Diocese of Lake Charles
One woman in the Diocese of Lake Charles is turning to billboards in response to God’s direction for her to “go bigger” with her pro-life message: Life Is Beautiful From Day One.
Mary Guzzino Wilkinson, a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Fenton, has partnered with Louisiana Right to Life to serve as director of the Calcasieu Pro-Life Billboard Campaign. She is seeking other pro-life supporters to join her effort to protect the unborn.
“I prayed about it and asked God, what can I do in my little part of the world to help educate people about this important topic?” she said.
At first, Wilkinson ordered banners to place along the highway, she said, explaining how the project started.
“As I was driving down the interstate one day, I heard God say, ‘go bigger’ just as I was looking at a billboard,” she said.
Realizing this endeavor was more than she could handle alone, Wilkinson reached out to various organizations in search of a fiscal sponsor for the project.
“Louisiana Right to Life was fabulous,” she said. “Ben Clapper, executive director, had never met me before, but he trusted me and agreed to sponsor the campaign as one their projects. My role is earning money to fund the billboards.”
One of the first two locations will be on the north side of Interstate 10 facing east at mile marker 40 (2.2 miles west of Highway 383) at a cost of $836 per month. The second billboard, a digital version, will go up at the intersection of Nelson and Sale roads for $1,680 per month.
Wilkinson said she has already received enough funds to secure the I-10 billboard for a full year.
“I trusted that God would send me the people to help fund the monthly fee for the billboards, and so far, He sent me immediately to people to pay for the I-10 location,” she said. “It will go up on April 15.”
The Nelson/Sale intersection will feature a digital sign with an average of 221,000 views per week, making it the second most viewed Lamar billboard in the area.
Something that sets these billboards apart from other similar campaigns are powerful images showing different stages of life in the womb.
“The design was totally inspired by the Holy Spirit,” said Wilkinson. “God kept putting a thought in my head that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I still didn’t know ‘what picture?’ Then I remembered seeing an image of someone at a rally holding a banner with pictures of pre-born babies in the uterus. I knew these images were exactly what I needed, so I told God He would have to tell me where to find them.”
Wilkinson said God woke her up one night and told her to Google “soul at conception.” Upon doing so, American Heritage — a company that makes banners — popped up with various images of different stages of life in the womb.
“These images are what God wants people to see to impact their minds, hopefully, their hearts,” she said. At the Nelson/Sale location, Wilkinson said she is hoping to target a high-traffic area of students, from the young all the way through college age. “My hope is that the images start conversations about life from the beginning of conception,” she continued.
“My goal is to get 200 people to commit to $10 a month to fund the digital billboard,” said Wilkinson. “I know everyone is in a bind right now, but I just feel like I must go forward with the project. This is a message that God wants shared now.”
Wilkinson said if she collects in excess of her goal, other billboards will be added throughout Calcasieu Parish. All donations are tax deductible.
“We are always going to be fighting the abortion laws, but I am coming at this effort with a goal of changing people’s minds about when life begins,” she said. “Hopefully, this campaign will educate people enough to slow down the demand for abortions. My prayer is that someone from out of state drives through and, after seeing one of the billboards, is inspired to do something similar in their area.”
There are two ways to donate to the Calcasieu Pro-Life Billboard Campaign: online at www.CalcasieuProLife.com, and by mailing a check made payable to Louisiana Right to Life, 200 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70124; please put “Calcasieu Billboards” on the memo line. Contributions can be set up monthly or for a one-time donation. Any amount is appreciated.