God gave us a most beautiful day to host our Church’s first street fair booth. Mixed in among vendors selling pickles on sticks and Elvis CD’s, our booth was giving away pro life materials and information about our church’s many services to families and individuals. Intercessor choir music and Kelly Tanza’s “Choose Life” single joined with unseen heavenly forces to proclaim that God is pro life.
Throughout the morning and afternoon we gave away “good news” – New Testaments, choir tapes, Changed Lives at the Cathedral booklets, Intercessor invitation cards, church ministry info, and a variety of respect life materials.
I’d like to thank the many people who helped make this event so successful:
Celeste Broyles from LI Coalition for Life who provided great printed pro life materials for our table as well as fetal models showing the growing baby at various stages of development. These models were the biggest attention-getter and drew fair goers to our table. Celeste also helped by training me at the previous week’s Westbury Street Fair, where LI Coalition had a pro life table.
Fr. Joe Ciccarello and Fr. Stephen Maloney ”“ for their active support and generous supply of materials.
Alan Melanson and Jamie LeGrand – for involving the youth group. Alan and Jamie took several youth group members to Ireland last year as part of Fr. Terry Gensemer’s annual CEC for Life pro life mission trip. While there they worked in the streets with Youth Defence, the pro life organization that’s responsible for keeping abortion illegal in Ireland.
Grounded and Settled Youth Group members ”“ You are awesome! You did it all!
Jeanne Bifulco – Jeanne and her daughter Hayley worked at the booth for the entire day. Their knowledge of respect life issues greatly blessed all those that met them. Because they are local West Hempsteaders and know many in the community a lot of neighborhood people came to see our display (and the huge dish of candy they brought!).
Our youth group ran the booth from giving away materials to answering questions. Several, like twins Brian and Andrew Kenney, Asher Korycka and Justin Bethany, wanted to take the “good news” to the streets. They came out from behind our table and greeted passersby offering them church invitation cards, pro life information and “Smile, your mom chose life!” stickers. Our youth were quite creative in displaying their pro life beliefs. Several, including Rachel Korycka, Sara Ott and Gina Roy drew “Choose” and “Life” on the backs of their hands while Sara covered her face with the previously mentioned “Smiley” stickers.
We got along well with our neighbors. The woman on the left even asked us to mind her tea kettle booth while she grabbed a bite to eat. Our neighbor on the other side had a daughter about the same age as our youth group members. Several times I noticed her wistfully studying our young warriors in action. I wonder what kind of impressions she was left with.
Encouraging Comments from Fair Goers
“My son was born at 24 weeks. My doctor had recommended an abortion rather than deliver him prematurely. Twenty-six years later he’s doing fine.”
An 86-year old grandmother told us, “I was only 2 lbs when I was born ”“ look at me now.”
Several stopped to encourage us, “This is a good thing you’re doing. Thank you.”
Liturgical Muscle Memory
A really funny moment occurred as we started playing the House of Prayer tape. It was queued to the point where Bp. Craig proclaims (at full volume), “The Lord is with you!” Alan turned around startled as though the bishop had just appeared and the youth group members came to attention, their body language saying, “And also with you!”
Jeanne Bifulco patiently explained God’s truths to a high school senior who held very different beliefs. She said later that he’s been to their home where she’d previously given him a New Testament and is praying for his salvation.
As I saw the week before at the Westbury Street Fair, young people are drawn to the models of the developing child. Unlike some adults, they are comfortable viewing and handling the models and asking questions. We gave away 100 actual-sized models of a 15-week old (from conception) child. Along with each model we gave people a card that described what the child could do at each of the first 15 weeks.
Also participating were: Joseph Ciccarello, Brianna Osborn, Daniel Heaphy, MacKenzie Rohde, Josiah Maloney, Abigail Tanza, and Kristen Tanza.