Abba fund raiser hosted in Lindsay
By ANDY HOGUE, Register Staff
March 12, 2007
LINDSAY — With echoing, impassioned cries for the
audience to fund and staff an organized effort to rescue the unborn, a speaker
at one of Cooke County’s largest fund raisers addressed a full house at St.
Peter’s Catholic parish’s Centennial Hall.
Jim Pinto, coordinator of lay ministries for
Priests for Life, a Catholic anti-abortion organization, explained Paul Schenk,
the previously scheduled guest speaker for the Abba Women’s Center annual fund
raising banquet, and also a leader in Priests for Life, was unable to attend due
to the illness of one of his eight children.
Pinto said Schenk covered for him on previous
occasions, when Pinto learned his wife, Joy, has colon cancer. He requested
Pinto urged those present to be bold about their
pro-life message. “We need to stop apologizing for being pro-life,” Pinto
He noted his offices, which are in the Her Choice
Women’s Center in Birmingham, Ala., is located near a fetal heart monitoring
machine. “To hear a heartbeat right through that wall, that’s a reminder
to me that this is a life!” he said.
Pinto said he has four children and seven
grandchildren of his own. His last child, he said, was a surprise. But one day
when laying his hands on his wife’s stomach and feeling his soon-to-be-born baby
kick and respond to his voice, Pinto had what he called a troubling thought.
“This thought came to me: I could kill you today,” he said. “Not that I would do
such a thing ...”
He said that since abortion is legal many turn a
blind eye to the issue and refuse to deal with it and formulate their own
According to the Priests for Life Web site,
nearly 4,000 abortion operations take place every day in the U.S.
Pinto alluded to the story of the Woman Caught in
Adultery in the Christian New Testament. According to an account in John 8, a
woman was suspected of having sex with someone who was not her husband (though
the man was suspiciously not present, Pinto noted) and she was brought out to
the public square for execution by stoning by an angry mob. Jesus intervened and
prevented the situation, writing an unknown inscription in the dirt and saying,
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
“(Then) Jesus addressed her as, ‘Woman,’ appealing to her femininity,” Pinto
said, “and forgave her her sins.” Forgiveness, as well as care for women
who have given birth to babies after unplanned pregnancies, is essential to the
“culture of life.”
He had everyone in the audience raise their hand
who is 34 years of age and younger. “You are the generation that was considered
to be non-persons,” he said, noting the legalization of abortion in 1972.
He urged the audience to consider unborn babies
as full-fledged human beings. He said he and Joy had a miscarried child whom he
still prays for and expects to see in heaven one day.
He said God is described in places as “abba
Father” — the inspiration for the naming of Gainesville’s women’s center — which
means in Aramaic “daddy.”
Pinto said God is not only upset when his
children are killed, including the unborn, but “screams.” He alluded to the
story of Cain and Abel — “the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from
the ground” (Genesis 4:10).
Pinto said each human being, including the
unborn, are the indirect image of God. He said, according to Nicholas of Cusa,
15th Century philosopher and mathematician “In all faces is seen the Face of
faces, veiled and in a riddle.”
Preceding Pinto’s speech, Sandee Feyereisen,
director of Abba since May, said many women come to the center claiming they
have no other options. “They think there’s no hope when they learn they
have a surprise pregnancy,” she said. The center provides a wide array of
pre-natal services to assist any mother. “We let them know they’re not
alone,” she said. The assistance doesn’t stop with the birth of the child,
she said. Feyereisen said the center provides parenting classes, basic
nutrition, Bible lessons and works with Child Protective Services in certain
instances. “Can you imagine helping someone to not make a decision they’ll
regret for the rest of their life? That’s what we do at Abba,” she said.
She read a testimonial from an anonymous client,
praising the center. The testimonial appealed to the audience and legislators to
not give women a choice in whether to kill their unborn babies.
Annual statistics for 2006, according to
Feyereisen, include: 1,630 client visits to the Abba Women’s Center; 409
pregnancy tests; 500 families assisted; 62 women made decisions to become
Christians; 244 sonograms; 566 in class attendance; and, most importantly she
said, “five babies saved,” meaning five women decided to not have abortions
after meeting with Abba workers and volunteers.
“This is the fruit of what you’ve given,” she
said. Feyereisen requested additional volunteers for the effort. “If
God so leads you, come by and fill uot a volunteer packet,” she said.
Preceding Feyereisen, a volunteer award was
presented to Angela Haverkamp from emcee Bill Black. Haverkamp manages the
Second Chance second-hand retail store on Mondays, among other responsibilities.
“This award is so special it’s been given twice before,” Black said. He
noted the award would be named in her honor after this year. Donna Hertel,
one of Haverkamp’s daughters, said her mother was unable to attend due to
fainting earlier that afternoon.
Also preceding Pinto’s speech, the Sacred Heart
choir performed three selections under the direction of Fran Schully. A
silent auction took place during the entire event, raising funds for the center.
No report on attendance of amount of money raised
was available by press time.
Abba Women’s Center is located at 414 E. Elm St.
in downtown Gainesville behind the Turner Apartments. For information call the
center at 668-6391.