Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Jonathan Martinez - Florida Catholic
Photography: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC
TAMARAC | St. Malachy Parish has always been very active in the respect life movement.
Under the guidance of former pastor Father Dominick O’Dwyer, parishioners and the church's respect life ministry engaged in multiple pro-life efforts, including collecting baby items for the Margate Pregnancy Help Center, sponsoring billboards on the highways and taking part in peaceful prayer demonstrations at an abortion clinic located just blocks from the church.
Last month, the parish added another brick to those efforts when members gathered with their parochial administrator, Father Alfredo Rolon, for the blessing of a Respect Life Garden on parish grounds. The blessing took place Feb. 28, 2021.
“I think this is so wonderful because we are pro-life. I mean the Catholic Church is pro-life, from conception to natural death, and this garden serves as a reminder of it,” said Maureen Kilfoile, member of Mary for Life, which is the name of the parish’s respect life ministry.
Facing North University Drive for all to see, the garden serves as a reminder to all that walk or drive by of the importance of protecting the God-given gift of life.
The impetus for the garden came from Father Rolon, who was supported by the parish’s Finance Council, Pastoral Council, respect life ministry, John XIII movement and dozens of parish and community volunteers. They donated the plants, the paint, and other elements needed to complete the garden, in addition to making monetary donations.
“I thought this garden would be a beautiful symbol of our support for the protection of life from the first moment of its conception to natural death,” Father Rolon said.
One of the figures in the garden is a statue of the “Angel for Life” donated by John and Karen Loper in memory of Theresa Banks and restored by Fernando Fernandez. The baby Jesus was donated by Juan Luis and Wanda Perez Raldiris in thanksgiving for the parishioners and benefactors who contributed to the realization of the garden.
“I hope that it (the garden) may lift up people’s hearts to the Lord in prayer as Catholic believers, but also that they may remember that we must be active in our Catholic faith and one of the ways is supporting the gift of life,” said Father Rolon. “This is a testimony of our faith. I hope that those who visit may be together united in faith knowing that this Catholic church is very active in the gift of life.”