Celebrating the Sanctity of Life

By Dorothy Sysak

On Friday, January   22, 1993, the 20th Annual March for Life will be held at our nation’s Capitol.   It will begin after the inauguration of the President and the opening of the   102nd Congress.

For the past several years,   the parish of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, PA has participated   in this march and celebrated the Sanctity of Life as follows:

Shortly before the beginning   of the Divine Liturgy on Sanctity of Life Sunday (the Sunday preceding the March),   the teen class from church school presents a dozen longstem red roses to our   priest, Fr. Daniel Ressetar. This takes place in front of the sanctuary. The   roses are then placed on the ambo table in the center of the church. The petitions   and prayers during the litany are remembrances of those departed souls of the   children whose lives have been taken by abortion. God’s design, the Sanctity   of Life, is reaffirmed. March for Life pamphlets and literature are distributed   to all the parishioners.

One year, the teens additionally   sent a $3 rose message - a letter and a single rose - to each of their Congressmen.   The letter asked the Congressmen to sponsor and to support pro-life bills during   the year ahead. (This is an ongoing activity. Information about sending a rose   message can be had from the March for Lire address at the end of the article.)


On the morning of the March   for Life, a gathering of Orthodox Christians of all ages meet and, wearing a   red rose, travel together by bus or car to Washington, D.C. We join there, under   the icon banner of the Theotokos, with our Pan Orthodox bishops, clergy and   a representation of marchers including mothers and fathers with babies in arm   and/or strollers, children and teens carrying icons, parents and grandparents.   We joyously sing hymns of the Orthodox Church as we make our way to the Supreme   Court building.

As we stand and face the edifice,   we are led in a litany of prayer by our bishops and clergy, remembering again   the departed babies taken by abortion and singing for them Memory Eternal. In   this way we proclaim the Sanctity of Life as given to us by God, our Creator.

We return with feelings of   being strengthened in our stand through this march for the Sanctity of Life.   We pray to God to show us ways to express our concern.


Near Harrisburg, in Middletown   there is a home for unwed mothers called “New Beginnings Maternity Home.”   Several times a year contributions of food, clothing and money that the church   has collected are taken to this center. We are grateful to these young women   who choose life for their child, and we thank God for this means we have found   to support them.

Our priest, Fr. Dan, is actively   involved in attending Pro-Life functions and he makes these activities known   to the parish. He often responds to Letters to the Editor that are written on   this topic in the newspaper.

Our participation   has also included the following:

In May   - On Mother’s Day, the Harrisburg newspaper runs a list of names of people who   support the Sanctity of Life. For a contribution, your name can be listed, and   the proceeds are donated to the pro-life movement. A number of parishioners   use this opportunity to donate and be listed.

In September   - The annual “Walk for Love” for the New Beginnings Maternity   Home is held. Pledges gathered by the walkers are given to the home.

In October   - National Life-Chain Day takes place. People holding the Pro-Life   banner, stand silently along the roadsides.

Matthew 25:40 “As you   did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

Addresses   for More Information

March for   Life
  Box 90300
  Washington, DC 20090
  Phone: (202) LIFE-337
  FAX: (202)543-8202

The National   Right to Life Committee
  512 10th St. NW
  Washington, DC 20004
  (202) 626-8800
  NRLC News Contact: David Andrusko, Editor

Orthodox   Christians for Life
  PO Box 805
  Melville, NY 11477
  (516) 271-4408

Dorothy Sysak   is an active member of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, PA.   She has been a church school teacher and presently she represents the Church   as a member of the Social Ministry Committee of the Central PA Council of Churches.

Taken   from the OCA Resource   Handbook for Lay Ministries