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Bearing public witness in Bellevue

Embracing God’s word with a generous heart and bearing good fruit through perseverance describes people involved in the pro-life movement, Archbishop George J. Lucas told more than 300 people at the 17th annual Vigil for Life Mass and procession at St. Mary Church in Bellevue.

Young and old, families large and small participated in the event, which in addition to the Mass included a four-block rosary procession to an abortion clinic, Benediction and a reception.

The archbishop encouraged prayers for people involved in the "terrible work" of abortion, and for "those who out of some sort of confusion seek help there."

He also assured the congregation that he prays for them.

"I prayed for all of you," the archbishop said of preparing for his homily, which reflected on the Parable of the Sower in Luke’s Gospel. In it, Christ compared people’s readiness for God’s word to seeds scattered on good soil, on a walking path, in rocky soil or among thorns.

"By God’s grace you have been receptive" to God’s word and persevered in sharing it in the face of opposition that can be fierce and noisy, the archbishop said.

It’s important to renew and refresh that good soil through the sacraments, so people can be certain to bear good fruit and act with perseverance, "a hallmark of the pro-life movement," he said.

Perseverance is needed, in light of four decades with legalized abortion in the United States, the archbishop said. At the same time, many innocent babies, and their mothers and fathers, have been saved through the years from abortion, Archbishop Lucas said. And many young people are instinctively turning away from abortion and embracing the dignity of human life, he said.

One example of perseverance at the procession was Larry Eickhoff, a member of Holy Cross Parish in Omaha, who said he has attended the vigil nearly every year for the last 10 or 15 years. Prayers for an end to abortion are being heard, he said.

"I’m sure it’s going to be successful," he said. "It’s just a question of how long."