The 19th annual Rockland Life Chain was held on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 2, at the intersection of Route 59 and Middletown Rd. in Nanuet.
This year the Life Chain was held in memory of Barbara (Betty) Braun, who spoke out bravely and eloquently for the unborn for decades. She was one of the founding members and president of the Rockland County Catholic Coalition. Betty passed away last spring, and everyone is invited to her memorial mass on Oct. 7 at St. Francis Church in West Nyack at 7 pm.
The Life Chain is a nationwide project of peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life individuals standing for 90 minutes praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
About 25 Life Chains were held simultaneously throughout the metropolitan area on Sunday, and eight took place in Westchester County alone.
The attendees at the Rockland Life Chain gathered at 2 pm near Michael’s Tuxedos in the shopping center across from the Nanuet Mall where they picked up their signs and dispersed up and down the sidewalks of the intersection. They remained until 3:30. One participant observed that, as the constant stream of traffic passed by, probably thousands of people saw the signs and considered their message.
Among the hundreds of pro-lifers at the Life Chain were individuals and families, church groups, members of the Triune, Haverstraw, and Cardinal McCloskey councils of the Knights of Columbus, the Sisters of Life,The St. Augustine’s Holy Name Society (above), and youth groups from St. Anthony’s and St. Joseph’s churches, and Albertus Magnus High School.
The largest church group was from St. Peter’s in Haverstraw (above). About 30 adults and children arrived together and marched up Route 59 to take their place with their blue St. Peter’s Pro-Life Banner. Father Fredy Patino of St. Peter’s said that the large, diverse parish has a strong, vibrant pro-life group, and he was very happy that there were so many young people involved.
Other clergy who attended the Life Chain were Msgr. Edward Weber, pastor of St. Francis in West Nyack and Vicar of Rockland, Father Joseph Deponai, pastor of St. Anthony’s in Nanuet and chaplain of the Triune Council of the Knights of Columbus, Fathers Raj Sunkara from St. Aedan’s in Pearl River, Father George from Kingston, and Father Joseph LaMorte, pastor of St. Gregory’s in Garnerville.
The Life Chain is organized by Eileen Peterson and her group of volunteers.