Monday, June 23, 2014

Converting others takes greater love for the sinner than hatred for the sin

Bishop Donald Hanchon leading a Rosary in front of an abortion mill on 8 Mile Road

In the nine years that I have been covering the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan prayer vigils in front of abortion mills in metro Detroit, I have learned a major lesson by observing Dan Goodnow and his Helpers in action: Converting others takes greater love for the sinner than hatred for the sins they commit.  There is simply no other way to explain the success they have had in getting mothers to reconsider that choice which affects the body of another, who has no choice in the matter. It  is often being urged by someone else as their only, 'hope.' From the Helpers they learn about the local crisis pregnancy centers willing to help them bring their babies to term; and they get assistance in keeping them or giving them up for adoption.  There are accounts of mothers, fathers, and grandparents bringing those children back to the abortion mill just to see the pro-life counselors outside who saved their lives.

The killing of another, especially of a baby, is among the sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, but that vengeance belongs to God alone and we are admonished in Scripture to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19-21).  The Helpers are not out there just for the baby; they are there out of love for the mother and for those who bring them there, as well as for the abortionist and mill workers.  This interior act of love is a conduit for the Holy Spirit.

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants are out in front of the two abortion mills on 8 Mile Road during all open hours (one in East Pointe, and the other in Detroit, just a few blocks apart with only the boulevard separating the two cities).  However, 3-4 times yearly they hold a major prayer vigil on a Saturday, usually led by one of the Detroit bishops.  The format is always the same: Mass at 7:30 AM at a local parish; participants drive to St. Veronica near the mills where they process  a few blocks to the first mill.  With only the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a Crucifix, they pray the Rosary, using walkie-talkies so everyone can hear.  All mysteries of the Rosary are prayed, not just the five of that day, as is the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Hymn verses are sung between.  After kneeling for a moment of silence, they walk over to the second abortion mill a short distance from the first on opposite sides, continuing to pray the Rosary, then they process back to St. Veronica.  Finally, they return to the original parish, or to another local parish for Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.  Adoration takes place after Mass until participants return, for those who cannot make the walk.  Refreshments and a brief meeting is held afterwards.

This past Saturday, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon celebrated the Mass and led the vigil.  Below are a few images from the Mass, which took place at St. Basil the Great in East Pointe.

On the far right you see Fr. Tony Sulkowski, the pastor of St. Basil the Great, with Fr. Matthew and Fr. Ludwig of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross who assist at Assumption Grotto.

Deacon Gerald Smigell, who has been active with the Helpers, reads the Gospel.

Bishop Hanchon delivers his homily...

"Women choose to take away life to make things easier… Our compassion in God's name can change their hearts. Abortion is a last ditch birth control. It is a sinister solution that enriches others...  We are right to do more than pray for the unborn… to be public. We serve one Master who is Jesus the Lord. We have no alternative… not with vengeance, but with hope in his protection, confident that God created life… life should flourish and not be extinguished…" - Bishop Donald Hanchon

Sisters of the Holy Cross take up the gifts.

Bishop Hanchon elevating the Precious Blood (Mt 26:28)

After commuting the short distance to St. Veronica's the procession begins.   The June vigil is always the lightest with summer vacations, but this was a decent turn out for June.

Here they are getting ready to cross 8 Mile Rd. For whatever reason, East Pointe police did not show up.  Usually, both Detroit and East Pointe police are there to ensure safe crossing.

After the praying in front of the second mill, people went back to St. Basil the Great for Benediction given by Fr. Tony, the pastor.

After Benediction came refreshments and a brief meeting.

Dan Goodnow, below, is the president of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan.  He invited people to get involved, not just at the periodic vigils, but in sidewalk prayer and sidewalk counseling.  Training is provided.  If you want to explore it more, contact me at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com and I will put you in contact with the Helpers.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

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