Suzanne Belatti, a member at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, grasps her rosary while praying outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Southeast Portland Oct. 11. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)
Suzanne Belatti, a member at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, grasps her rosary while praying outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Southeast Portland Oct. 11. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)

As rain poured from the sky, dozens processed behind a statue of Mary from St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Southeast Portland to the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic. The faithful gathered, with rosaries in hand, to ask for Mary’s intercession.

The procession was part of the Rosary Coast to Coast event, which included rosary rallies around the United States, all happening simultaneously Oct. 11. There was another participating event in Medford.

“We’re hoping for the return to the respect for life. That’s a very big issue,” said Jerry McAfee, a member of St. Henry Parish in Gresham. We’re praying for Our Lady to show us the way.”

It was Jackie Morgan’s first time at such an event. The member of St. Anne in Gresham showed up to give her time and add her voice to the others praying to God.

Those gathered on the sidewalk outside the clinic recited the rosary, sang Marian hymns and prayed the Litany of Loreto, some speaking in English and some in Spanish.

Adela Chavez attends Ascension Parish in Southeast Portland and Holy Rosary Parish in Northeast Portland. Holding a Mexican flag, she joined the procession to seek Mary’s help.

I am “hoping for a change — hoping for her intercession, so she can help us with this issue that we’re having,” said Chavez.

When she lived in Northeast Portland, Planned Parenthood built a clinic nearby. She was forced to move to Gresham , and now another new Planned Parenthood clinic has opened up in her new community. Chavez fears that the organization is targeting her community — especially its Black and Latino members.

“Hopefully we can bring awareness to this clinic and what they do,” she said.

As the procession came to a close, Holy Cross Father Charlie McCoy spoke to those gathered, referencing the parable of the king’s wedding feast.

“It’s hard to get people to really join into this idea of the sanctity and sacredness and dignity of human life,” said Father McCoy. “And it can seem discouraging at times.”

But the parables teach the faithful two things, added the priest. “In the end, God gets people to join into his kingdom and second, God reigns in the end.

“We keep the hope of these parables alive in our hearts and in our minds as we strive to make that kingdom present in our world in our work for life.”

sarahw@catholicsentinel.org