Friday, January 29, 2021
Anne DiBernardo - Florida Catholic
MIAMI SPRINGS | The canopy-laced walkway in the center of Curtiss Parkway in Miami Springs is always vibrant with people enjoying the outdoors. However, on Jan. 23, 2021, the “city of trees” paved the way for close to 200 people wearing facial masks, clutching rosaries, and holding signs in support of life.
They were commemorating the 48th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court Case that legalized abortion on demand.
Throughout the years, the Archdiocese of Miami Respect Life Office has led high school students to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual March for Life that draws thousands of people from all over the United States. Due to COVID-19, the March for Life is mostly virtual this year. But the Respect Life Office encouraged parishes to organize their own events.
Blessed Trinity Deacon Ernesto Sosa and his wife, Adriana, who co-chair the parish’s respect life ministry, immediately responded to the call and organized the 1.8-mile Prayer Walk for Life in solidarity with those attending the D.C. event. In just three weeks, news of the local march spread, drawing participants from throughout the archdiocese.
“This was an incredible turnout,” said Adriana Sosa.
Although the couple leads members of the parish to the annual Life Chain in October, “this is in our own backyard,” Adriana Sosa said. “It’s also hard for people to go to Washington D.C. because it is so expensive.”
“It gives you great hope,” said Deacon Sosa, comparing the March for Life with the vaccine for COVID. “We are the vaccine for the terrible pandemic of abortion, which has gone on for 48 years. We are that love of Christ that makes people aware of the situation, that life is a gift from God, from the moment of conception to natural death.”
The peaceful, prayerful demonstration began with a standing-room-only Mass celebrated by Blessed Trinity’s pastor, Father Jose Alfaro. Humbled and overjoyed by the turnout, he expressed the desire to make the event a tradition. Father Alfaro also blessed the 10-week fetus feet pins donated by the Sosas and distributed to participants.
“It’s a fun day to stand up for what we believe,” said Blessed Trinity parishioner Jose Diaz. “It’s great to see a lot of young people. I am here to support my parish and church and those who need to be cared for. It’s amazing that so many people came,” he added, noting that more people went to the Mass than are normally present on Sundays. “They are not afraid.”
“This march this year is particularly important for the Catholic nation and around the world, given the change in administration; and while our sitting president professes to be a Catholic, we want to show him how important life is to the faithful,” said Blessed Trinity parishioner Steven De Renzo.
“I am happy to be here,” said Gesu parishioner Lili Bandrich, who usually attends the walk at St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami. Due to COVID protocols aimed at keeping the seminarians in a healthy “bubble,” the walk did not take place this year.
Bandrich encouraged pro-lifers to join parishioners of Gesu and St. Kieran in their peaceful and prayerful witness the first Saturday of each month in front of the Planned Parenthood facility located at 1378 Coral Way. Parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul are out there every second Saturday.
Tracy Busch Pate found out about the Blessed Trinity march at 3 a.m. that day. Noting that she is on track to becoming a Catholic this spring, she said, “It’s a beautiful day to walk and rejoice and speak up for life. You don’t really know what abortion is or does until you have your own kids.”
Melissa Saldaña, a parishioner of St. Raymond in Miami, said, “It is especially important to be present and for people to see they are not alone in this fight to save souls – the souls of the babies and the souls of the people who believe abortion is okay or not a big deal.”
“I got involved in the pro-life movement in 2015 and have not stopped,” said Madelyn Ocasio, also a parishioner of St. Raymond. “I try to support other parishes as much as I can when they make a call to action. The pro-life movement is an uphill battle, but with Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Holy Trinity we will defeat the evil of abortion. We cannot disappear, we need to keep vigilant and oppose all laws in favor of abortion. We cannot allow our voices to be silenced. The pro-life movement needs to stay united. Praying the rosary at abortion mills is a must.”
Ocasio planned to attend the March for Life in D.C. this year after doing so for the first time last year.
“It was very inspiring to see a lot of people,” said Patrick Noriega, a parishioner of St. Rose of Lima in Miami Shores who has attended the March for Life in D.C. since 1997. Noriega said he was happy to see that the people who came together stayed together and that everyone remained socially distant.
Adriana Sosa shared one testimony that occurred immediately after the Blessed Trinity walk.
“We had marched past a farmers market and saw a kiosk with religious figures. When we went back after the walk, the woman at the booth said, ‘A group just went by here. I was taken aback so much that I called my husband to tell him we need to talk to the kids about the evil of abortion because they are being taught something else in school.’”
“We have to hang onto faith,” Sosa added. “God’s time is not our time. We are called to do what we can in our own circle of influence.”