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Prayerfully protesting for life

October 25, 2023

By Mary Beth Bracy, consecrated virgin
Contributing writer

On October 1, dozens gathered in prayer – peacefully holding signs and silently bearing witness by their presence – at the annual Life Chain on Smithfield Boulevard in Plattsburgh.

“Prayer is really powerful to help,” shared Father Michael Marzan, parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish in Plattsburgh.

“Every little bit helps,” Father Normand C. Cote, a retired priest of the diocese, echoed.

Those present reflected on the gift of God’s creation.

“God has grace us with a beautiful day. I’m glad to be here for it,” commented Toni Krupka of St. Alexander’s in Morrisonville.

“This is such a nice warm day,” added Pat Carey of Rouses Point. “More people should be here. We’ve got a nice group. It’s been work – the fight here in Plattsburgh. It’s been 50 years. They signed the bill when my son was born. He was ten weeks early and I almost didn’t have him. He’s a physician’s assistant now.”

Christians from other denominations attended the event as well.

Nancy Buckpitt, a Morrisonville resident, attends First Assembly of God Church in Plattsburgh.

“I think this is a wonderful thing,” she said. “People have to realize this that once they’ve had a sexual relationship, it’s not a choice. I also know personally the suffering of women who have had abortions, and that suffering doesn’t go away unless you have Jesus in your life.”

Rhonda Van Etten held a beautiful homemade sign that read “Every Life Deserves a Lifetime.”

“I prayed on it on my drive from Altona,” she commented.

Mary LeClair of Plattsburgh noted why she attended the Life Chain as well.

“I’m praying that abortion will be stopped and we can reach out to others and make them realize what they are doing is wrong – that God will forgive them of their sin,” she said.

“The ‘Lord, Forgive Us and Our Nation’ sign is appropriate,” added Sarah Miner of Plattsburgh. “It is sins such as this that our country needs to repent for. He’s a merciful God and a patient God but He has limits as to how far things go.”

“I do believe in the Right to Life. It’s the only way to go. That’s why the world is in such a bad state,” explained Barbara LaBombard, who attends St. Joseph’s in West Chazy and St. Patrick’s in Rouses Point. Fellow parishioner Joseph Favro added, “We just keep praying for those (who have left) to come back to the Church. We can’t do any more than pray. We’ve had a nice turnout.”

Nancy Belzile, Champlain Valley Right to Life president, shared, “I’m doing a Bible study for post-abortive women through AscentCare in Saranac Lake, a crisis pregnancy medical center. They have doctors and nurses on staff. They do abortion pill reversal and saved a baby through that last year.”

Belzile has previously taken part in Rachel’s Vineyard, the first offering for post-abortive women in our diocese, that was held in 2007; Lumina, a day of prayerful remembrance, and a healing retreat.

“There is no end to healing,” she explained. “It’s a continuous journey. We have to keep going – move forward. It affects so many facets of our lives. God is good.”

At the heart of the pro-life message is respect, as Sister Jackie Sellappan, a Sister of the Cross of Chavanod and pastoral associate at Holy Cross Parish, testified. “Respect God, respect myself. Why am I on this earth? The body is the chalice. As a woman, it is my beauty. When I start admiring beauty, I am a chalice but used only for the holiness of God. We don’t use the chalice for any other purpose than Mass. My body is holy, sacred. Within that is what I see in others. I use them only for a holy and sacred purpose.”

When a woman is pregnant, Sister Jackie elaborated, “She can say ‘God is loving me and giving me another chalice.’ If I respect the big body than I respect a little one. Miracles take place. Christ is in us – we receive the Eucharist and become a ciborium.”

Religious sisters and priests are spiritual mothers and fathers, she added.

When she lived in Watertown, Sister Jackie said they would say the Rosary from morning until early afternoon in front of the abortion clinic during the whole month of October. In Norwich, they used to march around the whole city with signs.

Emily Rendinaro, a parishioner of Holy Cross Parish who attends St. Peter’s in Plattsburgh, provided a young adult’s perspective.

“Adoption is the loving option for women who are raped or too young,” she said. “Hopefully in other third world countries there are adoption centers people can go to. It’s a sad reality.”

Still, Rendinaro believes that there is hope.

“Despite what was going on, I just felt God’s presence and Our Blessed Mother’s presence and how powerful our prayers are,” she said. “If someone has had an abortion and goes to God for forgiveness, He will forgive them.”

Referring to those in their 20s, Rendinaro added about those in her generation, “People who don’t have God and the Blessed Mother in their lives – I feel sorry for them. A lot of people don’t know God is real. I feel sad for all the lost souls. They are just lost. The world just needs more Jesus and Mary.”

Motherhood has been a transformative experience for Rendinaro.

“I didn’t know myself until I knew my child,” she said. “I didn’t know what love was until I met him. When I was pregnant, I re-gave myself to Jesus and Mary. When I was pregnant, I loved my baby so much that I loved myself; I wanted to lead my son in the right way.”

As Linda Griffin reflected, “It’s clear that life begins in the womb and is the vision for the next generation.”

Champlain Valley Right to Life will also be hosting Peace in the Womb, Christmas Caroling outside at 66 Brinkerhoff Street, Plattsburgh on Monday, December 18. All are invited to come anytime between 10am-2pm. For more information or updates, please visit: www.CVRTLNy.com

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