Sunday, November 22, 2009

Photostory: Archbishop Vigneron Leads Pro-life Prayer Vigil in Detroit

Yesterday, the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan held it's fourth and final prayer vigil of 2009.

Holy Mass
It began with 7:30am Mass at St. Joan of Arc in St. Clair Shores, celebrated by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The parish children's choir had practiced for weeks to provide the music.  On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, the archbishop told the roughly 650-700 in attendance that Mary, "stands with us in our work to serve the gospel of life".  At the conclusion of Mass, Archbishop Vigneron told the crowd how proud he was of the witness people were giving by coming to the Mass and vigil. 

Rosary Procession
Following Mass, those who were able, commuted a few miles to St. Veronica's parish and assembled there for a Rosary procession under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the 8 Mile Road boulevard.  This was believed to be the largest procession ever in the 10 year history of the local Helpers apostolate. 

One count had it at 460, but another group handing out pro-life materials said that 475 bags were given out, and not every member of every family received one.  Consensus was that the number in procession was closer to 550.   The massive crowd prayed all 20 mysteries of the Rosary during the procession and while standing in front of two abortion clinics about a block apart from one another on either side of 8 mile.  Before leaving each clinic, most went to their knees for a moment of silence. These are some of the most profound images of prayer in the slideshow below.

There was a group of young men from Brother Rice High School, easily identified by the banner they held.  I'm told there was a group of young women there from Regina.  If there were any other groups of students there, please give us a shout out in the comment box and talk about your experience.

Others who were in attendance are also encouraged to offer comments. Was it your first time? Will you come back in the future?

Adoration and Benediction
Following the procession, about 350-400 people went back to St. Joan of Arc where Monsignor Bugarin offered Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.  The Eucharist and been on the altar in a monstrance following Mass until Benediction where some who could not go on the walk remained in adoration

As an aside, at the conclusion of benediction, Monsignor Bugarin pointed out that a priest in residence at St. Joan of Arc, Fr. Gerry Bernier, who had just been hospitalized days earlier with double-pneumonia, was now on life support for therapeutic reasons. He asked for everyone's prayers.  A page at Caring Bridge has been set up to allow people to follow his progress (scroll for latest updates). Please keep Fr. Gerry in your prayers.

After a long morning, the crowd assembled in a large meeting area where refreshements were offered.  President of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan, Dan  Goodnow, explained that this year there were some 800 "turns" as a result of the work of counselors and prayers warriors. 

It's important to note that women who choose to have their babies are guided to organizations that can help them financially and materially before and after the birth of their babies.  Some come back to those same sidewalk counselors and happily show off the baby that was saved on account of their work.

Volunteers Needed
Dan stressed the need for more volunteers.  While these massive vigils are held four times yearly, the Helpers work is taking place daily and weekly.  He stressed the need not only for sidewalk counselors but for more prayer warriors - people who pray on a regular basis for the success of sidewalk counselors.  Prayer warriors also pray for those who come to the clinic seeking abortions, for family and friends of the women who may be coercing or persuading the women to have abortions, and for the workers inside the clinic.  The key to all of this is genuine christian love for all involved, not anger or hatred.

The Helpers offers training for sidewalk counselors which is advised even for those volunteering in other capacities, such as prayer warrior. 

Other volunteering opportunities include helping to distribute flyers for upcoming events at parishes and Catholic schools.  Local bloggers and webmasters can get the word out, as well.  People are needed for data entry, envelope stuffing, mailing and other administrative tasks.  In fact, Dan said he could really use a personal secretary to help with his load.  This is a man who does it all - sidewalk counseling, regular adoration, and administrative work, so it's no joke that he needs administrative assistants. Specifically, I'm told, he could use someone skilled in shorthand, transcription, and someone who can type fast. 

Dan's request for a volunteer to develop a bona fide website for Helpers of God's Precious Infants had someone step forward.  We will need people to put information into electronic form for him.  Feel free to contact me on this if you can help.

Call Dan Goodnow for more info on training and volunteering at 313-530-4539.  If you have difficulty reaching Dan, you can write me at and I will try to get your request to someone within the organization.

You can start the slideshow from the beginning by placing your cursor over to the left on the filmstrip and an arrow should appear. You can also change the speed. I recommend "fast".  There are other viewing options below the slideshow.

Below is a link to my Smugmug gallery on this event.  Bloggers and webmasters are free to use the images, but I ask for a courtesy link back to this blogpost (permalink is found in title or timestamp).  Images may be cropped, but not altered.  For professional use in print, contact me at


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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!