Thursday, 10 March 2011

Some tips for when you're at the vigil

Be prayerful - it's a prayer vigil after all! We have several prayer books in the clear plastic box. Feel free to use them. You can bring your own prayer book or Bible. If you're a Catholic, you can bring your rosary and pray as a group, either the rosary or the chaplet of Divine Mercy.  We have a large white banner saying 'before I formed you in the womb I knew you.' If there is enough people, get two of you to hold it up. It's a good witness and helps people to know who we are and what we're doing. We also have a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and another of the Divine Mercy. If there are enough of you, hold these pictures too. Remember the great things our Lord said about the image of Divine Mercy, and how the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe -the pregnant Madonna - brought an end to the practice of human sacrifice, including child sacrifice. 

Be alert - we are there to pray, especially for the unborn and their mothers going into the abortuary. This also means that when we are at the vigil, and if we are standing outside the abortuary, we need to be alert. Keep an eye out for women that look like they're on their way to BPAS. There are benches on Bedford Sq, sometimes a women will sit there if they are early for an appointment. Use your common sense: go over, and offer a magazine, or a leaflet. Tell her what we're doing, start-up a conversation, and listen. The mums going to BPAS are usually young women, alone, or with a female friend, and they look distressed and fearful. We gentle, understanding, and generous with the support we can offer.  

Priority - If you are part of the vigil, you're main thing is to pray. If you are outside the abortuary, you're main thing is to offer a leaflet and offer to listen to any mum on her way into the abortuary. If you get people stopping to ask questions, direct them to one of the people praying or someone handing out magazines, that way the counsellor outside the abortuary can stay available for the mums. If you're doing outreach, your main thing is to offer the 'You can Stop Injustice' magazine to people. Be ready to answer questions.  

Follow-up - Sometimes a woman will be given a leaflet offering help, and she'll start having a look and delay going into the abortuary. She may wonder-off away from the abortuary as she needs time to think, make a new plan, call her partner or a friend. Right now she might have just been given the offer of whatever help she needs, the excuse she's been looking to get out of this abortion situation. Follow this up with a gentle chat. Talk to her, listen to her. If you can offer to help her make the next step, then do it. We have the contact details of good pregnancy centres that can offer ongoing support.

Identify yourself - We have lots of well-trained and experienced counsellors. If you're at the vigil, let people know you are a counsellor, and offer to stand outside the abortuary, ready to talk and listen to any mum on her way in. Likewise, if you are a trained volunteer, hospital doctor, GP - you have unique experience that you can offer along the way. 

Water off a duck's back - sometimes a passer-by will feel the need to swear at you, or walk past and point, laugh, come-up close and make rude or provocative remarks and run off. Don't break your prayer or waste your time shouting back. We are there for 40 days, and it might happen every time you are at the vigil.    

Smile - We have God with us, and we are trying hard to assist mums & dads in need, and abortion workers too. We're not there to make enemies.

Good luck!

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