JACKSON HEIGHTS — Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio joined a group of about 50 pro-life activists on Sept. 21 for Mass and Holy Adoration at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Jackson Heights, followed by a rosary march to a local abortion clinic in the neighborhood, all part of the monthly rally organized by Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.
“It’s important to pray for an end of abortion, and to support doing the people who are doing this every month,” Bishop DiMarzio said, holding his rosary.
While crossing the bustling streets and sidewalks, Bishop DiMarzio and marchers prayed the rosary, chanting “Jesus, protector, save the unborn” after each decade, followed by a spiritual hymn and moment of silence.
As onlookers watched, the pro-life advocates stopped in front of Choice Gynecological Services, kneeling on the sidewalk to pray along a busy stretch of Roosevelt Avenue.
“It’s very moving — we can’t change people’s minds, but God can. So prayer is all that we have in the end,” said Michael Shoule, a member of the Knights of Columbus and a parishioner at American Martyrs Church in Bayside. “That’s why we stand by and be a witness… and people driving or walking by, they get curious.”
Wearing a “Choose Life” prayer hat, Shoule has been coming to the monthly prayer marches for the past year with his girlfriend Karina Bermejo from St. Saviour Parish, Park Slope.
“If you change one person’s heart, you have no idea what effect that has down the line,” Shoule said.
Helpers of God’s Precious Infants was founded in 1989 by Msgr. Philip J. Reilly from the Monastery of the Precious Blood, Fort Hamilton. The organization holds monthly prayer marches with parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn. It aims to be present at, and eventually close, all abortion clinics in Brooklyn and Queens.
By praying outside the clinics in peaceful prayer, marchers also hope to directly reach pregnant women and staff who work at the clinics, to make the women and workers stop and rethink their decision — and eventually, call enough public attention to shutter the clinics.
“Our goal is not only to save the babies, it’s to bring people to Christ. Our job is to save souls, to change hearts,” said Kevin Moore, a parishioner of St. Stanislaus Kostka, Maspeth, and treasurer of Helper of God’s Precious Infants. “There is nothing worse than killing innocent human lives.”
The next monthly prayer vigil and procession will take place Oct. 19 at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Jamaica.