Lining the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood facility in Ventura, Calif., this Saturday were some 180 Thomas Aquinas College students who prayed for, and with, their departed friend, Andrew “Kent” Moore (’14) .
The gathering served to pay tribute to Kent as well as to continue his work. A dedicated advocate of unborn children and their mothers, Kent spent countless hours outside this clinic and others praying for an end to abortion. This summer, while participating in a Crossroads pro-life walk across America, he was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle in Indiana. His classmates were not only shocked and devastated by the news, they were also determined — determined to honor Kent in the way that they knew he would want to be honored: by serving Christ in the unborn.
“This happened because everyone knew that we needed to do it for Kent’s sake,” says Rebecca Bessette (’14).
So early on Saturday morning they arose to decorate the cars — some 35 in all — that would form a makeshift caravan to take more than half of the Thomas Aquinas College student body to neighboring Ventura. They painted messages in memory of Kent and in support of the pro-life cause. After morning Mass they met up in St. Joseph Commons and made the half-hour drive, joined by members of the faculty and their families as well as the College’s three chaplains.
The students parked across the street from Planned Parenthood, outside a Baptist church that had graciously extended them the use of its parking lot. Chaplain Rev. Joseph Illo then offered a blessing before the group crossed the street and took its position along the sidewalk. There the students prayed the Rosary, just as Kent had done on his more-or-less weekly visits to this clinic, and just as he was doing on that fateful morning earlier this summer. At the end of the prayers, before everyone returned to campus, Chaplain Rev. Cornelius Buckley, S.J., offered a benediction.
There were no protests, no conflicts, and no angry words. A few passing drivers honked their horns in support. An elderly woman who was walking by joined in the prayers. A young couple that had approached the clinic gratefully accepted a brochure for a local pro-life pregnancy center. The event was quiet, peaceful, and prayerful — just like Kent.
“What we did on Saturday was really good to remind us all and to get us together to do something in memory of him, to make it hit home,” reflects Sarah Dufresne (’14). “He’s really gone, and he really died while he was walking across the country praying for all the unborn babies.”
Adds Miss Dufresne, “I oftentimes think of John Paul II’s words addressing the youth, ‘Do not be afraid to go out in to the streets.’ I think that there was a definite holy boldness that we had as a college on Saturday, and I hope that continues.”
Posted: September 3, 2012