Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Persistent Prayer Pays Off for Life

For the past 23 years, you always knew where you could find Mike Marino in the morning. He would be standing on the corner of Third Ave. and 42nd St. in Sunset Park — praying. It didn’t matter what day of the week or what month it was. Mike was there, fingering his Rosary beads and offering help to those questioning their pregnancy.

Later he would be joined by Msgr. Philip Reilly and Rose Diaz. They all prayed that the doctors and staff who worked at the Brooklyn Ambulatory Surgery Center at that site would have a change of mind about performing abortions there.

“Today I feel good,” said Mike last Saturday. Of course, it was his feast day, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. It also was his birthday. He turned 85. And it was the day when he and his friends from the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants were participating in a Mass that marked the end of abortion at Brooklyn Ambulatory. (See news story on Page 3.)

“It took a long time,” said Mike with a smile.

Msgr. Reilly was the homilist at the Mass. He proclaimed the day a great victory for life. Rose Diaz couldn’t be present because she was offering counseling to women at another clinic in another neighborhood of Brooklyn.

After Mass, Mike held court outside St. Michael’s Church on Fourth Ave., telling stories about the turnarounds and the wins for life that he had witnessed. He recalled the mother who one day didn’t take the literature he was handing out. She told him that she already had the material from 16 years prior. And she proudly told Mike that her daughter was 16 years old now and doing well.

Another time, Mike was getting his car fixed in a local mechanic shop when he noticed a teenage girl’s photo on the wall. Mike said that she looked familiar. The mechanic replied, “She should be. You’re the reason she’s alive today.”

And there was the time that a young woman walked out of the clinic after deciding not to have an abortion. She walked over to Mike and simply hugged him. It was all she had to do. No words were necessary!

Mike has been there so long that he remembered when the clinic was located a few blocks away on 39th St. That building was a converted slaughterhouse for animals that had been turned into a slaughterhouse for babies. It moved to the newly constructed building in 1994. The Helpers followed and continued to pray.

It hasn’t been easy. Mike, Msgr. Reilly, a number of bishops, hundred of parishioners from St. Michael’s, all have endured the wind and the cold, not to mention the jeers and taunts of the pro-abortion demonstrators. On Good Friday, they would keep a 24-hour vigil at the place they considered a present-day Calvary.

For many years, even the New York City Council got into the act and tried to send Mike and the monsignor to jail for harassment. It was nonsense. The council tried passing laws to make the Helpers go home. But Kathleen O’Connell Murphy took up the case and donated her time to defend the pro-lifers. Their constitutional rights to pray where they wished was upheld.

“This is done now,” said Mike, as he prepared to walk away from St. Michael’s church.

Asked what he would do now with his time, Mike replied, “Monsignor has reassigned me to pray outside Kings County Hospital.”

The fight for life continues peacefully and prayerfully.