Dixon Life Chain Unites St. Patrick, St. Anne Parishioners
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
October 11, 2018
DIXON—First they prayed. Then they took to the sidewalks and made the message clear: Unborn babies are complete and unique human beings who deserve to live.
Like many pro-life Catholics around Illinois and the nation on Oct. 7, the Lee County Right to Life (LCRL) group met to pray before standing for an hour to express the need to protect innocent human life. 
They chose John Dixon Park at Galena Avenue, a main thoroughfare through the community, as the location for this year’s efforts.
Joe Crisham, who attended the Life Chain event with his wife Mary Grace of St. Anne Parish, said prayer can change things for the better. 
“If we just keep praying we can make progress,” he said.
Margaret Brechon of St Patrick Parish is president of LCRL. It’s been a long struggle since the law was changed in 1973 to allow abortions, she said. 
“It’s been 45 years and it’s part of the culture now,” Brechon stated. “If you are about 45, it has been legal your entire life. It’s hard to overcome something that’s part of the culture.”
The local annual Life Chain has been held in Dixon for at least 15 years.
Brechon got involved in the pro-life movement in 1973, soon after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal. She joined the National Federation for Right to Life in 1975 after attending a convention in Denver, Colo. She was also a district director of the Illinois Federation for the Right to Life for about 30 years.
Although it is difficult to get the word out about what actually happens during an abortion, there is hope and forgiveness, Brechon said. 
“The hope is that people will come to realize this is real life we are talking about. The Life Chain is a manifestation of conscience,” she said. 
Women or girls who “are contemplating such a serious decision ... should understand that this is a human life. They would never regret having this baby,” Brechon said.
Father Thomas Doyle, pastor of St. Anne Parish, attended the event and led the group of about 30 people in prayer before joining them along the roadside, silently holding posters containing prolife messages.
“We hope that all people will see the deep value of not only their own personal lives, but lives of others as well. To those who have had abortions, we are sorry if someone is put in the situation that they felt they had to do that, but their lives are important just as the child of their womb is important as well,” Father Doyle says. 
Penny Mallo, Respect Life coordinator at St. Patrick, said she has been coming to Life Chain events since the 1980s.
“I think progress is probably being made because we have ultrasounds now and women can no longer say this isn’t a life. But, quality of life is still an issue. I still think we are a very self-absorbed world,” Mallo said, also citing Iceland, where no Down syndrome babies are being born, mainly due to abortions.
At least 16 other parishes in the diocese held public Life Chain gatherings Sunday to honor the approximately 50 million American babies whose lives have been lost to abortion.