From staff reports

A couple that struggles with infertility gets pregnant with twins, only to be told the children will likely not survive.

A father’s experience of having his newborn son grip his finger, only to pass away 83 hours into his little life.

Such are among the stories of the video “Building the Culture of Life,” which shares the message of how people from around the Diocese are helping build a pro-life culture where they live.

In the video – produced by the diocesan Department of Multimedia Production and shown on buses that traveled Jan. 18 from the Diocese to the March for Life in Washington – Rachel Hendricks, diocesan respect life coordinator, shares how “We don’t have to look far to see the challenges that our culture poses to the understanding that all life is sacred.

“Right here within the Diocese of Trenton, women are having abortions; women and men are suffering in the aftermath of abortion, and doctors are counseling expectant parents to terminate pregnancies when prenatal testing reveals a problem. We also see that here in New Jersey, more and more people are accepting of physician-assisted suicide, which has the effect of pushing the ill, disabled and dying even further to the margins.

“But there is great reason for hope in the Diocese of Trenton; we have compassionate people working hard to help women and babies in crisis. We have ministries to offer hope and healing to those suffering after abortion. … We have communities of young adults and students who are actively embracing the Church’s teachings about life,” she says.

One such couple who embraces life is Gary and Eileen Zimak of Mount Laurel. The couple got pregnant with twin girls, and they learned their babies had twin to twin transfusion syndrome and were faced with a 10 percent chance of the girls being born alive. They were given the option of aborting one of the twins in hopes of saving the other.  

“It’s easy to say it’s in God’s hands, but when you have to live it every day, it’s challenging,” they share in the video. “God has stretched us through what we’ve gone through so that we can help other people.”

Though they have health issues, today the girls are happy 21-year-olds.

Dana and Adam Puharic are the parents of four children. Their first child, Michael, was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a condition with an extra chromosome, while still in the womb. They were advised to have an abortion.

Michael’s life, however long, was a true gift from God and continued with the pregnancy. He passed away after 83 hours. As his body was shutting down, the little one clenched his father’s finger and didn’t let go until his last moment.

The nonprofit Michael's Feat was created and named in memory of Michael Gerard Puharic.

“Seeing him on his journey in life and then running the organization Michael's Feat, we have a great chance to see other families with other children, with other conditions, living and fighting for life,” the couple relates. “One of the things that is clear is that it is not all sadness and suffering. Those families have joy; they celebrate every day with their child.”