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 TO WASHINGTON
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.
HOME FOR UNWED MOTHERS
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
Washington, DC 20090
Phone: (202) LIFE-337
Right to Life Committee
512 10th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
NRLC News Contact: David Andrusko, Editor
Christians for Life
PO Box 805
Melville, NY 11477
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