Pro-Life Chain forms in Longmeadow
(Photos by Elizabeth Begley)
By Jeremiah Begley
LONGMEADOW – For occupants of the cars passing St. Mary Church on Saturday morning, the drive down Longmeadow Street had an unusual feature: a group of more than two dozen people smiling, waving, and wearing pro-life placards around their necks. These demonstrators formed this year’s Pioneer Valley Life Chain, an annual event sponsored by the Longmeadow Chapter of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life and the St. Mary Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Many motorists responded to signs reading “WE CHOOSE LIFE” and “ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN” with honks and friendly waves, although some made gestures of disapproval. The demonstrators, who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, maintained a joyful attitude throughout the hour-long vigil.
For Tony Moran, the Life Chain's coordinator, the event has a twofold purpose. First and foremost, said Moran, "We want people to be aware of the plight of the unborn. We want to get it on their radar screen." At the same time, he noted, "People who are participating...also get their energy involved, so they realize, too, there's a lot of work we've got to do."
Others in attendance expressed similar motives. Mary Patryn, a married mother of six children, spoke for her whole family in saying that “we think it’s extremely important to stand out there and let people see that many of us really do stand up for life.” Danny Rivers, a 17-year-old senior at Cathedral High School, said he wanted to “help influence people” and “save...children’s lives.” Rivers has been involved in the pro-life movement since his childhood, and “likes picketing for it.” Both Patryn and Rivers plan to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 22, 2014.
Moran, for his part, hopes to see higher attendance at future Life Chain rallies. “If more people could give us an hour and a half on this one Saturday a year,” he said, “the message would get out, people would become aware of it. Eventually, hearts will be changed.”
Moran’s predictions gain credence from data on public opinion; according to national Gallup polls, despite abortion’s protected status in United States law and jurisprudence, the percentage of Americans considering themselves “pro-life” has actually increased, rising from 33 percent in 1995 all the way to 48 percent in May of this year.