Solemn prayer vigils were conducted at similar memorials and gravesites across the country on this day to honor our aborted brothers and sisters, most of whom never have a final resting place.
The service at the Marian Shrine was conducted by Rev. Thomas Ruekert, of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and a visiting priest, assisted by Deacon Bob Pang from St. John the Baptist Church in Piermont, with an honor guard from the Knights of Columbus.
The National Day of Remembrance of Aborted Children is co-sponsored each year on the second Saturday in September by the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life, and the Pro-Life Action League. (Photos by Robert Pang)
Starting the July 4th Independence Day holiday with a morning of prayer for our nation has become a tradition at the Mary Help of Christians Chapel at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point. With plenty of time left in the day for barbecues and fireworks, hundreds first come here to ask God for his blessing and healing for America, its leaders and its people, and to pray for a restoration of respect for the gift of Life.
The morning included mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and recitation of the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. The concelebrants were three priests who are known for their prolife efforts in Rockland: Fr. Nicholas Callahan, formerly of St. Catherine’s in Blauvelt and now studying canon law in Rome, Fr. Brendan Gormley of St.Anthony’s in Yonkers, and Fr. John Wilson of St. Gregory’s in Garnerville.
The main celebrant and homilist was Fr. Nicholas who spoke about why the prolife movement has reason for hope, even in the face of recent Supreme Court rulings against us. Drawing a comparison between the impact of death and horror on the battlefield and the response to the slaughter of millions by abortion, he said that there eventually comes a point of great “discouragement and exhaustion” against the familiarity of “blood, futility, suffering, and death.” That happens, he said, because we are made to love life, and it’s “what the human soul wants to have.” There will be a turning point where the cause for life will prevail.
And also, he noted, from a theological point of view, the battle against evil has already been won on the Cross, where we find in Christ the “grace to repair every heart and heal every wound.”
At the end of mass, the crowd lined up in the vestibule to receive the “first blessing” from Fr. John Wilson, who was recently ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
This annual morning of prayer, sponsored by the Rockland County Catholic Coalition and the Helpers of Gods’ Precious Infants, has become an occasion where many who have spent decades in the prolife movement get the chance to see each other again. Margie Fitton, co-founder of Rockland Right to Life and past president, was among the worshippers. Eileen Peterson was organist and led the choir.
Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in America in 1973, was marked by a Rose Mass held at St. Anthony’s Church in Nanuet.
The main celebrant was Rev. Gerry Deponai, pastor of St. Anthony’s. The two concelebrants were Msgr. Emmet Nevin, pastor of St. Aedan’s in Pearl River and Dean of Rockland County, and Rev. Joseph LaMorte, pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville.
The Rose Mass, held each year on Jan. 22, is a special prolife mass for eighth graders from the county’s Catholic elementary schools. This year the mass was attended by students from St. Anthony’s, St. Gregory’s, Sacred Heart in Suffern, St. Paul’s in Congers, and St. Margaret’s in Pearl River, along with Novitiate sisters from the Sisters of Life in Montebello, and the public.
A vase of long-stemmed, red roses stood on a table near the altar. “The rose,” Fr. Gerry said in his homily, “reminds us of the power of God, who gives us love and beauty.”
“We pray,” he continued, “that each and every human conceived will have the chance for life and the chance to bloom into the person God wants them to be.”
Prolife advocates in Rockland County gathered today for a prayer rally outside the Spring Valley Planned Parenthood office on Perlman Drive. The event was sponsored by The Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians in solidarity with similar rallies, vigils, and protests being held in over 300 cities around the country today in the wake of the release of shocking undercover videos showing the abortion giant to be involved in the business of selling fetal body parts.
As reported by LifeNews, the online prolife news site, organizer Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League said, “These videos are exposing the American people to the truth about Planned Parenthood and the truth about abortion. How can you deny the humanity of a tiny person whose body parts are being harvested for medical use? Worse yet, how can you make jokes about it, like the Planned Parenthood doctors do in these videos? It’s time to cease all taxpayer funding of this corrupt organization.”
The program in Rockland began with prayer petitions for the unborn, those considering abortion, and those working for the abortion industry, and for the continued strength and commitment for all in the prolife movement. This was followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary led by Deacon Rob Pang from St. John’s Church in Piermont and others.
Hundreds of cars passed the prayer site with its many signs bearing prolife messages during the course of the two-hour vigil.
Eileen Peterson, the coordinator of Rockland’s 40 Days for Life campaign, noted that, appropriately, this day — August 22 — was the “Feast of the Queenship of Mary” and also the sixth anniversary of the death of Msgr. John Harrington, former vicar of Rockland and prolife leader, who was arrested several times for peaceably trying to save unborn babies and who was instrumental in closing an abortion clinic that used to exist in the county.
The vigil concluded with a prayer led by Richard Bruno, of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians, consecrating to Our Lady all efforts to end abortion and the culture of death fostered by Planned Parenthood.and similar organizations.
The annual 4th of July morning of prayer for Life and for America was held at the Marian Shrine (The Salesian National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians) at Stony Point yesterday. The Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was followed by Mass at noon. Concelebrants were Fr. Brendan Gormley, of St. Barnabas in the Bronx, and Fr. Nicholas Callahan, formerly of St. Catherine’s in Blauvelt and now studying canon law in Rome. While serving in Rockland, both priests were active in the prolife movement here.
Also part of the morning of prayer were Fr. John Palatucci and seminarian John Wilson from St. Paul’s in Congers. Mr. Wilson is slated to be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York next year.
In his homily, Fr. Brendan noted that the greatest challenge of our spiritual life is to “become who we are” — and that is the Body of Christ. Nobody’s quite there yet, he said, but the way to acheive this goal is to give God permission to take over and lead us — by prayer, fasting, and giving up some of the harmless things that nevertheless distract us from Him.
Likewise, with America, Fr. Brendan continued. It is our great and beloved country, but it’s not perfect either, having moved God aside to allow secularism to substitute for God’s truth.
But in spite of our country’s failings — among which are the 53 million unborn children who have been have been aborted since 1973 — we must remember that God is still in charge and that He will triumph, he said.
Keeping in mind the two great miracles of God’s love for us, his resurrection to new life and the gift of Himself through the Eucharist, and with the help of his faithful mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, we can become the people we were called to be — and the nation we were meant to be, Father Brendan concluded.