Sunday, September 11, 2011

Archbishop Vigneron leads pro-life prayer vigil in drenching rain

Detroit's Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron (front, pectoral cross visible) leads the prayer vigil

The Helper's of God's Precious Infants of Michigan holds several larger prayer vigils from spring to fall, in addition to daily sidewalk counseling and prayer that members do outside of two abortion mills in close proximity to one another.  They are both on 8 Mile Road - one on the Eastpointe side and the other on the Detroit side about a block or two apart.

[Note: Photos may be used online with attribution to me; news sources wanting to use photos for print should contact me at for high resolution pics].

The day starts out with Mass at 7:30 am, usually celebrated by a bishop of the diocese, or other leader, and it is followed by a Rosary procession under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe (see Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pro-life Movement).  All 20 mysteries of the Rosary are prayed in procession and in front of the two mills before vigil concludes with Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament around 10:15 am.

It was a challenge at times to photograph due to the subdued lighting in St. Veronica's Parish, but it all worked out.  I do not use flash during Mass, and the high ISO can make photos grainy.

Only some of the photos are embedded here.  A link at the bottom will take you to the full gallery.

St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe is packed at 7:30 am for the Mass

The First Reading: 1 Timothy 1:15-17

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel: Luke 6:43-49

Jesus said to his disciples:
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

"Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."

Archbishop Vigneron delivers an "off the cuff" homily.

Here are some notes from Archbishop Vigneron's homily. 
Archbishop Vigneron, speaking of the First Reading (1 Tim 1:15-17), reminded us that that we are all sinners. Then reflecting on today’s Gospel reading (Luke 6:43-49) he also recalled how every tree is known by its own fruit. While we are all sinners, “we are expected to bear good fruit.” Without a solid foundation, we are like the tree that produces nothing and is cut down.

After recalling in the First Reading how St. Paul considered himself the first among sinners, the Archbishop said, “implicitly then, we all get in line behind him.” He then pointed out that God did not leave us after, "The Fall”, giving us the Holy Spirit to assist us in the way spoken of by St. Paul in his letter to Timothy, “Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life." The point that he drilled home was that, just as God is patient and merciful with us – as weak and sinful as we are - we must be a witness to these things for others. In this way, “we are transformed and become the good tree that bears good fruit." Archbishop Vigneron emphasized the need for humility because without the grace of the Holy Spirit we would not be able to do the work. He explained that the good work we came to do today – to pray outside of two abortion mills – must be done with humility, as cooperative instruments of God.

The Archbishop of Detroit then discussed the assuredness with which we must do this good work. He assured us that our work, in cooperation with God’s grace, will bear some good fruit, not necessarily visible to us. He then gave a gentle admonishment, “We do not boast of that for our own sake. This is not the reason for what we might call, ‘pro-life trash-talk.’ You don’t do that. We act humbly as instruments of God’s purpose.” Before ending his homily, Archbishop Vigneron encouraged us to look to the Blessed Virgin Mary as an example. She cooperated with God’s will with humility and without hesitation in all that He wanted of her.

The Elevation of the Host

After the Mass, the procession began.  Rain came down in sheets as we exited the parish church.  It is about 5 blocks or so to 8 Mile Boulevard.

Through some of these photos you will see priests and sisters from a number of orders.  It is often difficult for diocesan priests to participate because of funerals and other duties which often fall on Saturdays. As Archbishop Vigneron pointed out today, seminarians of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) have entered Sacred Heart Major Seminary and are living locally. I was able to speak to some of them after Benediction and if memory serves, there are 16 members from the order here in Detroit.  Several were at the vigil, visible in their light to medium gray habits under ordinary coats.  Please keep them, and all seminarians at Sacred Heart in your prayers.

Archbishop Vigneron is seen with the pectoral cross.  He is flanked by other priests who will all take turns leading a decade through walkie-talkies.  These are distributed throughout the crowd so the leader can be heard.

Both Eastpointe Police and Detroit Police provided safe passage across the busy 8 Mile Boulevard
remaining nearby until all were headed back

After some time facing the Eastpoint abortion mill, the crowd walked another block or two and faced the Detroit side where there is a second abortion mill (again escorted by police from the two cities).

As most of the crowd was outside, back at St. Veronica's, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament took place and those who could not walk the distance remained in prayer.

Just as the procession ended back at St. Veronica's the rain ceased.  They are completing their prayers.
President of HGPI-Michigan, Dan Goodnow holds a walkie-talkie
for Archbishop Vigneron who addressed the crowd before giving a blessing.

Fr. Stanley Pachla, pastor of St. Veronica's, ends the vigil with Benediction

Above the baldacchino of the original altar at St. Veronica's is this painting of...  St. Veronica

There are many more photos, even though I was hindered by rain.  Please visit my Smugmug gallery for this event here:

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