TRUMBULL—Recognizing the power of praying the rosary and the on-going movement to repeal Roe v. Wade, parishioners from the Diocese of Bridgeport and beyond gathered at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Trumbull last Friday, braving the chill of a January afternoon to honor the unborn.
Since the annual March of Life in Washington, D.C. scheduled for January 29 will only occur virtually, Susan Monks, a Catholic Cemetery Family Counselor, coordinated this event so people locally could show their support for the pro-life cause.
“As Catholics, we believe life begins at conception. That’s why we’re here,” said Monks, welcoming those in attendance. “I thank you for coming together to stand for truth and to teach others.”
Dozens of faithful, from nearby parishes such as St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa, and St. Ann to those as far away as New Fairfield and Meriden, gathered at the Memorial to the Unborn as dusk began to fall. Students from St. Joseph High School in Trumbull carried a “March for Life” banner and signs proclaiming “Save a Beating Heart” as their chaplain Father Eric Silva led the procession in the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. Holding red carnations and flameless candles, the group wound its way through the upper section of the cemetery, praying in unison.
Father Silva, who has attended the national March for Life for at least 15 years, said smaller events like these are so important, though he wishes they did not have to exist at all. “It’s a painful reminder that the issue [of abortion] affects so many people, but we are hopeful,” he said. “We continue to pray for the conversion of our country and ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother.” As the group paused in a moment of silence, Father Silva also prayed for the holy vocation of marriage and the love of family, the greatest tools, he said, in the fight against abortion.
The March for Life in Washington typically draws a number of young people, and Monks said she was moved by all the teens and even toddlers in strollers who attended this event, along with the many adults. One four-year-old girl and her mother made a special impact on the attendees as they are living proof of the decision to choose life. Calling her “a courageous, selfless young woman,” Monks introduced Caitlin Fox who, as a senior in college, was faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Without the support of her boyfriend and family, she thought abortion was her only choice. A caring professor, who happened to be Monks’ late husband Tom, encouraged Fox to rethink that decision.
“He put into my mind another option and helped me make the most important decision of my life,” said Fox, as her daughter, also named Caitlin, stood beside her wearing pink bows in her hair and a Disney “Frozen” mask. “I hope that other people get this kind of support from loved ones and even strangers.” With an accounting degree and several part-time jobs, Fox now works to provide for her family as a single mother, confident in the choice she made four years ago.
Her story—and that of so many others—reinforces the importance of prayer and the courage to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Even as the sun set over Gate of Heaven cemetery, the 2021 March for Life theme “Together Strong—Life Unites!” shone bright in the strength of those who, as Monks said, “recognize and support life.”
By Emily Clark