About 200 people joined the Ulster Deanery Respect Life Committee
for their annual dinner at the Turtle Creek Golf Course in Wallkill, on Friday, October 20, 2023. Dr. Joel Brind was the dinner’s keynote speaker.
The evening began with Mass at Our Lady of Fatima
in Plattekill. Father Arthur Rojas, moderator and spiritual director of the Ulster Deanery Respect Life Committee. Concelebrating the bilingual Mass with Father Rojas were Father Omachi Arome Michael, administrator, Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Father Miroslaw Pawlaczyk, pastor, Immaculate Conception (Kingston) and St. Catherine Laboure- St. Colman (Lake Katrine-East Kingston); Father Nelson Pichardo, parochial vicar, St. Mary-St. Peter’s, Kingston; attending dressed in choir was Father Kenneth Riello, Pastor, St. Mary-St. Andrew’s Parish, Ellenville; and Reverend Mr. Robert Cranston, St. John the Evangelist, Centreville (attached to Our Lady of the Snow, Saugerties) serving as deacon.
Father Rojas, serving as the dinner’s master of ceremonies, described the Committee as “the north star of the pro-life movement in the Archdiocese of New York.” Eight out of 14 parishes in Ulster County are members of the Committee, he said. Their mission is to return New York to being “the Empire State, not the Vampire State.”
As he stated earlier at Mass, Father Rojas reminded the audience that “The Church that is no longer missionary deserves to become a museum. And the pro-life cause that forgets about constant and regular outreach, without neurosis, but always evaluating how are we doing, to achieve what we wish to achieve in the Lord’s name for the Gospel of Life, will become stagnant.” He then called upon the guests to look around at the diverse and young faces that filled the room. Father Rojas also welcomed pro-life legislator Assemblyman Brian M. Maher of the 101st District, who attended the dinner.
During the keynote presentation, Brind, a convert to Catholicism, addressed the question, “Can abortion cause breast cancer?” He discussed his research on induced abortion as an independent risk factor
for breast cancer. A native of Queens, Brind is a professor of human biology and endocrinology at Baruch College, a constituent college of the City University of New York.
Recognized at the dinner as guests of honor were Nancy Lancer, long-time member of the Ulster Deanery Respect Life Committee, and the daughter of Eleanor Kurtz, Ulster County’s most prolific pro-life fundraiser; and Barbara McCabe, who served as the Committee’s treasurer for 12 years, and who has served as coordinator of billboards, Life Chains, and rose sales.
The Ulster Deanery follows the geographic borders of Ulster County. Cardinal Timothy Dolan appointed Father Dennis A. Nikolić as interim dean there on October 1.
Earlier in October, the Committee organized Life Chains
attended by nearly 200 people. Ulster County comprises about one-fourth of the Archdiocese of New York’s total area.