Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Nov
  • 14

Words and Silence for Life

Posted By November 14, 2011 | 5:31 pm | Lead Story #2

PHOTO: Members of the Life Teen group at St. Joseph Parish in Charlton wore matching blue T-shirts to school. The shirts were printed with the words: “We will be Silent for those who have been Silenced.”

By Patricia O’Connell

In October, Respect Life Month, some people spoke out and others were silent – for life.
About 50 members of the Life Teen group at St. Joseph Parish in Charlton wore matching blue T-shirts to school.
The shirts were printed with the words: “We will be Silent for those who have been Silenced.”
The students didn’t speak that day. If someone questioned them, they handed out literature. This included cards on fetal development, which explained that a baby’s heart starts beating about 24 days after conception.
This was done as part of an international Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, noted St. Joseph Life Teen Coordinator Liz Cotrupi.
Not all of the students attend Catholic high schools, she said. Many of them wore their T-shirts to Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton and Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley.
Students from 2,252 schools around the world, including 22 of them in Massachusetts, participated in the day of silence, according to the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity website, an organization affiliated with Priests for Life.
Mrs. Cotrupi said the students first obtained permission from their principals. They also sought permission not to speak in class if a teacher asked them a question.
Opting not to speak showed support for the unborn, who cannot speak. This also prevented students from getting into discussions with others who may not agree, said Mrs. Cotrupi.
“Some of the people said crude things (to the students), like, ‘You should have been aborted,’” Mrs. Cotrupi said.
“Other people were good, but said, ‘I don’t agree with you but I respect where you’re coming from,’” she said.
After school was dismissed, one student wore her pro-life T-shirt to dance class. She received a very positive comment from a parent.
Mrs. Cotrupi said there were surprises. Some students realized that people they assumed would be pro-life really weren’t. She said others who considered themselves “pro-choice” started rethinking their views after learning more about what abortion entails.
“There seems to be a lack of understanding about what happens during an abortion,” she noted.
Wearing the T-shirts and being silent for a day was one option. Other students wore red wristbands to show their support for the sanctity of all human life. Not all of these teens chose to be silent.
“We’re very proud of them,” Mrs. Cotrupi said of the students.
Austin Tittle, a senior at Shepherd Hill, recalled that about 20 of his classmates, himself included, wore the blue T-shirts.
He said the shirts generated “a lot of comments.” He said cards were handed out, which explained the reason behind the campaign.
Many people were supportive, he noted.
“Other people used derogatory words and said some not nice things,” he said, referring to the minority of negative interactions.
He said the school administration was “very supportive.”
“Shepherd Hill does a really good job of letting people express who they are,” he said.

A procession around the block where Planned Parenthood is located, followed the closing Mass for the 40 Days for Life Campaign in Worcester. Father Peter J. Joyce carries the Blessed Sacrament in procession.

Fall is also the time of the twice yearly 40 Days for Life campaign in which people around the diocese pray and fast for an end to abortion.
“God continues to bless us with tangible signs that we’re not laboring in vain,” wrote Lee Crowley, local church coordinator for 40 Days for Life.
The group reports that the prayers and vigils in the Worcester area saved the lives of at least six babies that they are aware of since the campaign started on Sept. 28.
For example: One of the sidewalk counselors in front of Planned Parenthood on Pleasant Street in Worcester, according to Mrs. Crowley, was able to speak with a couple as they headed into the abortion facility. Another counselor was able to talk with them as they left Planned Parenthood, and she was able to urge them to visit Problem Pregnancy, a pro-life organization located across the street.
The couple later told a third counselor they had changed their minds. They later visited Problem Pregnancy to see their growing baby with an ultrasound image, Mrs. Crowley noted.
“Because there are many pedestrians on Pleasant Street, we’ve had numerous opportunities to answer questions for passers-by, explain why we’re out there, and ask them to pray for us,” Mrs. Crowley related.
“Conversations that have sometimes started out with a confrontational question have ended very pleasantly with people thanking us for opening their eyes.”