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In late May, concerned Catholics and other people of faith from Fontana recognized that a “Notice of Filing” sign was posted on the corner of Sierra and San Bernardino Ave. The notice was a request to remodel an existing building into a clinic operated by Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Seeking to make a public objection to yet another abortion clinic in Inland Southern California, Catholic parishioners, other Christians and members of the Diocesan Office of Respect Life and Pastoral Care Programs joined together in a prayer walk on June 2.
“I witnessed a community of action, prayer, and one in the same Spirit. This filled me up with so much joy and hope, knowing that we are united in this fight,” prayer walk participant Yesenia Lepe said.
After recognizing the notice, Catholic leaders and those of other Christian denonimations held an initial strategy meeting at St. Mary’s Church with about 120 people in attendance. An ecumenical prayer effort to prevent another Planned Parenthood clinic in the Inland Empire had begun. In less than a week, the word spread about an organized prayer walk to show a powerful witness of all those concerned about the potential opening of the abortion facility.
On June 2 about 900 people gathered at St. Joseph Church, Fontana, for prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and later walked two miles to the proposed location of the clinic. The people met with other Christian brothers and sisters gathered at Bethel Church, Fontana and walked together the rest of the way.
“The moment I saw person by person begin to arrive for Holy Hour, I knew that this walk would be a significant event for our diocese,” Lepe said.
On the prayer walk, they prayed the Rosary and carried signs stating life is precious and deserves protection. Once the people arrived at the corner of Sierra Avenue and San Bernardino Avenue, they gathered there for about an hour, praying, and singing songs. Many passing motorists saw all four corners of the busy intersection filled with people giving witness to life, for the unborn babies, mothers, and families.
“This prayer was a gift from God for our local church in the Dioceses of San Bernardino, it came at a time of uncertainty and preoccupation,” Lepe said.
The effort continued after the Prayer Walk with faith communities from the West End area of San Bernardino County circulating and signing petitions, attending public hearings on the proposal, and praying outside of the proposed abortion clinic every day.

By Maria Valadez, Director of Diocesan Office of Respect Life and Pastoral Care Program