Sunday, July 7, 2013

Photos from the June 22 Helpers of God's Precious Infants, "Prayer Vigil for Life"

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan held their summer, Prayer Vigil for Life, on June 22, 2013.  It began with Mass at 7:30 AM at St. Barnabas in Eastpointe.  People then commuted to nearby St. Veronica then made the roughly 5 block walk in a Rosary procession under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn.  The Most Reverend Michael J. Byrnes, an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, led the vigil.

Here are some images representing the various parts of the vigil.  I'll provide a link to the full gallery below, but I would appreciate you sharing the link to this post, where others can find the gallery, as well as come back and visit my blog.

Bishop Byrnes began with the early morning Mass and the church was quite full for a Saturday morning.

After driving to St. Veronicas, which is a few blocks from the 8 Mile Rd, the Rosary procession began.  It was a cloudy day with rain predicted, but remained dry.

Below is Dan Goodnow, the founder of the local chapter of the Helper's of God's Precious Infants.

Dan explained afterwards how he started it.  After having met Msgr. Phillip J. Reilly (see a partial bio here), who founded the first Helpers in Brooklyn, he asked for advice on how to begin a chapter here in Detroit.  He wondered about advertising or approaching people.  But, Msgr. Reilly told him to simply go in front of the abortion mill and just start praying, then wait and others will come.  Dan retired so he could work full time on this.  I think he said it took about 2 months and the next one to come was a local elderly woman, Lorraine (pictured later here), who walked from her home.  I've seen her go out there and just pray in front of the abortion mill in the most extreme weather. Others eventually joined and these people are out in front of two mills about a block apart on either side of 8 Mile Rd during all hours of operation.  I can't remember how many years ago that was.

They pray in front of the mill, and their skilled sidewalk counselors offer alternatives to women.  It's truly one of the best operations I've seen, and one of the most loving, as hard as that is to believe.  They show no anger which is why I think they are so effective in convincing women to turn.  I'm convinced that to truly be effective, one must have more love for those about to commit sins that will cry out to heaven and their victims, than disdain for the sin itself.   The purity of these interiors movements of the heart to love people in the midst of sinful behavior creates a pure environment for the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of that love is the "turn" - when someone decides not to have an abortion.  By the grace of God, Dan Goodnow and his collaborators are responsible for thousands of "turns" over the years. Some have even returned with babies to thank them.

Ad multos annos, Dan!

You can see here, one of the walkie-talkie's in use by Bishop Byrnes.  Others hold perhaps a half-dozen receivers throughout the long procession.  These can number anywhere from 100 people to nearly 800 depending on time of year, weather, etc.  The summer vigil usually has the lowest attendance due to vacations.

On the left is Deacon Gerry Smigell who is also a fixture at these events, and whose grandson, Fr. Francisco DeAngelis, was ordained at Assumption Grotto by Bishop Arturo Cepeda on June 29.

Both Detroit and East Pointe Police Departments provide safety with regards to crossing the high traffic 8 Mile Rd. (One abortion mill is on the Eastpointe side, the other is on the Detroit side)

Bishop Byrnes continues leading the Rosary from the boulevard as people cross westbound lanes of 8 Mile.

One thing you will never see at a Helper's of God's Precious Infants vigil are signs of any kind.  That's because it is a prayer vigil and not a picket.  There isn't even a sign with the name of the apostolate on display.  What you will see is the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a crucifix.

These are some of the sidewalk counselors - people who are out there during the hours of operation, not just at the periodic prayer vigils. As people come to the mill, they encourage them to consider alternatives, but they do not push. 

After praying part of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary in front of the Eastpointe side, the crowd processed about a block down 8 Mile to face the abortion mill on the Detroit side.  They are not protesting Pizza Hut!

Immediately after Mass, the hosting parish will usually hold Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and those who cannot join the procession due to age or infirmity, remain silently with Our Lord.  I cannot pray and take pictures, so I try to get my photos taken and I go back for Adoration to do my own prayers.  I found a number of people there, some of whom will have been there for about 2 hours when Benediction is done. 

The pastor of St. Barnabas is the Rev. John P. Wynnycky.  He handled Exposition, Benediction, and concelebrated the Mass earlier.  

After Benediction, there was an informational meeting with refreshments.  Often times, the bishops must leave right after the Rosary, but Bishop Byrnes was able to spare some time to come back and meet with people.  

Dan was telling us how he started the Helper's here in Detroit and when he talked about Lorraine joining him, everyone applauded.  She can be seen here, somewhat in the middle, foreground.  She prefers not to have attention, but she got some anyway.

We see a lot of children at these peaceful prayer vigils.  I've been going to them since 2005 and have never seen any incidents. They add to the testimony to life.  

Not everyone has coffee, donuts, and bagels; rather, they brought and enjoyed their own meals. 

I'm hearing that the next vigil will be in September. Usually Archbishop Vigneron leads the September vigil.  No word on where it will begin yet, so stay tuned.

If you want to see many more pictures from this event, see the gallery here:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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