By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press
Two pro-life billboards were put up on Grafton Street in Worcester this week, thanks to students and religious sisters and brothers at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River.
“Make Worcester Pro-Life Again,” says one at 690 Grafton St.
“Share the Joy of Life,” says the other, located at the Interstate 290, Exit 14 ramp.
Each features a photo of a baby (one in Mom’s arms) and invites viewers to “Join the 40 Days for Life Worcester Prayer Campaign,” getting details from the website www.pro-life.news.
“We always like to present a positive message, something people enjoy looking at, something inspirational,” explained Brother Thomas Augustine Dalton, the school’s principal and one of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who run the school. “Even the opposition couldn’t object to the pictures or the words.”
He said he chose the words. Sister Marie-Bernard Maney, of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, designed it, and Clear Channel, the billboard company, gave them advice on the size of the letters for the website.
“It is expensive, but the students raised the funds,” he said.
Sister Marie-Jean Schildknecht, of the Slaves, said the school administration was looking for a way to get a pro-life message out in public and to get more people involved in the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion. (The Slaves and students join campaign prayer vigils outside the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts building on Pleasant Street, where abortions are performed.)
Sister Marie-Jean coordinates the St. John the Baptist Pro-Life League, which is made up of the school’s high school students. She said that after they returned from the March for Life in Washington, D.C., last month, Brother Thomas Augustine told them about the planned billboards.
There was money for the project left from fundraisers for their pro-life work, she said. She said the main fundraisers are a pancake breakfast, a fall fair and a 5K run.
Bridget Duffy, a senior who is the pro-life league’s president, said she was surprised and excited upon learning about the billboard project. She said it is a great way to spread the message and is a powerful witness.
“You don’t know who goes by that day,” or how many people, she said of those passing the billboards. “It could be that saving grace they need … Maybe that’s the one thing they need to come to the pro-life truth.… You stand up for the truth because it’s right, but it’s very encouraging to see it in other people or in public things like billboards.” This is another proof that things are heading in the right direction with the pro-life cause, she said.
“Throughout the years that I’ve been at the school, it has stood up for life many times,” said Paul Dion, another senior. “I think it’s great that they’re continuing to stand up for life, even though I’m sure they get heat for it from some people. I’m happy and proud to say I’ve gone to a school … as openly pro-life as this school. … I think this is a great way to spend the extra money – lots of people are going to see the billboards.”
John Mooney, another senior, also expressed pride in their school, noting that the students do not just go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“We are fighting the fight in our own state,” he said. He said he and his school are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and he looks forward to seeing the billboards.