St. Ambrose Catholic Church comes together in prayer for all


An empty wooden cradle and a lit candle stood in the center of a large group of people in the St. Ambrose Catholic School gymnasium Wednesday night.

It was a powerful visual reminder of unborn babies who are never given the chance to live.

With a unique prayer event, the local Catholic community marked the 47th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case that made abortion legal.

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More than 150 men, women and children attended the first local March 4 Life Prayer Walk led by the St. Ambrose youth ministry.

But their voices weren’t just united to end abortion. The event was to pray for all of those who suffer injustices in their lives, said Christina Smith, the church’s coordinator of religious education.

“When we say pro-life, it’s from conception to natural death,” she said.

The walk included stops at seven stations set up in the gym, fellowship hall and church where people prayed together for those who have experienced violence, hatred and oppression. Each station had a visual prop to reflect upon, and high school students read accompanying verses from the Bible.

Besides unborn babies, the group prayed for people in the world of different faiths and origins who are treated unjustly or persecuted. They prayed for the elderly and disabled who are forgotten when they grow old and for those guilty of crime who are sentenced to death.

Prayers were said for men, women and children killed by war, those who go homeless and hungry and for people who have been physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

Father Dan Staublin said it is tradition for the Catholic church to respect all life from beginning to its natural end.

“Yes, we pray for an end to abortion,” he said. “Because of the anniversary, we decided to do this March 4 Life to pray for dignity of all human life.”

The walk also coincides with the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., which was Friday. Several students from Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in that event.

Staublin said he got the idea for the walk from his previous parish where they conducted a similar event with stations for prayer.

But it was Smith and others who came up with the idea for the different visual symbols, including the crib, a globe, a wheelchair, handcuffs, a picture of children from a third world country, a shopping cart with a sleeping bag in it and a broken mirror.

“I think it’s powerful,” Staublin said of the impact of those items combined with the prayers and bible readings.

Seeing the shopping cart left a lasting impression on both Staublin and several of the youth because it is an issue they have witnessed locally.

St. Ambrose has a strong partnership with the local food pantry Community Provisions of Jackson County Inc. and with the Jackson County Cold Night Out Shelter. The church provides donations and volunteers to both organizations.

Staublin said he was impressed by the turnout for the walk. The youth ministry averages about 100 students each Wednesday.

The event was a way to get students out of their comfort zones, Smith said.

“It was an opportunity to look outside of themselves and to think of other people and pray for others that maybe they haven’t thought of,” she said.

Peyton Levine, a senior at Seymour High School, said participating in the walk was a good way to express her faith.

She was most impacted by the station with the globe, which represented all of the people of the world of different backgrounds and religious faiths.

“If you want to believe in your religion, you shouldn’t be reported,” she said. “No one should be punished for what they believe and what they stand for.”

Ellie Cornn, a junior at SHS, said one of the reflections, “Remember, tomorrow we could find ourselves with nothing,” stood out to her because it made her think about her own life.

“Everything could be gone in an instant,” she said.

Brownstown senior Emily Koch said she connected most with the station representing those who are homeless and hungry.

“It made me realize that I take my life for granted,” she said.

Andrew Levine, a sophomore at SHS, said he also felt moved by the shopping cart and what it stood for.

“Around here, I’ve done a lot of service, and I’ve seen all the people in our community that need help, either with food, clothes or needing a home,” he said.

In between the stations, the group joined their voices in song by singing hymns.

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me,” they sang.

At the end, Staublin offered a final word of prayer.

“As we come together to pray these stations of life, may we continue on our journey embracing, reflecting and celebrating the circle of life,” he said.

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