By standing 10 feet apart, Life Chain participants hope motorists will take notice of the pro-life messages. Doroth K. LaMantia photo
By standing 10 feet apart, Life Chain participants hope motorists will take notice of the pro-life messages. Doroth K. LaMantia photo
“The mother is the only one who can stop an abortion.” 

Such was the sentiment expressed by Felicia Massari as she reflected on what it meant for her to participate in the first ever Life Chain hosted by St. Mary Parish, Barnegat. 

“Women choose abortion because they think there’s no hope or help,” Massari said, but the group who gathered for the Life Chain held on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 4, “are a sign that there is support. Mothers need more support systems.” 

Every first Sunday of October since 1987, Life Chain has been a public, peaceful, prayerful demonstration of Christians across the United States and Canada committed to the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. 

The first time event hosted by the Respect Life Committee in St. Mary Parish drew 28 parishioners. Together they lined up in front of the church and for 90 minutes they carried pro-life signs and Rosary beads, and became what veteran Life Chain participant Tom Moresco called “a human billboard,” seeking to raise awareness about the sanctity of life among passersby on the road. 

“We’re starting slow, but we’re in solid,” said Moresco, who coordinates the Respect Life Committee with his wife, Mary Anne. 

While fellow participants held signs bearing pro-life messages such as “Equal Rights in the Womb for All Babies” and “Abortion Harms Women,” Moresco noted how they stood 10 feet apart so that drivers could see one sign after another and hopefully, the messages of life can be processed. He also noted the code of conduct that was enforced so that participants would maintain a posture of silence and prayerfulness during the gathering. While passing motorists often blew horns or signaled a gesture in support of the Life Chain or otherwise, he noted that the code prohibits participants from responding at all. Instead they must peacefully focus on their prayers for the millions of children lost to abortion, for those in crisis situations and for the country. 

“This was peaceful and prayerful,” Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, parish pastor, said of the Life Chain. As he knelt and prayed the Rosary he shared how he thought the event was not so much a demonstration as it was a prayer vigil. 

“As I prayed, I thought how many children have been lost, and how many women are victims as much as the children,” he said. 

Participant Barbara Thompson shared how she has been prolife throughout her adult life. Her prayers are offered for the intentions that “those who disagree with us will change. 

“They’ve committed a soul to never entering a life that God created it for,” Thompson said. 

While Tom Moresco said he thought the first Life Chain went very well and noted that “If it changes just one heart, it was worth it,” his wife commented that although COVID-19 restrictions such as wearing face masks and keeping social distance were implemented, the global pandemic, “can stop a lot of things, but it can’t stop us from praying.” 

Moresco said that monetary donations that were collected during the Life Chain will be directed to area crisis pregnancy centers.