Annual Candlelight Vigil


Annual Pro-Life Vigil

Every year since 1974, SCRTL has organized a Candlelight Vigil on or near January 22. Hundreds of people gather at the court square in downtown Sidney for the event, which marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision of 1973 that legalized abortion in the United States. Beginning in the basement of the courthouse (east side entrance), the vigil commences with a prayer and a brief address by area clergy, followed by a candlelight procession around the courthouse. Following the vigil, buses depart for the National March for Life in Washington, DC.

For more photos, see the Vigil photo gallery.


Nearly 200 Process in Annual Candlelight Vigil (2017)

It was a balmy 50 degrees at 7pm on Sunday, January 22, as nearly 200 area pro-lifers gathered at the courthouse in Sidney to mark the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

RTL program director Kevin Schmiesing emceed the event, and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Joe Timmerman explained the significant of the "Soles for Souls" casket, an exhibit that contains dozens of baby shoes as a symbol of the children lost to abortion each day. After praying a psalm together, the crowd moved outside while musicians from Sidney Apostolic Temple provided music for reflection.

When the participants had returned to the courthouse basement, Henry Cordonnier spoke briefly about the work of his son-in-law in the new President Donald Trump Administration. Membership committee member Robert Luckey testified to the importance of the pro-life cause. Father Martin Fox, pastor of St. Remy Church in Russia, concluded the program with a closing prayer.

Thank you to all who attended and assisted with the vigil. It was a great crowd and meaningful evening of prayer and reflection on the sanctity of life.

See the vigil photo in the Sidney Daily News.

Thank you to Jennifer Bohman for the photo video (below)!


Candlelight Vigil procession 2016Pro-Lifers Witness at Courthouse on Anniversary of Roe (2016)

Although blizzard predictions in Washington, D.C. prevented Shelby County's buses from traveling to the March for Life, here at home, around a hundred pro-lifers turned out in fair weather for Right to Life's annual observance marking the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade. RTL program director Kevin Schmiesing opened the event with a prayer, after which attendees said the Pledge of Allegiance. With 2016 being a presidential election year, Schmiesing stressed the importance of pro-life political leadership to ensure that pro-life organizations remain free to pursue their mission. A candlelight procession around the court square followed.

Vigil 2016 Ann CordonnierRTL thrift shop manager Ann Cordonnier (pictured left) updated the group on the services provided at the shop and encouraged attendees to get involved as donors of clothing and baby item and as volunteers at the shop.

Teresa Chaney, a member of RTL's board of directors and also a membership committee volunteer, offered a moving account of her own involvement in the pro-life movement, which started when her grandmother passed away just before the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down. Chaney highlighted the importance of the pro-life cause, urging listeners not to let other things get in the way of being active promoters of that cause.

Following the vigil, attendees enjoyed a time of fellowship, with hot chocolate provided by the Knights of Columbus.


Shelby County Shows Pro-Life Colors at Vigil, March for Life (2015)

On Wednesday, January 21, Kevin Schmiesing, Program Director for Right to Life of Shelby County welcomed over 200 pro-lifers to the Candlelight Vigil commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand. He shared stories from women who regretted the bitter experience of abortion and had found healing in the pro-life movement through a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.

Nino Vitale, the newly elected representative from the 85th Ohio House District reminded those present that “Each person is unique and has been given life with a purpose by the Author of Life Himself. Twenty years ago, my sister was told that her unborn child had a spot on her brain and that the family should consider ‘alternatives’. Because of that family’s courage, my niece was given life and graduated with honors from high school.”

He shared that the single most important piece of legislation is the Heartbeat Bill. “Legally, this bill is designed to pass a legislature and fail in the court system until it reaches the Supreme Court where it will challenge ‘Roe v. Wade’.” Although the bill did not pass the Ohio legislature last session, the hard work of grassroots activists resulted in 29 co-sponsors for the current session. A March vote is now scheduled.

Vitale said, “Doing what is good, true, and beautiful does not depend upon the actions of others. What is true is true even if only one person believes it. And what is wrong is wrong even if millions believe it. While we must push forward with legislation, we can save babies right here and right now by changing hearts and minds. By changing one mother’s heart, we can save that baby.” Mr. Vitale left those gathered with a question: “If we are a movement that cares about a child having a good life past birth and if we want a child to have that life with their own mother and father whenever possible, is it pro-life to take away that chance by redefining marriage?"

He reminded those born after 1973, that they survived the abortion holocaust and that they should thank their parents for saying “Yes” to life. He concluded, “ God bless you and God bless our state and country.”

Ann Cordonnier, thrift shop manager for Right to Life of Shelby County shared stories about how those who are caring for children find the thrift shop to be a place they can go to for help and resources. Those who have lost their lives by abortion or been wounded by their participation in abortion were commemorated during the silent candlelight procession around the courthouse.

Near the conclusion of the event, Schmiesing announced upcoming Right to Life events including the Pro-life Oratory Contest on February 16; the Russia Garage Sale on March 26-28; and the Golf Outing on May 9. The vigil concluded with a psalm and prayer offered by Larry Novak, intern at St. John’s Lutheran Church

Following the vigil, a busload of Shelby Countians left for Washington, D. C. for the January 22 Catholic Rally and Youth Mass and then the March for Life. They joined hundreds of thousands of other pro-lifers who traveled from all over the country to pray and march down Constitution Avenue toward the Supreme Court building.

