There is no doubt the Pro-Life Rosary Project is bearing fruit. Jacqueline Whittle, president of the Loomis, Calif.-based project, has seen evidence far and near.
“One of our family members gave her next-door neighbor a Pro-Life Rosary and CD of this Rosary being prayed, not knowing she was pregnant,” says Whittle. “She had planned to have an abortion. After listening to the CD she had a change of heart and gifted her son with life. I was blessed to be there at the hospital shortly after his birth.”
That’s the kind of result the Pro-Life Rosary Project envisions across the nation and world. Little wonder its mission is to spread the Pro-Life Rosary for people everywhere to unite in a powerful way with this special prayer to end abortion and every threat to life.
Already the project has planted firm roots in the Dioceses of Sacramento and Monterey, Calif. People are praying this Pro-Life Rosary at regular times in approximately 30 parishes, like Holy Family Catholic Church in Citrus Heights, where up to 60 people pray it after every First Friday’s pro-life Mass.
Often among them praying to end abortion is Phyllis Sale, who says, “I pray that their parents and the powers that be recognize the wrongfulness of this action.”
Many people also tune into Immaculate Heart Radio, which broadcasts the Project’s “Pray the Rosary for Life” CD. Monterey’s Bishop Richard Garcia has received many comments from listeners both here and from the Sacramento Diocese when he was auxiliary bishop there. In fact, it is Bishop Garcia who leads this Rosary, which he recorded at Whittle’s request.
He has seen lots of fruit from the work.
“There’s a real sense of calmness praying this Rosary,” Bishop Garcia observes. And during his regular prison visitations, he recalls, “It’s amazing how many of the inmates told me how they listen to the radio and pray the Pro-Life Rosary. It’s helping them in their spiritual life.”
What distinguishes this particular Pro-Life Rosary from others is the pattern of colored beads, which allows the participants to emphasize specific intentions for each color. The colors alternate with white or clear beads for each mystery: aqua-blue for the first decade, red for the second, black the third, red and light blue the fourth, and green the fifth.
The short prayer recited after announcing each mystery voices the intentions for the particular colors. For instance, the intention for red beads in the second decade is “in reparation for the blood spilled from every baby wrenched from its mother’s womb through abortion” and in reparation for sin. The white beads are for mothers and fathers of the aborted babies to receive the grace to repent of this sin, turn to Jesus to receive the gift of salvation, and obtain healing of the emotional and psychological wounds this sin has caused.
All intentions are well-detailed to cover all pro-life issues and areas, including the medical and political spectrum, and for reversing every anti-life law and adding new, strong pro-life ones. There are also prayers of thanksgiving for those involved in any way working for life, as well as for their protection.
Father John Warburton, an Oblate of St. Joseph and provincial of the order’s California province and the Pro-Life Rosary Project’s spiritual director, brings these special themes of intercession to his daily Rosary, besides meditating on each mystery apart from them.
“The Pro-Life Rosary has helped me pray for the whole spectrum of needs and also made me all the more aware it’s a spiritual battle and spiritual warfare, and we need the help of heaven to make progress,” the priest explains. “I think the way the prayers are written helps to communicate where the real power lies.”
The novices and seminarians at the Oblates’ California seminary joined Bishop Garcia in recording the “Pray the Rosary for Life” CD, which Whittle’s son Matthew, the Project’s co-founder, engineered in 2000.
Prepared for Prayer
Whittle formed the Pro-Life Rosary Project in 1995 and began promoting the Pro-Life Rosary with encouragement from Father Warburton. She notes that this Rosary originated in the Diocese of Lafayette, La., with Deanna Westbury, who was inspired for it during Eucharistic adoration.
In the Lafayette diocese’s Office of Pro-Life Issues, Trista Littell says many of the pro-life coordinators in each of the diocese’s 122 churches organize this Pro-Life Rosary and holy hour each month.
It’s part of every First Saturday’s Mass and adoration at St. Joseph Church in Milton, La. “The Pro-Life Rosary is the bedrock, one of the focal points of our First Saturdays,” says Deacon Cody Miller. “We pray it at every confirmation retreat. I can tell you, it really touches hearts.”
Littell says these multi-colored rosaries are also distributed on mission trips to Mexico. (The prayers come in Spanish, too.) From California, Whittle has sent out thousands that several people made for the project for distribution. But that’s not nearly enough.
“We’re imploring all the rosary makers across the nation to be making Pro-Life Rosaries,” says Whittle. “We’re asking our nation to begin to make and pray the Pro-Life Rosary.”
She explains directions are simple and supplies are available at low cost from a non-profit apostolate called Our Lady’s Rosary Makers (online at olrm.org). Plus, in an informal partnership, the rosaries and pamphlets about praying this Pro-Life Rosary (English and Spanish) are distributed for the Project by Easter’s Catholic Book & Gifts in Sacramento (online at Easterbooks.com).
“It’s free and part of our ministry,” says owner Sandy Easter-Graham, who sees this Rosary catching on even with non-Catholics. “We have lots of Protestants coming in here frequently for the free rosary and asking how to pray it.”
To easily spread this Rosary, Whittle emphasizes the CD’s provisional license, which grants permission to copy and distribute the Rosary CD free and widely. She’s asking all Catholic radio stations to broadcast this Rosary. (Currently, listeners anywhere can tune into IHradio.org, streaming audio, which normally broadcasts this Pro-Life Rosary weekdays at approximately 1:30 p.m. Pacific time.)
Father Warburton finds the Pro-Life Rosary Project comprehensive. “It undergirds all outreaches of the Pro-Life movement with prayers,” he says.
And can inspire them.
Bishop Garcia observes: “I believe we have so many issues of life, whether abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, stem cells, cloning and more that affect us as we go to the poling booths and vote. Certainly this Rosary will help us prepare spiritually and psychologically to support the culture of life and bring us closer to the word of God.”
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen
writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.