating in the prayer vigil.
“We are called to take time in the Advent season to prepare ourselves for Christmas and the coming of Our Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “You have certainly given a demonstration of that today. Keep up the good work. God bless you.”
More than 150 people participated in a prayerful procession and prayed the rosary in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Fort Myers, found at the intersection of College Parkway and Winkler Road.
Students from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers carried a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the procession from a nearby parking lot to the shopping plaza where the abortion facility is located. Members of the Knights of Columbus Color Corps escorted the students and the statue.
Paul Muri, who helped organize the procession and prayer vigil, said it is important to gather in honor of Our Lady on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary while seeking to create a culture of life. The solemnity pertains to the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, wherein Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin by God’s grace in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.
The annual National Night of Prayer for Life also took place on the solemnity, Dec. 8. At several parishes within the Diocese of Venice, the faithful joined in prayer with Catholics throughout the country in an effort to bring the world back to Christ and to bring about an end to abortion so as to restore life, liberty, faith and peace.
San Pedro Parish in North Port, St. Agnes Parish in Naples, and San Marco Parish in Marco Island participated in the entire vigil. The evening spanned the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8 beginning at 9 p.m., and continued into the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s first apparition to St. Juan Diego at 1 a.m. Dec. 9. It was in 1531, that Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn, first appeared to St. Juan Diego and shared her message of life.
Prayer services typically consisted of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the rosary and other vocal prayers, intercessions, silent meditation and Benediction. Prayers were offered to end abortion and all offenses against the dignity of the human person, to make reparation for these sins and for the healing of those who are suffering.
The prayer vigil was designed to unite the two days which pronounce this important message of life from Our Lady. The Hour of Unity was at midnight in Florida. The overriding intent of the evening was to have the faithful across the United States be joined in prayer to end abortion as well as to restore God’s blessings of life and religious liberty in America.
Other Parishes held prayer services throughout Dec. 8, typically following the Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. At St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres, Pastor Father Dennis Cooney stressed the importance to continue to pray for a culture of life. Members of the Youth Group led the praying of the rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy.