Jeanmarie Grahn to be Honored at Concert for Life — Dec. 3

This year Good Counsel Homes‘ Rockland Concert for Life fundraiser will honor Jeanmarie Grahn, one of the co-founders of the Rockland Right to Life Committee. Jeanmarie has been with Rockland RTL for over 40 years and now currently serves as secretary.

Many of you have known  Jeanmarie over the years through her Right to Life work or perhaps have met her in one of the myriad of  helping roles to which she so generously gives of herself.

Whether it’s coordinating nights of food and shelter for the homeless, consoling the bereaved by helping plan funeral liturgies at her church, or stepping up to assist neighbors, friends, or  folks who may need anything from a place to stay for the weekend to a ride to the doctor or maybe  a cup of coffee and some caring companionship  — Jeanmarie is always there.

Please come to celebrate Jeanmarie, support the moms and babies of Good Counsel,  and enjoy some good music at the Concert of Life, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 1:30 pm, at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point.

As always, there’s going to be a Concert for Life commemorative journal. If you’d like to take an ad or be listed as a supporter ($10), please click here for information.concert-for-life-invite-flyer-copy

Viva la Vida!

viva-la-vidaThe 8th annual Prolife Conference, a Spanish program  by the Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Family Life/Respect Life, was held on Oct. 9 at John F. Kennedy H.S. in Somers, N.Y.

“The world needs mercy and we have to respect all forms of life.  We need to fight for our children.  The battle continues.” Those were some of the words of Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR, in his opening talks at the VIII Pro-Life Congress held on October 8th at Cardinal Hayes High School, Bronx and on the 9th at Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers.

This pro-life congress, which is primarily a full day of education on pro-life issues for the Hispanic community, was coordinated by the Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York.  The event attracted approximately 350 attendees, both days combined.  The day included workshops on euthanasia and assisted suicide, dealing with the loss of a child before birth, and the transmission of life in God’s divine plan. The two main talks by Fr.  Augustino Torres, CFR, were, “The Name of God Is Mercy” and “Saint John Paul II and the Culture of Life.” 

The underlying basic theme of the pro-life congress is that catholics are urged to be proactive in the pro-life movement and that to simply be a passive spectator is not an option.   On both days the pro-life congress began with the holy sacrifice of the mass with Auxiliary Bishop Peter Byrne of the Archdiocese of New York as the main celebrant.

Mary Loftus Named CDA ‘Woman of the Year’

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Mary Loftus, of South Nyack, has made 16 medical missions to rural Haiti providing medical care to Haitians in need.

Mary Loftus, Treasurer of the Rockland Right to Life Committee, was named Catholic Daughters of the Americas “Woman of the Year,” at the organization’s national convention in Pittsburgh this past summer.

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Mary receives her Woman of the Year award from CDA National Regent Shirley Sefried.

Mary is the Regent of the Catholic Daughters of America Court St. Anne, #866, in Piermont, N.Y. For the past seven years, along with her other charitable work, Mary has been a fundraiser and on-the-ground volunteer with the Friends of the Children of Haiti  (FOTCOH), an organization that brings healthcare and life saving support to over 15,000 Haitian patients of all ages at the FOTCOH medical clinic near Jacmel, Haiti.

At the convention — whose theme was Christ’s words “What you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me” — Mary, a nurse, gave a presentation on her medical mission work with FOTCOH.

She  told the audience, “I found out about the great need for the children of Haiti, and my heart has been in Haiti ever since; I have made 16 visits serving 2,500 in the village of my clinic.

“They walk three or four hours over mountains to come to the clinic. We have served individuals of all ages. Members of the New York courts donated over 2,000 pairs of flip flops for them.  As a nurse, I’m teaching classes for diabetes education as this is one of the most common diagnoses along with hypertension.”

Mary is also involved in making terry-cloth lined flannel diapers for the babies, and with an organization called Days for Girls,  she makes reusable personal hygiene product packages.

The “Woman of the Year” award was announced as a surprise as Mary was  walking back to her seat after she had just finished speaking. She said she was stunned and deeply touched by the honor she received — along with a check for $5,000 from the Catholic Daughters of America for FOTCOH.

Mary has personally raised $35,000 dollars over the years for FOTCOH and has organized local campaigns to collect footwear, clothes, diapers, and other needed items for the poor in Haiti. All who know her  will attest that she is an absolute dynamo of good works of all kinds, both here in Rockland — where she is a lifelong resident of Valley Cottage and the Nyacks — as well as in Haiti.

