By JOEY REISTROFFER
GREENVILLE — The people in the Piedmont Deanery know life is a precious gift from God, now they are praying that all people respect it.
The movement, “10,000 Rosaries for Life,” started in October at Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville, and it has caught fire, with prayers spreading across the Upstate.
The response amazes Binky Hartnett, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary who helped start the program. She had heard that Catholics in Ireland were praying “One Million Rosaries for Life,” and she wanted to do something similar, but on a smaller scale, in the Upstate.
With the support of Father Charles Day, parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary began keeping tabs on how many rosaries they would dedicate to life.
Hartnett then got in touch with Valerie Baronkin, the Piedmont Respect Life coordinator, who took it deanery wide.
Now the rosaries are rolling in. Parishioners at Our Risen Savior have contributed more than 400 to the cause. “I know that’s not much,” Our Risen Savior coordinator Margaret St. Germain said apologetically.
No need for apologies. Every prayer helps.
At Our Lady of the Rosary, Hartnett said parishioners have offered up more than 2,000 rosaries. “We’re doing extremely well,” she said. “Everyone seems to be excited about it.”
The rosaries seem to have energized the faithful.
Last October, during the Life Chain, Hartnett said only four people from her parish participated. “This year there were 100,” she said. “They are starting to come forward.”
Even the annual candlelight vigil at the abortion clinic on Laurens Road in Greenville had a solid showing. Eighty-five people, including families, brought their rosaries and came out to pray on one of the first chilly autumn evenings of the year, said Beth Hambleton, the candlelight vigil coordinator.
“There were a lot of people there whom I didn’t know,” said Hambleton, who was happy with the turnout. “There were two carloads from Spartanburg.”
Hambleton dedicated all the candlelight vigil prayers to the “10,000 Rosaries for Life” cause. Each person said three rosaries, so that brought 255 rosaries into the respect life fold.
“It was fantastic,” Hambleton said
They didn’t come to make speeches. They didn’t come to tell people about the horrors of abortion. They just came to pray, both for the women who were having abortions and for the souls of the lost babies.
And that is what “10,000 Rosaries for Life” is all about that people will realize all life is precious.
“We’re trying to get the awareness of life issues out, and trying to turn this culture of death,” Baronkin said.
Blessed Trinity parishioners in Greer heard the call, she said, and have prayed 1,100 rosaries.
St. Joseph’s in Anderson also joined up. They established a display that included a lock box where people could turn in their rosary cards for the count.
“It was a wonderful display,” Baronkin said. “But they can’t find the keys to the lock box, so they don’t know how many rosaries have been prayed.”
All told, Baronkin said, the Piedmont Deanery has prayed 8,800 rosaries for life. She expects to reach 10,000 any day.
Respect life, however, does not end with 10,000 rosaries, Baronkin said. It has helped parishioners’ prayer lives, she said, and she hopes it continues.
“I was surprised how many people pray the rosary every day,” Baronkin said.
Next year, she hopes parishes across the entire state pitch in to pray rosaries for life. And perhaps one day the Diocese of Charleston will match the faithful in Ireland in saying “One Million Rosaries for Life.”