Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

crosses 3515 webParishioners hold candles during a prayer vigil recently in the ‘Crosses for Life’ cemetery that they helped erect on All Saints Day at St. Mary Parish Center in Windsor Locks. From left are Jim Loughran, pro-life committee member and catechist; Maria Loughran, 12th grade assistant catechist; Taylor Adams and Hannah Farr, ninth grade confirmation students; and Marilyn Stratton, director of religious education. (Photo by Karen O. Bray)

WINDSOR LOCKS – Ninety simple crosses, each a stark reminder of 630,000 aborted babies, were erected on All Saints Day at St. Mary Parish Center.

Churchgoers and passers-by, including visitors to the town hall across the street, were reminded throughout November of the 57 million abortions performed in our country through last year. Many noticed this “cemetery of the innocent.”

“Oh yes, they do stop on the sidewalk to read the signs to see what it’s all about. It’s been going on all month, just about every day out here,” said director of religious education (DRE) Marilyn Stratton about the “Crosses for Life” display just outside her office. “And if they’re driving by, many back up to look.”

The project was the result of several weeks of hard work by a couple of parishioners, the Pro-Life Committee and religious education administrators, catechists and students. Its purpose was to promote awareness of and serve as a memorial to the 4,000 babies aborted every day in the United States since 1973.

The idea to bring the Crosses for Life to Windsor Locks was the brainchild of Mary and Mike Kreuzer, who had seen a similar project while traveling to St. Augustine, Fla. They work with the parish confirmation class and pro-life committee. Father Robert A. O’Grady, pastor, endorsed its prompt implementation.

Mrs. Kreuzer said the crosses help the students visualize the numbers of abortions that have been performed in this country since the passage of Roe v. Wade.

Father O’Grady said that the display allows people to see the reality beyond the statistics. He said its visual effect is also similar in emotional effect to that of churchyard tributes on Memorial Day to honor service members.

Jim O’Boyle, pro-life committee chairman, said that the project went from concept to reality quickly.

“It’s going to serve as a model of how to get things done,” he said, adding that there is already a plan for expansion next year to include an identical display at St. Robert Parish.

In an October e-mail announcing the upcoming project, Mr. O’Boyle, citing statistics from the National Right to Life website that the crosses would dramatize, said, “We throw these numbers about so lightly! God help us!

“Though a small step,” he said, “this project is important in the continuation of the cosmic struggle that is taking place before our eyes and those of the now-awakening next generation. We think that the general public is beginning to understand what is really happening to our unborn brothers and sisters.”

During a short prayer vigil before an evening religious education class in mid-November, pro-life committee member and catechist Jim Loughran; his daughter Maria Loughran, a student assistant; confirmation class students Taylor Adams and Hannah Farr; and Mrs. Stratton talked about the project.

The students, among those who had helped sell sponsorships at several Masses and had erected the crosses on All Saints Day, agreed that the project helped promote an awareness of abortion and that it should be done every year.

Proceeds from the sale of cross sponsorships were contributed to 1st Way Life Center in Enfield, a Catholic outreach agency for expectant moms and their babies.

The pro-life committee will make a presentation in January to the St. Mary/St. Robert confirmation class. The class will participate in pre- and post-lesson surveys about abortion awareness and participate in small group discussions and role playing. Mrs. Stratton said that the presentation was well received by last year’s confirmation class.