Mary is a shining example of what it means to be prolife, and we of the Rockland Right to Life Committee are very proud and grateful to have her as an officer, a co-worker and, most of all, a dear friend.

Below is the slideshow Mary presented at the Catholic Daughters of America national convention about her medical missions at the  FOTCOH clinic.

Hurricane Matthew Update:  FOTCH has reported that their clinic suffered minimal damage, and the Haitian workers and staff are all well. The Jacmel area was spared the massive flooding and mudslides other parts of Haiti are experiencing. There is water damage inside the clinic, downed trees, and washed out roads, but Mary and the rest of the November team will be able to return for their two-week mission on Nov. 6.

Click on a photo to enlarge it, and then scroll through the resulting slide show.

‘America, God Shed His Grace on Thee’

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Margie Fitton, co-founder of the Rockland Right to Life Committee, and her son, Michael, were among the worshippers at the morning of prayer for Life and America.

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.

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Fr. Brendan Gormley and Fr. Nicholas Callahan

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Newly-ordained priest Fr. John Wilson gives Eileen Peterson his “first blessing.”

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.

 

Local Writer Publishes Prolife Book

Cover imageSean Miller, a guest blogger for this website, recently published his first book, Full of Life, a collection of prolife writings. It became available on Amazon last week.

The book is meant to celebrate the Gift of Life and to provide inspiration and encouragement for all of us to stand up for life and support those in need – both the unborn baby and the mothers and fathers of the child.

Many of you know Sean, who’s been active in the prolife movement since 1994. He’s from “over the border” in Bergen County, but frequently works closely with prolife groups here in Rockland.

His 21 essays originally appeared on this website, but Full of Life presents them in one source. The essays are not intended to be biographical, but if you read them all you’ll find insights into the heart of a man who journeyed from mixed feelings about abortion as a college student to the front lines of the struggle – the sidewalk outside the abortion clinic where he strives – with never-failing love, compassion, and gentleness – to be a “last lifeline of hope” for a desperate pregnant woman about to enter its doors.

Knights Share Christmas Spirit

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Santa Claus was a welcome guest at the McCloskey #4565 Council of the Knights of Columbus’ Christmas party.

At their annual Christmas parties, two Rockland councils of the Knights of Columbus — Triune Council #2052 in Pearl River and  John Cardinal McCloskey 4565 in West Nyack —  continued their holiday tradition of presenting prolife and other charities with donations to support their good works.

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At the Triune Council #2052 Christmas Party: Augustine Paul (accepting donation for the Fr. J.B.M. Upper Primary School), Peg Beirne (Rockland Catholic Coalition). Joe Quattrocchi (Good Counsel Homes), Liz O’Brien (Rockland Right to Life), Karin Lancellotti (Birthright), Cathy McGovern (COPS Barn), Kevin McGovern, Grand Knight, Dee DeFelice, Financial Secretary, Joe Jacob (Little Servants of Divine Providence), and John Rio (Salesian Missions) and Past Grand Knight. Photo by Frank Traina

The Triune party was was held at Toner Hall at St. Margaret’s Church in Pearl River on Dec. 14

Among the local prolife groups receiving gifts from the Knights were the Rockland Right to Life Committee, Birthright of Rockland,  Good Counsel Homes in Spring Valley, and the Sisters of Life. Continue reading

Sr. Nancy Richter Honored at Concert for Life

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Chris Bell, Exec. Director of Good Counsel Homes, presents award to Sr. Nancy Richter. Host Steve Possell at podium.

Sr. Nancy Richter, OP, a dedicated prolife leader, who is moderator of the Albertus Magnus High School Pro-Life Club, was recently honored at the annual Concert for Life, at the school on Dec. 5.

Sr. Nancy, a Dominican Sister of Sparkill,  is currently in charge of the Albert Magnus Campus Ministry. She works to foster among her students an appreciation of the sanctity of life at all stages. The Pro-Life Club’s projects include a student-organized  Life Chain outside their school on Route 304 in Bardonia, annual trips to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and a Christmas fundraiser for Good Counsel. They’ve also been the largest single group in attendance at the Respect Life Sunday Life Chain on Route 59 in Nanuet for many years. Continue reading