St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013

Guest blogger Sean Miller

Guest blogger Sean Miller

Our good friend from New Jersey, guest blogger Sean Miller, recalls the first time he marched for life in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.

It was the first time I was going to march in a parade. And it wasn’t just any parade. It was the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, dear to my heart for a number of reasons.

First of all, I’d be celebrating my Irish heritage of which I am very proud, and I’d be honoring St. Patrick, my namesake. (My middle name is Patrick).

Also, I’d be representing the unborn, marching with the local right-to-life group. In a rather hostile, modern world, that was a challenge I was proud to take up.

But I did have some reservations. How would the onlookers react? Would there be hostility or confrontation?

When I arrived at our designated meeting place, it looked like we might be quite a small group. And as the minutes ticked by, I became increasingly concerned since there were not nearly enough people to carry our banners, flags, and signs.

But as the time for the parade to begin approached, our numbers started to grow.  Soon we had 20+ joyful, spirit-filled, prolife marchers, eager to march as witnesses to life.  I was excited but, even still, uncertain as to what to expect.

The parade finally stepped off, and the number of spectators was quite impressive. As we continued for the next hour and a half with periodic stops, there was something about the atmosphere along the streets that day that made me think of another procession that took place some 2,000 years ago – the journey of the Lord on his way to be crucified.

Of course, I don’t mean to imply that our parade was in any way comparable to the Passion of Our Lord in its signficance. But, as we marched down the streets – watching the people who were watching us go by — I couldn’t help but feel that this crowd, with its variety of responses, was probably not too different from the crowd that Jesus encountered so long ago.

Three reactions stood out.

Small groups along the way clapped and cheered for us and our cause. It took guts for these people to raise their voices and applaud amid the silence around them.

Perhaps there were others who were on our side but lacked the courage to speak out.

But those that did speak up reminded me of Veronica’s encounter with Jesus on His way to the Cross. Out of sheer love and compassion, she consoled Our Lord by wiping His face.

Unconcerned about the thoughts of others, she acted without hesitation and without fear. Her love touched Our Lord so much that He left His facial imprint on the cloth. Veronica’s courage was rewarded. The supporters of life exemplified this same type of courage, which is driven by love undaunted by fear.

The second reaction that I noticed was one of opposition. Honestly, this was the reaction that I was anticipating, and I had been pro-actively planning how I would react to it.

But to my surprise and delight, overt hostile behavior was nearly nonexistent. Only on a few occasions did I hear any comments.

But this also led me to think about Our Lord’s Passion. The crucifixion of Our Lord took place largely due to the disdain a rather small number of people had for Him. Their hatred and evil motives spurred them on to brutally mistreat Him … to the point of death. Is this not what the abortion industry is all about as well? The women are exploited as their babies are brutally led to their death. Only hatred and evil motives can do this! These are the very pillars of the abortion industry.

The third reaction of some of the crowd was actually not a reaction at all. It was their lack of a response that left an eerie cloud of stillness in the air. It made me wonder what was going on in their hearts. Were they being quietly polite? Were they afraid to speak up? Or my biggest fear — were they just completely indifferent?

This possibility of indifference scared me and left the biggest impression on me! Have we become a society so used to abortion that we’re not even bothered by it any more?

I’m afraid so many have become numb to the reality of what abortion is and how frequently it happens. Approximately 4,000 babies will lose their lives tomorrow in the United States alone. This will be repeated on a daily basis, unnoticed by most of us that live in the land of the free.

Likewise, while Our Lord’s Passion was taking place, the vast multitude of people were indifferent. To many, it was just another day. Just another criminal being crucified for breaking the law.

Our Lord’s dying in such a brutal way out of love for them and us certainly deserved so much more than such indifference. Likewise, doesn’t the heart of a troubled mother warrant our attention? Doesn’t the life of an unborn baby in jeopardy call for our attention? Can we afford to be lukewarm?

These reactions that I witnessed took me into the heart of Our Lord’s Passion. And through the experience, I found a great gratitude for those who bravely support the unborn, the strength to pray for those who hate us, and a renewed vigor to educate those who just seem not to care.

As we continue to speak on behalf of the unborn and their mothers who are in such great need, let us ask Saint Patrick for his protection and guidance.

For years, organizers of St. Patrick’s Day Parades held throughout the New York metropolitan area have invited local prolife groups to join them. The Rockland Ancient Order of Hibernians have welcomed the Rockland Right to Life Committee and other Rockland groups, who march together under the Respect Life banner in the annual Pearl River parade. Here are photos from years past.

2014       2013        2012       2011

For more blogs by Sean, just search for “Sean Miller” in the box in the upper right corner of the home page. 

Sidewalk Counseling: Harassing or Helping?

Guest blogger Sean Miller

Guest blogger Sean Miller

Here’s the second part of guest blogger Sean Miller’s posting on sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics. Sean, an experienced counselor, explains how an offer to help is often perceived as harassment.

Sidewalk Counseling: Harassing or Helping?

The atmosphere in front of an abortion mill can be surreal. Not surprising considering what is going on within its walls.

