Life support

Utica_March___Notre_Dame_students_BW

MUtica_March___Notre_Dame_students_BWass to Celebrate Life and Rosary Procession held at Holy Trinity Church

By Claudia Mathis
SUN staff writer

UTICA — Hundreds of people were inspired by Father Philip Hearn’s homily at the Mass to Celebrate Life which was held at Holy Trinity Church on May 15. Father Hearn, pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption/St. Peter’s Church in Rome, spoke about the importance of prayer in order to preserve the value of life.

The people who attended included adults, children and close to 100 students from Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School and Rome Catholic School.

Father Arthur Hapanowicz, Father Joseph Salerno, Father Joseph Zareski and Father Gregory Kreinheder were just a few of the priests that concelebrated the Mass.

Father Hearn stressed the importance of praying each day in order to remain spiritually and emotionally strong amidst the continual tides of change in today’s world. “One thing that is constant in life is change,” said Father Hearn. “However, the rate at which change occurs has accelerated in our modern world as a result of scientific and technological innovation. Such rapid change and the necessity to adapt to it can trigger feelings of internal duress in the best of people.”

Father Hearn said that because society has changed so rapidly, the sense of the value of life has been lost. He said that is why abortion is still legally available on-demand. “Over a million innocent tiny girls and boys are still being slaughtered every year in the U.S. alone — 3,300 of them every day,” said Father Hearn.

The Mass concluded with Father Hearn’s reflections about turning to Jesus in prayer. “The more we develop a close friendship with Jesus, especially through prayer and Eucharist — placing our cares and concerns into his hands — the more we can experience the blessings of peace, joy and fulfillment in our changing lives,” he said.

Patricia Iagnocco, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s/St. Patrick’s in Utica, has been attending the Mass to Celebrate Life and Rosary Procession for the last four years. “It sparks my faith in the sense of hope and joy to see the faith of the other people when I attend,” said Iagnocco. “I’m involved with Formation for Ministry and I feel I can bring this experience back to the people in the group and invite them to come to this next year.”

After the Mass, the participants walked to the Planned Parenthood offices while reciting the rosary. Father Gregory Kreinheder, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica, led the procession and, at its conclusion, he told of how he was born because his mother refused to have an abortion. His mother had experienced complications in her pregnancy and her doctor had urged her to have an abortion. She refused to have one.

Devin Christman, a freshman at Rome Catholic School, attended the Mass and march for the first time. “I thought it was peaceful and it was for a good cause,” he said. “I’m pro-life. I think abortions are horrible. We need to give babies a chance to live.”

Christine Greco, a parishioner at St. Mark’s in Utica, was visibly moved after the march. “My neighbor, who is the director of Planned Parenthood, was standing on the porch of the Planned Parenthood building,” said Grecian. “It broke my heart to see her — she is a lovely woman and I don’t want to see her suffer at judgment time — I’m frightened for her. I came today for that reason and also because I feel we need to let our light shine out in the open — I don’t want to hide my feelings for life.”

Kasia Kozak, a Notre Dame 10th grader, agreed. “It’s important to show that we don’t want abortion to happen.”

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