Whereas colorful autumn flowers and foliage provided abundant natural beauty this past month, "the celebrations of the church for the month of October are also wonderful and unique," observed the Dominican sisters at Elmira’s Monastery of Mary the Queen in their autumn newsletter.
With October serving as a time for rosary devotion as well as Respect Life Month, the Southern Tier featured numerous related events as indicated by parish bulletins provided to the Courier. Several of these gatherings, in fact, took place not far from the monastery itself.
The Respect Life Ministry of St. Mary Our Mother Parish in Horseheads held rosary recitation across from Planned Parenthood buildings in Horseheads and Elmira in response to the practice of abortions. These rosaries took place on Saturdays during the month.
A similar activity came Oct. 10 in the form of a rosary rally, with participants meeting at the St. Casimir Church parking lot and reciting the rosary while walking to Arnot Ogden Hospital and back.
Elmira’s St. Mary Southside Church, in addition to holding a Rosary for Peace every Wednesday morning during the year following 7 a.m. Mass, hosted two special October events: a pro-life Mass on Oct. 17 sponsored by the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the annual Rosary for Life on Oct. 8. Regarding the latter event, Father Jeff Tunnicliff, St. Mary’s parochial vicar, noted that the rosary was advertised in several area parish bulletins and that "perhaps even the bulletin articles can serve as ‘a witness to life’ to those who read them" regardless of whether or not they attended.
Also in Elmira, Life Chains were held Oct. 4 at Grand Central Avenue and 14th Street, as well as West Church and Walnut streets. These were part of an annual national event in approximately 1,000 locations during which participants hold signs and stand for one hour along major roadways, praying silently for the end of abortion. Patricia Beemer, who coordinated both Elmira Life Chains, prayed at West Church/Walnut where there were 19 participants including "a lot of new folks," she said.
"We had about three negative responses from drive-bys, and a whole lot of positive responses this year," added Beemer, a member of Elmira’s Blessed Sacrament Parish. "Quite a few children in cars that were stopped at the light were trying to read all the signs before the light changed. I found that very rewarding. I figure if they have to ask the parent, ‘What does abortion mean,’ it will be, hopefully, explained and will make a lasting impression on the young."
Elsewhere in the Southern Tier:
Tioga County — The Altar and Rosary Society of St. James Church in Waverly held a Living Rosary on Oct. 7, which was the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In Apalachin, the newly formed Altar and Rosary Society at St. Margaret Mary Church met each Wednesday throughout October for rosary devotion, and will continue to hold meetings on the first Wednesday of each month thereafter. And in Newark Valley, St. John the Evangelist Church held rosary recitation on Oct. 8 and 22 as part of current efforts to revive the Rosary Society at that site.
Tompkins County — The 40 Days for Life Campaign was conducted via vigils at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes in Ithaca. This combination of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach took place across the country from Sept. 23 to Nov. 1.
At St. Anthony Church in Groton, a rosary for peace was held after the regularly scheduled Saturday-evening Mass on Oct. 3. Additionally, St. Anthony has a longstanding tradition of Thursday-evening rosaries all year long.
Parishioners at Ithaca’s Immaculate Conception Church began in late September making rosaries for the missions.
Schuyler County — In Watkins Glen, Court 628 of the Catholic Daughters of America held a rosary recitation on Oct. 13 at St. Mary of the Lake Church that was open to the public.
Steuben County — A gathering for life took place Oct. 10 in the parking lot of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Painted Post, as people came together to pray the rosary for the unborn and the sanctity of life.