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

Rockland Stands with Texas Ban on Late-Term Abortions

Prayer for Texas

July 11 — Seminarian David Rider led the Rosary as Rockland prolifers prayed for the protection of LIFE and for the state of Texas to lead other states in banning late term abortions, 20 weeks and older when the baby in the womb can feel pain and is capable of surviving outside the womb.
The rally took place outside the Planned Parenthood office on Perelman Road in Spring Valley.

Today members of the Texas state Senate approved a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks by a 19-11 vote. The House passed their version of the bill on Wednesday. Now the bill will go to prolife Gov. Rick Perry, who will sign it into law.

After a day filled with pro-abortion threats, pro-life people hiding in secure areas of the capitol fearing for their safetyjars of feces and urine and protestors disrupting the Senate proceedings, democracy finally prevailed.

A previous attempt to pass this bill in the Texas Senate was halted by a pro-abortion filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis. Davis said she would not filibuster the bill a second time.

This debate had been marked by angry protests from pro-abortion demonstrators and even a death threat to prolife Gov. Rick Perry.

The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a constitutional reason to ban abortions late in pregnancy.

On June 18, by  a 228-196 vote, the  U.S. House of Representatives also passed a bill that would ban all abortions starting at 20 weeks’ gestation.

Rockland’s representative in the House, Nita Lowey, voted against this bill.

Rep. Chris Smith, the head of the pro-life caucus in the House called “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”  a modest but necessary attempt to at least protect babies who are 20 weeks old—and pain-capable—from having to suffer and die from abortion.”

At the time, the Obama administration issued a statement indicating that President Obama would veto the bill if ever passes in the the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is unlikely.

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On the Front Lines — PP at RCC Youthfest

RCC-PP-EileenOn March 9, the Youthfest was held at Rockland Community College.  It’s an annual event whose goal is to provide the community with an opportunity to interact with businesses and agencies that provide services for children, youth, and families in Rockland County.

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood Hudson-Peconic was on hand, with their propaganda and big display van, eager to meet our youth.

But  Eileen was there too. Armed with her sign at the entrance to the campus, she reminded everyone about the truth about Planned Parenthood.

New York State RTL Salutes Astorino, Clinic Access Bill Opponents

“The NYSRTL Committee is delighted that County Executive Rob Astorino has courageously done his job not just as the county executive but as an American showing respect for the Constitution. People have not fought and died for a First Amendment that  protects only universally wanted speech.

 The idea that public property outside of an abortion facility should be a free-speech-free zone because some people don’t like that it impacts the very lucrative abortion industry is an idea that does not belong in a truly free country. The pro-abortion movement knows that when presented with the truth, most women choose life and that is bad for business.  Bravo Rob Astorino!  Great job Alan [Mehldau, Chair of Westchester-Putnam Right to Life] and the Westchester Right to Life team!”  

– Lori Kehoe, Chairperson, NYS Right to Life

Pro-abortion lobby goes BERSERK after Astorino’s veto of anti-free speech clinic bill — from LifeNet

Focus on the Family coverage in CitizenLink

Clinic Access Bill Vetoed

Westchester County Executive Robert A. Astorino has vetoed the Clinic Access Bill, calling it legally flawed and unnecessary. Click here for the full story.

While this legislation targeted prolife free speech in Westchester, I’m sure Mr. Astorino would like to know that we in Rockland were keeping a careful eye on the situation and  are very grateful for his decision to veto. Abortion, unfortunately, knows no geographic boundaries.

Please send  a quick email to thank him at CE@westchestergov.com.