Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Feb
  • 23

St. Anna’s supports religious freedom

Posted By February 23, 2012 | 12:28 pm | Lead Story #1
St ANNas_0469Web

By Patricia O’Connell

LEOMINSTER – It was cold and windy on Presidents Day.
But that didn’t stop a group of committed pro-life advocates from rallying in front of St. Anna Church to protest the recent HHS mandate that would require religious institutions to offer employees insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and other so-called “preventive care” that can include drugs to end an early pregnancy.
This “Day For Religious Freedom” at St. Anna started with coffee and muffins in the church hall, followed by a prayer service in the church led by the pastor, Father James Callahan. Later, mothers, fathers and children stood for two hours holding signs in support of the bishops and of religious freedom.
The event was organized by Patricia Taylor, Religious Education Coordinator and Youth Group Coordinator, who said it was done to “show visible support” for our country’s bishops. This was done in conjunction with the parish Pro-Life Committee, according to Father Callahan.
“So what better day than on Presidents Day?” Mrs. Taylor asked rhetorically.
Monday morning, in the church hall, several families had gathered. The children and their parents were busy making cardboard signs. One of the signs read, “We Stand With the Bishops.” Another read, “Religious Liberty is Not Negotiable.”
Mrs. Taylor said the effort was a parish event, but open to everyone.
Previously, announcements had been emailed to various Internet groups with an interest in pro-life issues.
Parishioner Cynthia Trainque was in the church hall, with a poster with the message that “Freedom of religion does not equal Freedom from religion.”
Miss Trainque said the more visible protestors can be, the better.
“This is tremendously important,” she added.
Father Callahan said the effort was driven by Mrs. Taylor. “I’m supporting it,” he noted.
“I had given a homily a couple of weeks ago about it,” he explained.
During the prayer service, Father Callahan said, “We gather together with our worries, O God. You know what is deep in our hearts before we even express it to you. There’s a lot of darkness in our world. With so much evil, sometimes we forget that there is a shining Light that’s always in control. Jesus is that Light, and He wants the absolute best for His children that we try not to get caught up in the darkness but focus on the promise of the Lord…..”
St. Anna Pro-Life Committee Chairwoman Linda Kinsey, during the peaceful rally, noticed a lot of people driving by who beeped their horns and gave the “thumbs up” sign.
She thought it highly appropriate to be standing for defense of the unborn in front of St. Anna, named after Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus.
“That’s what St. Anna was, a grandmother,” she noted. “We’re trying to protect the future generations.’’