BRIDGEPORT — More and more Catholics are beginning to stand against abortion as the Supreme Court considers a ruling that could weaken or overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which since 1973 has led to 63.5 million abortions in America, according to Maureen Ciardiello, Coordinator of Respect Life & Project Rachel for the Diocese of Bridgeport.
“The diocese is coming together with the ‘respect life’ people, especially in cities like Stamford, Danbury and Bridgeport,” she said, where they have stood in peaceful and prayerful witness outside abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood facilities.
Following the success of the 49th annual national March for Life on January 21, which brought tens of thousands of people to Washington DC, there will be the First Connecticut March for Life on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at the State Capitol in Hartford.
“There is a strong hope that the court will either overturn Roe or send the issue back to the states, which is a good thing because many states are already passing pro-life laws to protect the unborn,” said Ciardiello.
She cited a recent Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll that showed 71 percent of Americans support legal limits on abortion and a majority of Americans — 54% — oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. The poll also found that 81 percent of Americans believe laws can protect both the mother and her unborn child.
Among the sponsors of the Connecticut March for Life are the Connecticut Catholic Conference, March for Life Education and Defense Fund, the Family Institute of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Pregnancy Care Coalition. For more information, go to www.CTMarchforLife.org.
The itinerary is as follows:
9:30 a.m. — The doors open for a pre-march program, tentatively at Bushnell Theater at 166 Capitol Avenue in Hartford.
10 a.m.—A short pre-march program begins at the Bushnell until 11 a.m.
11:15 a.m.—The Connecticut March for Life begins at the Bushnell.
Noon—The rally begins at the State Capitol.
Ciardiello said it is important for Catholics to pray and make their voices heard because later this year the Supreme Court will announce its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an appeal by Mississippi to remove a lower court’s injunction on a law that bans most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
She praised the efforts of a pro-life group in Danbury. The contingent of 55 people came from area parishes, including St. Edward the Confessor and St. Joseph, to take part in the Pro-Life Rosary Rally in front of Planned Parenthood in Danbury on January 22, the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. The rally was organized by Eric Huff and Don Mallozzi of the Respect Life Ministry of St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield.
“It has taken quite a few years for people to get out and pray,” she said. “Now they have some really phenomenal people there, and a lot of positive things are happening. They are being peaceful and trying to help women and assist them with their needs.“
“The Sidewalk Advocates for Life are doing training,” Ciardiello added. “One or two counselors try to engage with the women and determine what they can do to help them so they will reconsider the decision to have an abortion.”
She praised the faithful who conduct vigils at the abortion clinics in Bridgeport, Stamford and Danbury. There are chapters of Sidewalk Advocates for Life in Stamford and Danbury, and she urged people to get involved in their counseling ministry, whose goal is to provide “a peaceful, prayerful, loving and law-abiding sidewalk outreach” to women and staff outside abortion facilities so they can pursue “life-affirming alternatives.”
Anyone interested in training (virtually or otherwise), with or without joining the Danbury chapter, or in the work of the group should contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Sidewalk Advocates for Life website for further information.
Even though they could not attend the Washington march, Catholics throughout the diocese attended prayer services on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Ciardiello said.
Parishioners from St. Theresa Parish in Trumbull had Mass and Eucharistic adoration, and people prayed in front of Planned Parenthood on Main Street, Bridgeport. They were joined by Fr. Elio Sosa, pastor of St. Ann Church in Bridgeport.
The Parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull held its annual Holy Hour for Life. During Eucharistic Adoration, they prayed a Pro-Life Scriptural Rosary, concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
In Stamford, at St. Bridget of Ireland Church, a large group, which included young adults and youth, did a rosary procession to Planned Parenthood and then returned to the parish, she said.
“People are getting out there peacefully and prayerfully,” Ciardiello said. “More and more people are recognizing the importance of speaking up in a prayerful response. It is important legislatively to express our opinions, but we must also have a prayerful response to what is going on and to continue to encourage people. Some are very intimidated, and we want to encourage them to reach out to local groups. They can also reach out to me.”
She praised the pro-life efforts at St. Theresa in Trumbull, St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull, St. Aloysius in New Canaan, St. Rose of Lima in Newtown, the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, and St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield.
“It is so important that we persevere in prayer and make our voices heard in opposition to abortion to protect the lives of babies and to help mothers who are faced with the decision,” said Ciardiello. “Prayer goes a long way, and I hope more parishes start to do Holy Hours for Life. People should continue praying for an end to abortion even if they can’t get to a Holy Hour. Pray a rosary, fast, do some penance or offer up good works.”
Ciardiello also coordinates Project Rachel, a ministry of the Catholic Church that offers a program to help post-abortive women in the healing process. For more information, contact Ciardiello by phone at (203) 416-1445 or email at email@example.com