October 11, 2013

Despite weather, hundreds take part in Respect Life Mass and Life Chain

Sara Cabrera, left, Maria Hernandez, Daniel Cabrera and Josefina Garcia, all members of St. Ann Parish in Indianapolis, participate in the Life Chain on Meridian Street in Indianapolis following the Respect Life Sunday Mass on Oct. 6. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Sara Cabrera, left, Maria Hernandez, Daniel Cabrera and Josefina Garcia, all members of St. Ann Parish in Indianapolis, participate in the Life Chain on Meridian Street in Indianapolis following the Respect Life Sunday Mass on Oct. 6. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The bright orange stood out in the gray and cool dampness of the day, making the message on the shirt all the more clear: “One in four will never be born.”

Such was the somber message of the Central Indiana Life Chain shirts worn by people along Meridian Street in Indianapolis on Oct. 6, Respect Life Sunday, as Catholics and other Christians gathered for an hour to pray for an end to abortion and other threats to the sanctity of life.

The Life Chain followed the Respect Life Sunday Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, celebrated by Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, and attended by an estimated 600 people.

Rebecca Niemerg, pro-life and family ministries director for the archdiocese, thanked those in attendance for coming out despite the weather.

“Today’s Respect Life Sunday Mass and Life Chain provide a beautiful opportunity to both pray and witness to our commitment as an archdiocese to build a culture of life and civilization of love,” she said. “Thank you to all who braved the rain and cool weather to participate in today’s activities.”

During the homily at the Mass, Bishop Coyne advised the congregation to “remember that the virtues like patience and charity are habits of the soul that we develop by practice.

He encouraged those attending the liturgy “to see the moments when charity or patience is being tested not so much as a trial to overcome, but an opportunity to embrace.

“If we want to move mountains—like moving the culture of death in which we find our country to a culture of life—then we better move molehills too, like the small moments of our everyday lives.

“If we start with the little hills … the small moments,” said Bishop Coyne, “to be loving and kind and patient and faith-filled, and [if we] are, as Blessed Teresa [of Calcutta] said, faithful in small things, we will find that the mountains may not be so hard to move after all.”

Mariajosé Maldonado moved small hills of time in her schedule, giving up time when she could earn money to instead volunteer for Birthline. For her sacrifice and caring, the Lumen Christi Catholic High School senior and member of St. Patrick Parish in Indianapolis received the Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award at the end of the Mass.

An award was also given to Angela Walker, who received the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect Life Award. Walker’s volunteer efforts in the pro-life cause over the last decade have included starting and currently co-chairing a Gabriel Project chapter at St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis; praying at the Planned Parenthood abortion center at Georgetown Road and 86th Street in Indianapolis during the 40 Days for Life campaigns; serving as a foster parent to numerous children over the years with her husband, Tom; and currently volunteering as vice president of the Central Indiana Life Chain, which organized the prayer event that followed the Respect Life Mass.

Ready for rain, the participants were mostly granted a reprieve as the skies held back all but a short sprinkle during the gathering.

Individuals, families, priests, religious brothers and sisters and groups prayed and held signs in their stand for life.

“I’m here to pray specifically for those who work in the [abortion] industry,” said Michael Dotson, a member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis.

“I pray at the Planned Parenthood [facility] in Bloomington every Thursday. For a year now, I’ve exchanged words with a lady who works there.

“This past Thursday, she asked me to pray for her to find another job. She was crying, God bless her. So I want to pray for her and those working in [the abortion industry] to find other jobs.”

Members of Catholic high schools around Indianapolis participated, including the pro-life club at Bishop Chatard High School.

The event was a first for freshman Luke Mark, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis.

“I think it will be a good way to stand up for the unborn and against the death penalty. Jesus died on the cross for us, so I think we can do this.”

His classmate, Mary Meloy, chose to participate in the Life Chain to make a statement.

“More people [participating in the Life Chain] will make a bigger stand,” said Mary, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. “I think it’s good for us to be doing things like this, and for others to see that we believe in it.”

While it didn’t rain, the weather was cool. But many deemed it of little consequence.

“I think it’s worth it,” said Carenci Segovia, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Indianapolis. “Our prayer and this event are going to benefit the world and the community.”

Pat Vesper, co-chair of the pro-life committee at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, said she has prayed outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis “in rain, snow, freezing weather. You just do it.

“Rain and nasty weather doesn’t keep us Hoosier Catholics from praying for our babies.” †

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