ATLANTA - Archbishop John F. Donoghue led area Catholics in Life Chain Atlanta, a prayerful witness to the sanctity of life on Sunday, Oct. 6.
Catholics gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the King and stood on both sides of Peachtree Road quietly reciting the rosary and holding placards expressing opposition to abortion. The event attracted over 1,000 people, according to Peggy Sinanian, archdiocesan pro-life director.
The action is completely silent and those taking part are asked to be peaceful, prayerful and polite in both word and deed. They block no streets, intersections, driveways or sidewalks.
Participants held signs saying, "Abortion Kills Children," "Adoption: The Loving Option," "El Aborto Mata Ninos" or "Abortion Hurts Women." Clergy held signs that said, "Jesus Heals and Forgives."
Following the Life Chain hour of witness, Archbishop Donoghue gave a homily and led participants in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
"We are here to recognize and to solemnly memorialize the heroic deaths of millions of innocent children, who though infinitely simple in terms of the complexity of all creation ... lost their life in the cause of truth," Archbishop Donoghue said.
The archbishop told the congregation to remain steadfast in their efforts no matter the cost. "And though the cost of this alliance may be great indeed -- though it may cost us friends, popularity and social acceptance -- we measure this cost as slight, when held up to the treasure of the holy alliance we have formed -- the alliance which links us, through all who have died in the cause of life, to Jesus Christ, who is and will be, the Lord of all life and the world."
Th archbishop said that God sees the whole battle and the hardships of their struggle and that in the end "the army of life ... will remain in possession of the field to fly high the banners of Jesus Christ, our conquering king."
The archbishop told the congregation that the strength they have shown will summon others to join them on the battlefield as they continue their fight for life. "For Christ welcomes the valor of our struggle, he joins it to his own suffering on the cross, and he will enfold it finally into the glory of his resurrection, and the victory of life."
At the conclusion of his homily Archbishop Donoghue received a standing ovation. Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, encouraged the Life Chain participants to continue their efforts because "victory is within our grasp."
Earlier in the week Father Pavone met with clergy, leaders of the pro-life movement and Catholic laity during several talks given throughout the archdiocese Oct. 2-3.
Life Chain began in 1987 in Yuba, Calif., and has been held in cities all over the country. It was organized to provide a visual statement that Christians of all denominations are united against abortion.
National Life Chain Sunday is intentionally held on the first Sunday of October, the day set by the U.S. bishops as Respect Life Respect Life Sunday.