The eighth graders of the Regional Catholic Schools of Rockland County celebrated their annual ‘Rose Mass’ to give thanks to God for the gift of human life. The mass took place at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern on Jan. 27, the day of the March for Life in Washington D.C.
The celebrant was the pastor of Sacred Heart, Rev. Matthew J. Furey. Concelebrants were: Rev. Innocent Nwachukwu of Sacred Heart, Rev. John Gruben of Tagaste Monastery, Rev. Cresus Fernando of St. Anthony’s, Rev. Roman Palecko of St. Paul and St. Ann, Rev. Joseph P. LaMorte, pastor of St. Gregory’s, and Rev. Eric Raaser, pastor of St. Margaret’s. Deacon John Sadowski of Immaculate Conception Church assisted.
In his homily, Fr. Matthew asked the students to be champions of Life. “Each and every one of us is destined by God to do something wonderful for our world,” he said. From the first moment conception, each baby in the womb is made in the image of God, he continued, and has received God’s gift of life, filled with beauty and divine purpose.
At the Presentation of the Gifts of bread and wine, a procession of students carried red roses which symbolized the beauty of God’s gift of life. They were placed before a statue of the Blessed Mother, whose consent at the Annunciation and motherhood help us understand the sacredness of the very beginning of life, as Jesus was once Himself an unborn child.
Also present at the mass were sisters from the Sisters of Life, whose motherhouse is in nearby Montebello. Sr. Bethany Madonna gave a beautiful talk to the students at the conclusion of the mass, reminding them that our worth and value comes by being loved by God. And if we turn to Him to guide our decisions, she said, He’ll give us the strength we need to do what He’s calling us to do. Sister told two stories of young women who thought abortion was the only answer, but who received the grace to put their trust in God and bring their child into the world.