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Praying for an end to abortion


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No one has to tell Vince Tessitore about the power of prayer in the battle to end abortion. Tessitore regularly volunteered as a sidewalk counselor outside the Planned Parenthood clinic at LaSalle and Division streets in Chicago, and he was there one day about three years ago following a Mass for life at Holy Name Cathedral. After the Mass, much of the congregation made the walk to the clinic for a public prayer vigil.

Tessitore saw immediately that the clinic knew there was a vigil planned. There were police on hand to keep traffic flowing, and instead of one or two people volunteering to escort patients past sidewalk counselors such as Tessitore, there were about 20.

But as soon as the people came to pray, he said, the atmosphere changed.

“I never had so many people listen to me,” he said. “Usually, they ignore you, at best. But that day they were listening.”

There was one man he remembers, who accompanied his girlfriend into the clinic. The woman cursed Tessitore on the way in. The boyfriend came out shortly afterward to have a cigarette, and Tessitore approached him again. The man cursed him and profaned the church, Tesstore said, but did not walk away. Within a few minutes, the man broke down in tears, went back into the clinic and persuaded his girlfriend to come outside. She listened to Tesstore too, and the couple decided to have their baby.

It was one of three saves made that day, he said.

“I know the Holy Spirit touched their hearts,” he said. “It wasn’t the words I said. Prayer is absolutely essential.”

Tessitore, who has since moved to North Aurora and owns property in Aurora proper, is now fighting the clinic Planned Parenthood is trying to open there.