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Archbishop leads St. Cecilia march to Planned Parenthood

'40 Days of Life' vigil will continue through Lent season


by: TIMES PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Archbishop Alexander K. Sample speaks during a '40 Days For Life' kickoff campaign in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Beaverton.A march to the Beaverton Planned Parenthood office Saturday by members of St. Cecilia Catholic Church attracted between 150 to 200 participants as part of a kickoff that will include a 40-day Lenten vigil at the facility.

Archbishop Alexander Sample led the several-block procession from St. Cecilia to Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette’s Beaverton site on First Street following Mass, according to Marie Barzen, organizer of the local “40 Days for Life” campaign.

“There wasn’t a seat available,” Barzen said of the estimated 450 people who attended the 8 a.m. Mass. “It was packed.”by: TIMES PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Archbishop Alexander K. Sample leads Catholics to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Beaverton after an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Cecilia Catholic Church.

Barzen, a St. Cecilia parishioner, said the archbishop graciously thanked those who invited him before delivering his message.

“He said the most critical issue Catholics today face is bringing an end to abortion in our country (and) bringing awareness that we need to be compassionate to (those with) unplanned pregnancies,” said Barzen.

According to the website for “40 Days for Life,” which Barzen said began in Texas seven years ago, the goal of the movement “is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion.”

She said although St. Cecilia’s Respect for Life Committee goes out to the Beaverton facility every Saturday to pray the Rosary, to her knowledge the kickoff march marked the largest number of parishioners to gather for such an event.

In the past, Barzen said one woman at Beaverton Planned Parenthood was talked out of getting a prescription for Mifepristone, a medication that blocks the action of the hormone progesterone to cause abortion, once she discovered St. Cecilia would pay her rent during her pregnancy.

According to its website, the Beaverton Planned Parenthood offers a medical abortion pill and the morning after pill.

Barzen said St. Cecilia parishioners attending the weekly gatherings at the Beaverton Planned Parenthood in the past always say “good morning” to the clinic employees, who have been “very nice to us.”

A phone call and email for comment about the march to a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette were not immediately returned.by: TIMES PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - A lone man shares his opposing view to a group of Catholics who gathered in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic.

Barzen said plans now are to host vigils daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Beaverton Planned Parenthood from Ash Wednesday (March 5) through Palm Sunday, April 13.

Barzen said everyone who participates in the vigil is asked to sign a “peace pledge,” commiting them to attend with a peaceful attitude, not react negatively to anyone who verbally abuses them and remain apolitical. It also asks participants to provide information about resources such as the Washington County Health Clinic or Pregnancy Resource Center.

Overall, Barzen said she was impressed with Saturday’s turnout.

“I was very pleased because this was early in the morning — it was early and cold,” she said.by: TIMES PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - A large group of Catholics gathered on both sides of Southwest First Street in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Beaverton to kickoff their '40 Days For Life' campaign.



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