By Fr. Michael McAndrew, CSsR
GREENWOOD – On January 20, about seventy-five people attended the second Pilgrimage for Life at the Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Delta to celebrate life from conception to death.
The pilgrimage celebrates the “seamless garment” valuing of life; a termed coined by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in a 1983 lecture, affirming that bishops must consider issues other than abotion (immigration, care for the aged, the death penalty, nuclear proliferation, and others) as prolife issues which threaten the respect for human life.
The day included a three-mile walk, with five stops along the way where participants reflected on values of life which included the right to life as a child; the dignity and respect of people of all cultures, languages and races; the sacredness of our environment; respect for elders and those who suffer illness; and celebrating youth.
Aztec dancers from Jackson led the walkers. After the walk, testimonies were given by a three-time cancer survivor, a doctor, a prison chaplain, a youth minister and a child (a U.S. citizen) whose father is in the midst of deportation proceedings. These testimonies all called for celebrating life, human dignity and faith.
Participants traveled from Jackson, Greenwood, Greenville, Cleveland, Vardaman, Memphis, Batesville and elsewhere. Bishop Kopacz closed this day of celebration and prayer with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
(Redemptorist father, Father Michael McAndrew, lives in Greenwood as part of the community of priests serving Hispanics in the Delta.)
Photos by Sister Maria Elena, MGSpS