Home Diocesan News Despite snow, cold, Stark Mass for Life goes on at North Canton St. Paul Parish
Despite snow, cold, Stark Mass for Life goes on at North Canton St. Paul Parish Print E-mail
Written by Ann-Margaret Lambo, Special to the Exponent   
Friday, 26 January 2018 12:06

NORTH CANTON  –  Bitter temperatures and nasty precipitation couldn’t stop the local faithful from coming out to pray for life.  

The annual Mass for Life was celebrated at St. Paul Parish here Jan. 14 with a small group of local devotees braving the elements to express their concern for life from conception to death.

“The good news is that you are here, we (the Mass celebrants) are here and God is here,” said Msgr. James Clarke, pastor of St. Paul, at the beginning of Mass.

Joining Msgr. Clarke at the altar were Father Thomas Cebula from Walsh University; Father Thomas Acker, S.J., pastor of Randolph-Suffield St. Joseph Parish; Msgr. James Kolp, retired from active ministry; and Deacons Michael Seaman, Canton St. Peter Parish, and Russ O’Neill, Uniontown Holy Spirit Parish.

Father Cebula, in his homily, reminded those gathered that this nation’s founders were dedicated to the pursuit of life. He also called upon the young people present to stand up and protect those lives that are most vulnerable.

“We proudly join in a long line of generations going all the way back to 1776,” Father Cebula said. “Today, we declare with renewed vigor: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

“We hold these truths to be self-evident in a society where that is no longer true,” Father Cebula contended. “How do we respond when our country seems so small in the face of the prevailing winds in a culture of death?”

To understand more fully how to protect and defend human life, Father Cebula explained that God created each human being in His image and likeness, which means we are called to be in a loving relationship with Him, who is the source of our identity and worth.

Msg. Clarke offered a blessing for the pregnant women who were present and for those who planned to attend the March for Life in Washington the following week.

Leah Severson, there with her daughters, Ella and Caroline, received a blessing for expectant mothers at the Mass for Life. Severson, who is due April 19, is carrying her eighth child.

Fritz Schlueter, principal at Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Middle School, planned on attending the March with 11 students from the school’s Right to Life Club. This is the second year in a row that Schlueter will attend with students.

“I think it’s very important to take this time,” said Schlueter. “Being there with them adds a little ‘cred’ to what you say and shows them that this is important. It tells them that this is something that we need to stand up and voice our opposition to.”

At a reception following Mass, an original piece of pro-life artwork, “Pieta,” was on display. The painting of the Blessed Mother holding Christ was done by Pittsburgh-based artist Nikki Bruni.

At first glance it looks like a typical acrylic canvas, but on closer inspection, one can see within the larger image of Mary and Jesus more than 2,400 tiny faces, each representing a life ended by abortion at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood in 2014.

Bruni was not present at the reception but did provide information about the painting. Bruni wrote that she “chose the image for her pro-life rendering because of the grief-stricken expression on the face of Mary.”

The artwork’s purpose, in addition to remembering each of the babies whose life ended in abortion, is “meant to help recognize the tragedy of abortion, to realize the cost and to serve as a reminder to grieve and repent,” Bruni wrote.

“Hopefully lives will be saved and women considering abortion will be spared the lifelong grief that often accompanies an abortion decision,” she noted.

There is no cost to host the “Pieta” painting. Bruni makes sure it is delivered, set-up and removed for free. To host the painting, contact Bruni at 412-926-9413 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 

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