Oct. 13-19, 2005
Several parishoners recite the rosary with Fr. Amedeo Guida at St. Daniel Church in Syracuse on Sancity of Life Sunday, Oct. 2
By Sara Vollmer/ SUN contributing writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
One hundred pairs of hands clutched crosses, some in the traditional black and others in colors such as pink and white, late Sunday afternoon at St. Daniel Church in Syracuse. The prayers of these people were joined simultaneously with prayers from millions of members of the World Apostolate of Fatima across the world.
Sunday, Oct. 2, was Sanctity of Life Day, the most widespread day of world prayer. The prayers were to be focused on natural death and respect for life from beginning to end. The goal of the World Apostolate of Fatima was to send 100,000,000 prayers to God for peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. The World Apostolate of Fatima was created in the U.S. by Father Harold Colgan in 1947. Originally called The Blue Army, it later became known as the World Apostolate as it spread. There are millions of members and national centers in many different countries, including the U.S., which has headquarters in Washington, N.J. Every state has a division; in fact, each diocese is encouraged to have one. The mission of this organization is to promote the rosary, Eucharistic prayer and penance by Our Blessed Mother’s request.
Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy, in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, requesting help to save souls and bring peace to the world. She told them that “war is punishment from God for sin,” and that God would punish the world in this way unless people listen to and obey His command. The Catholic Church has endorsed the Fatima message since 1930. The three relics present at Sunday’s Mass included those from Jacinta and Franciso, as well as St. Padre Pio, an Italian priest devoted to Our Lady of Fatima.
International headquarters for the World Apostolate are in Fatima, Portugal at the Blue Army Guest House, Domus Pacis (House of Peace), where the sanctity of life statue, Mary, the Mother of Life Within, was to be moved to on Sunday after its dedication at the Blue Army National Shrine. The second of these two statues was dedicated at the National Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington, N.J. The statue, created by the Birchfield Design Group, Inc. and artist Joe DeVito, shows Mary holding the baby Jesus and is symbolic of the bond between mother and child and the value of human life. After recitation of the rosary, Msgr. Eugene M. Yennock, pastor of St. Daniel, gave a presentation on the Sanctity of Life. He began by making a mark with a pen on a white board, asking whether or not anyone could see it. He paused before saying it didn’t matter if one could see it or not, it was still there, and that a human embryo is relatively the same size as the dot he had made.
“Once a dot begins to exist, you have a total human being,” he said. Msgr. Yennock explained how an embryo’s heart begins to beat within four days, and after seven, it is responsive to pain, touch, cold, sound and light. Every stage of development, from a six-week-old embryo to a six-month-old fetus, he explained, is a stage of development for an already existing human being. Many people do not think a fetus is human until it looks human, he said, adding, “Thank God we have technology to help us recognize that a human being is growing in its mother’s womb so we can protect it.”
Abortion was the main focus of his presentation. Msgr. Yennock told a story of a local girl who created a pamphlet about abortion for a school project. She had gone to a website that showed graphic images of this procedure and put them in her pamphlet with a warning on the front of it. Of course, every single member of the class opened and looked. At the end of the day, Msgr. Yennock said, there was “not a pro-choicer left in the room.” This topic affects many young adults and teens, which was evidenced by the number of youth present for the Mass. Msgr. Yennock announced that if one was born after 1973 (during Roe vs. Wade) that he or she is a survivor of a holocaust of this generation. One third of all babies conceived after that date, he said, have been aborted.
“God has sent millions of men and women into the world with gifts. You are messengers to the world,” he said, describing how many singular people have made a difference in all areas of life, including art and science. “If we had aborted any one of them, we would not have as much beauty or as many conveniences today,” he said, fearing future messengers are being killed, messengers who could possibly cure cancer someday. Msgr. Yennock promoted two websites, www.lovematters.com, a site that talks about love, chastity and abortion, and www.teensforlife.com, which is about making a difference in the pro-life movement.
The presentation ended with the slogan from the second website: “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for believers in your speech, your conduct, your faith, love and purity.” (1 Tim. 4:11-16).