Monsignor Philip Reilly, a priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn, had fought for more than two decades on the political level for the protection of life, he was in the end completely despondent: “We had tried everything – the killing went on!”
When the Diocesan Priest reached the lowest point, he heard God’s voice in his heart: Prayer should come first – and all further actions should come from it!
On October 7, 1989, he and five other people (three grandmothers, a grandfather, a young factory worker) founded the Helpers for God’s Precious Children. It was on the Feast of the Rosary, also known as “Mary of Victory”, when they just started praying the Rosary in front of the world’s largest abortion clinic on Queens Boulevard in Brooklyn (over 22,000 abortions annually, closed in 1994).
The first fruit: “We help the mother, this is the only solution. We must not regard women who want to abort as evil people, but we turn to them in love and offer them help.” With the friendly, respectful offer of assistance to women on the way to the abortion clinic, the so-called sidewalk consultation was born.
The second fruit is the Vigils: The praying Christians bring the merciful love of God to the darkest place in the city. They pray for the salvation of unborn babies or to send them off to heaven with love when they are killed. They pray for mothers and fathers to choose the lives of their children. But they also pray for the abortion doctors and their staff – they are all precious children of God – so that in their hearts the love for the unborn child may appear and break through. They help without condemnation those who suffer from abortion.
The Apostolate spread rapidly in the United States and produced remarkable fruits: out of 43 abortion clinics in Brooklyn, there are only 19 left today, and doctors and clinicians are turning to a culture of life and often faith in Jesus Christ. Thousands of babies were rescued by the always peaceful, help-oriented sidewalk consultation of the helpers. Already in 2000, the apostolate had spread to all five continents.
The “Helpers Germany” were founded on 28 November 1999 (1st Advent Sunday of the church anniversary year 2000) by Wolfgang Hering, following a call of God. Already on August 24, he had taken over the leadership of the Munich Prayer Vigil (started on June 25, 1997 as the first in Germany) by its founder Georg Humpert. In September 1999, Wolfgang Hering started with sidewalk consultation based on the model of Monsignore Reilly in front of Germany ‘s largest abortion clinic in Munich, the so – called “Stapf Clinic”. Bishop Daily and Monsignor Reilly gave him a mission and a blessing for all that.
Currently there are helpers – prayer vigils for life in 19 German cities and other organizers in three other cities. In 16 of 37 places where Prayer Vigils happened in Germany the prenatal child killings were terminated. More than 1000 babies were rescued in the last second and their mothers were saved from the often serious consequences of abortion at the Sidewalk Counselling service in Munich.
In the meantime Wolfgang Hering (with the blessing of Monsignor Reilly!) gave lectures on the Helpers Apostolate and goes on mission in four continents, mostly accompanied by the “Mother of Life for Europe”, a large pilgrim’s icon of the Mother of God of Guadalupe ( Patron saint of the worldwide assistant Apostolate).