Michael and Kumi Fioramonti stand up for life at the Respect Life prayer chain held at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, Oct. 4, 2020. (PHOTO BY CECILIA PADILLA | FC)

Families take pro-life stand

Palm Beach Gardens  |  It was a family affair for many participating in the prayer chain, Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. 

Michael Fioramonti, a parishioner of St. Ann Parish in West Palm Beach, stood on the median divider of Military Trail with his wife, Kumi, holding large signs expressing their pro-choice views. His parents supported a large banner on the sidewalk across from him as they led the rosary for the prayer chain. 

“My wife and I have been married two years and are hoping to start a family soon,” Fioramonti said. “It can be a challenge starting a family and it makes you realize just how precious life is. We are out here today because everyone has a right to life, and we want to instill this doctrine in our family as we grow.” 

The gathering, held as a kickoff event for Respect Life Sunday, drew a crowd of approximately 100 people along Military Trail in front of the cathedral. Although many wore masks, their prayers and chants of “choose life” were not muffled by the facial coverings. 

Megan Akrami, a parishioner of St. Andrews Church in Stuart, stood at the very end of the chain quietly holding a poster that read, “Adoption is the loving option.” Her young family played off to the side, the children giggling as they ran through the thick grass surrounding the Pastoral Center sign. 

“I’m here today for all the people who can’t be here, for those who don’t have a voice,” said the young mother. “I finally grabbed a sign and said, ‘Let’s go,’ because millions of babies have died because of this terrible thing. I believe that a human is a human through all stages of life. Hopefully our presence today brings change through awareness.”

Likewise, Anna Miller, a parishioner at the cathedral, came to the prayer chain with her husband, young daughter and parents. As she spoke, her daughter held a sign high above her head and waved to cars as they honked. 

“Abortion is an issue that affects the whole family,” Miller said. “My husband and I never kept the issue from our daughter or sugar coated it just because she’s a kid. Respect for life starts at a young age.”

Miller also expressed that there has been much loss in her family during pregnancy. Her sister, she shared, has suffered miscarriages and so she was moved to join the prayer chain as a public witness to her family’s struggle. 

Miller’s mother, Gladys Casas, was especially passionate about being there with three generations of the family. “All issues stem from respecting life. It’s a blessing to be here today with my daughter and granddaughter. We will defend life all the way.”

Before the prayer chain, Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito celebrated a special Respect Life Mass in honor of unborn children. Deanna Herbst, program administrator for the Respect Life Ministry of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach, and Father Gavin Badway, rector of the cathedral, set up informational booths with life-affirming literature outside of the church. 

Herbst passionately explained the available pregnancy and childcare resources provided by Catholic Charities programs. 

“Every year we have more attendees for the prayer chain, and I hope to continue to grow the event at other parishes,” she said.

For more information about Respect Life events throughout the Diocese of Palm Beach, visit diocesepb.org or contact Deanna Herbst, Respect Life Ministry program administrator for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach, at dherbst@ccdpb.org or 561-360-3330. Follow the ministry on Facebook @respectlifepb.