Candlelight Vigil Turns into Prayer Service (2014)

Due to single-digit temperatures, the annual candlelight vigil was held inside the courthouse this year, as a pro-life prayer service replaced the traditional candlelight procession around the court square.

Both Shelby County buses to the March for Life were also cancelled due to weather, leading to a smaller crowd than usual. Still, 75 hardy souls showed up for a moving and meaningful period of prayer for our nation, for our communities, and for all those touched by abortion. (At left, attendees begin the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance.)

We are grateful to all who participated in the vigil, including: Pastor Jon Schriber, who offered the opening prayer; Brian and Terry who provided music; and Fr. Frank Amberger, who offered the closing prayer.

Special thanks to event chairman Tim Bodenhorn, and to the Knights of Columbus for furnishing refreshments.

Candlelight Vigil, 2013

Images from this year's candlelight vigil, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision permitting abortion on demand across the United States.

Lehman Catholic students Ethan Jock and Nick Cummons provided music.



Weather Smiles on 2012 Vigil

The rain held up and weather was perfect for the 2012 Candlelight Vigil. We joined in beautiful prayers by Elder Bud Freeman of Sidney Wesleyan Fellowship and Father Dan Schmitmeyer of Holy Angels Catholic Church, listened to oratory winner Makayla Phillips' outstanding speech, and were inspired by the music ministry of Brian and Stephanie Swank of Sidney Apostolic Temple.

Thanks to all who assisted with and attended the vigil!

2011 Vigil Participants Remember Roe

Nearly 300 local residents gathered at the courthouse Sunday, January 23, for Right to Life of Shelby County's annual candlelight vigil. The vigil is held to commemorate the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States.

The program began with an invocation by the Rev. Steven Shoup, pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Ft. Loramie and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Newport. President of Ron Meyer gave a brief presentation in which he said "the time is urgent for action" on behalf of the more than one million lives lost to abortion each year. The Knights of Columbus of St. Remy Catholic Church, Russia, led the group in a candlelight procession around the court square, carrying a casket containing 137 pairs of shoes as a memorial to the babies lost through abortion each hour in the United States.

Following the procession, Right to Life co-director Anne Schmiesing spoke about a new book, Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, which details the conversion of a former director of a Texas Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Johnson's experience of the peaceful and compassionate presence of people praying at the abortion clinic, Schmiesing explained, helped her to leave the abortion business and  become an apostle for the pro-life cause.

Music for the event was provided by the music ministry of Sidney Apostolic Temple and refreshments followed, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus of Holy Angles Catholic Church, Sidney. Following the vigil, more than 100 youth and their chaperones boarded two buses for a trip to Washington, DC, to join more than 100,000 other Americans at the national March for Life on January 24.

300 Brave Rain for Candlelight Vigil

A light rain failed to dampen spirits at this year’s Pro-Life Candlelight Vigil, Thursday, January 21, 2010. President Ron Meyer emceed the evening’s event, reminding the more than 300 attendees of the importance of pro-life activism, which is having an effect on the health care reform debate in Congress.

Pastor George Gnade of First Baptist Church in Sidney offered an opening prayer. Co-director Kevin Schmiesing shared an excerpt from Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon’s acceptance speech for the Proudly Pro-Life Award, bestowed on her by National Right to Life in October, 2009. Calling the pro-life movement, “the greatest grassroots movement of our time,” Glendon declared that an increase in pro-life sentiment across the country indicates that “we are winning the battle for hearts and minds.”

With lighted candles, participants processed around the court square. Lehman students led by Stephanie Schoenfelt provided musical accompaniment. Father Frank Amberger of St. Remy Church offered a closing prayer and blessing for those attending the National March for Life in Washington. After availing themselves of the hot chocolate provide by the Knights of Columbus, some 150 local high school students and RTL members boarded buses for their trip to the National March.

Thank you to chairman Dan McSweeney, the Knights of Columbus, and all those who assisted with and attended the vigil. Despite the weather, it was a beautiful evening of prayer and remembrance for the tens of millions harmed by abortion in our nation.

Candlelight Vigil Again Draws Crowd

More than 300 area pro-lifers gathered at the courthouse Wednesday evening, January 21, 2009, in commemoration of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Right to Life of Shelby County and the Sidney Knights of Columbus sponsored the annual event, which aims to draw attention to the ongoing practice of abortion and to pray for all those affected by it.

The Reverend Kenneth Castor, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sidney offered an invocation. Sidney Council Member Steve Hamby presented to Right to Life Board President Ron Meyer a Proclamation in honor of Right to Life of Shelby County. By Proclamation of the Sidney City Council, January 22, 2009, was Right to Life Day. At its monthly meeting, January 12, the Council presented the Proclamation recognizing RTL's thirty-five years providing service and education to the community.

Thank you to Council Member Steve Hamby for initiating this recognition, to City Council, and to all our members and volunteers who share in this honor.

The Reverend Jason Bedel, parochial vicar at Holy Angels Church in Sidney closed the brief ceremony with a blessing. Participants then processed around the courthouse carrying candles, to the accompaniment of vocal music by Lehman Catholic senior Gretchen Weber.

Following the procession, more than two hundred area residents boarded four charter buses for the trip to the National March for Life in Washington, DC.


Top photo courtesy of the Sidney Daily News.

©2007 Shelby County Right to Life