So for a sidewalk counselor to be able to function and not dissolve into a pool of tears, you have to put up a protective wall within. Remember, this is a spiritual battleground, and there is no time to be absorbed in “how I feel.” These are the front lines!

The matter at hand demands two necessary ingredients: prayer and counseling. They are interdependent. All must be done in a spirit of deep humility, silence, and compassion, with the understanding that we are present for these troubled couples so that we can help them in their time of great need.

Unfortunately, they do not always perceive us as helpers.  Continue reading

Attempt to Undo the ‘Hobby Lobby’ Decision Fails

imagesToday, by a vote of 56-43, the U.S. Senate did not take up a bill (S.2578, the so-called “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act’) that would have overriden all federal laws  protecting the rights of conscience and freedom of religion regarding health coverage mandates.

If such a bill passes into law, it would, in effect, repeal the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and overturn last month’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Obamacare mandate that required religious, family-owned corporations such as Hobby Lobby to include contraceptive/abortifacient coverage in employee health insurance.

The two senators from New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted in favor of this bill and even co-sponsored it.

Here’s why defeating S.2578 is vitally important to prolifers.

Senate Dems Launch Push for “Most Radical Pro-abortion Bill Ever

WASHINGTON – Four months before the mid-term congressional election, Senate Democrats are pushing into the national spotlight “the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of state right-to-life organizations.

Tobias was one of two non-congressional witnesses who testified against the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696), at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this morning.

“This bill is really about just one thing: it seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their pre-natal development,” Tobias told the committee. “Calling the bill the ‘Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act’ would be more in line with truth-in-advertising standards.”  Continue reading

1st Monday Mass for Life

L1210449The Catholic Prolife Vicariate of Rockland holds a mass for life on the first Monday of each month at St. Francis of Assisi Church at 128 Parrott Rd. in West Nyack at 7:30 p.m.  The next mass is July 7. Everyone is welcome to come to celebrate mass and pray for an end to abortion and all your prolife intentions.

Music for the mass will be provided by Frank D’Amato from Spring Valley. Frank helped lead the singing at the recent July 4 Mass for Life and for America at the Marian Shrine. He has volunteered to offer his musical talents (singing and guitar) to any group that is planning a prolife or prayer event. You can contact him at 845-507-2580.

 

Morning of Prayer on July 4th

On Independence Day, Catholic prolifers gathered for the annual morning of prayer for Life and for America at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, sponsored by the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and the Rockland County Catholic Coalition.

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Mass concelebrants Fathers Joseph Kuzhichalil, Brendan Gormley, and Nicholas Callahan

The Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the recitation of the Rosary was followed by Mass concelebrated by Father Brendan Gormley of St. Barnabas in the Bronx, Father Joseph Kuzhichalil of St. Margaret’s in Pearl River, and Father Nicholas Callahan, who is serving at St. Catherine’s in Blauvelt while on summer break from his studies of canon law in Rome.

Lector Richard Bruno

Lector Richard Bruno

In his homily, Father Brendan spoke of the importance of those most valuable things which do not belong solely to us and have been entrusted to us to hand down: the gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These treasures must be defended, often at great cost. Father read the “Letter to Jackie,” a letter from Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Shay to his 5-year-old son during the early days of World War II.

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Father Joseph reading the Gospel.

Shay, knowing he may not live to see his son grow up, speaks to the child in a letter to tell him all the important things he wants him to know. He tells  the boy that he  lives in a land of great freedom and opportunity, that he should study hard and get all the education he can, play fair, try to win but be a good loser, never be a quitter, and follow the advice of those who love him because they’ll never let him down.

Shay tells his son to love and stay close to his mother and love his grandparents and aunts, and never forget his dad.

Sadly, Shay was killed in action shortly after writing his letter. But among the advice this brave man left was this, a message for all of us on Independence Day and always: Be a good Catholic  — and you can’t help being a good American.

The lector for the mass was Richard Bruno. The music was provided by Eileen Peterson, Monica Peterson-St. John, and Frank D’Amato.

Frank D'Amato, Monica Peterson St. John, and Eileen Peterson

Frank D’Amato, Monica Peterson St. John, and Eileen Peterson

Judy Murray, Jeanmarie Grahn, Terry Anselmi, Liz O'Brien, and Ginny Gulesian

Judy Murray, Jeanmarie Grahn, Terry Anselmi, Liz O’Brien, and Ginny Gulezian

Joe Clohosey and Tony Bosico

Joe Clohosey and Tony Bosico

Supreme Court Affirms Religious Freedom

In the “Hobby Lobby” case, the Supreme Court today struck down the Obamacare requirement that religious owners of family-owned corporations must include no-cost contraceptive/abortifacient coverage in employee health insurance.

From The Washington Post (July 8)
A Good Day for Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Mr. Muhammed Too

From The Becket Fund, counsel for Hobby Lobby
Supreme Court Victory for Hobby Lobby and Religious Freedom

From The Hill, Helen Alvare
After Hobby Lobby, What’s Next? (the question of the Little Sisters of the Poor and nonprofit ministries)

From National Right to Life Committee
Analysis and implications of the Hobby Lobby decision. Religious employers are hardly out of the woods yet.