As the wind whipped her dark hair around her face, Juliana Unger, 13, joined 14 others in a prayer to end abortion.
"Lord Jesus, we ask you to bless and protect the children who today are in their mothers' womb," Unger and the others said. "Save them from the danger of abortion."
For a moment as these words were spoken, the wind slowed. It picked up again as the service in front of the Memorial for the Unborn on Helmer Road continued.
The service represented the launch of a weekend of prayer and preaching as Priests for Life's The Rev. William Scott Daniels visited the Catholic community in Battle Creek. Daniels will give his main presentation, "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Questions," at St. Philip Parish Center at 7 p.m. tonight.
His service on a gusty Saturday drew only a small crowd, but touched at least one heart -- that of Juliana Unger's mother. Victoria Unger said she adopted Juliana from China, where she was found abandoned under a taxi stand.
If Juliana's birth mother had chosen abortion, Victoria would have never met her adopted daughter, she said.
"We're so thankful that her (birth) mother could have had an abortion, but didn't," Victoria Unger said.
Mothers who chose not to have an abortion were among those who the group prayed for during the 30-minute nondenominational service. The group also prayed for families of aborted fetuses, for doctors and nurses who are involved in abortion procedures and for unity in the pro-life movement.
Daniels, who travels the country speaking against abortion in the framework of Catholic theology, said during the service that aborting fetuses is a sin tantamount to the murder of innocents during the Nazi Holocaust. Daniels said he believes God will punish the world if abortion is not stopped.
"I know this is not politically correct, but it doesn't matter," Daniels said. "If we do not stop this, we are doomed."
For her part, Victoria Unger has been working in Battle Creek to stop abortion. She was among about eight people who co-founded the local anti-abortion group Tri-Parish Pro-Life Ministry in 2009.
Unger described Saturday's prayer service as "a very real experience."
"I feel like we're really doing something and really helping," Unger said. She hugged her daughter Juliana, bracing her against the strong wind. "I feel prayers are answered. Otherwise I wouldn't have this one."
Sarah Lambert can be reached at 966-0589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.