Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS | The Michigan Catholic
A portion of the approximately 500 people who took part in last Saturday's Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayer vigil outside two eastside abortion clinics. Archbishop Allen Vigneron is in the midst of the Crowd. (click picture to enlarge)
Pro-life prayer vigil
500 join Archbishop Vigneron to 'Go and serve the Lord' in witness to life
by Robert Delaney of The Michigan Catholic
Eastpointe - Archbishop Allen Vigneron told pro-life supporters to remain hopeful for the eventual success of the struggle to end abortion, as he concluded last Saturday's prayer vigil outside two eastside abortion clinics. (Nov 21, 2009)
"Take heart from what Christians were able to do in outlawing slavery," he said before bidding them to "Go, and serve the Lord" from the parking lot of St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, where most participants had left their cars before processing to East Eight Mile Road for the prayer vigil.
Before departing, he said the vigils are an important witness to those who are arriving at the abortion clinics that there is an alternative - "the way of life."
And, Archbishop Vigneron added, "It's not just a demonstration, it's a prayer."
About 500 people joined the archbishop to pray the rosary, sing hymns and recite other prayers while standing in the median across from the abortion clinics - one on the Eastpointe side and the other a few blocks west on the Detroit side of the thoroughfare.
"This was incredibly rewarding for me to see so many people come out, and it was terrific to see so many young people today."
His wife, Kathleen Wilson, noted the presence of the pro-life club from Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, the Warriors for Life.
And she said it was especially gratifying that Archbishop Vigneron led the vigil. "It's just reassuring to know we have such a strong leader," she said.
Phil McCown, a member of SS. Cyril & Methodius (Slovak) Parish in Sterling Heights, called the archbishop's involvement "a great teaching example of what his ministry really is."
The turnout, which participants said was the largest in the Helpers' nearly decade-long series of vigils, included a number of fourth-degree Knights of Columbus in their distinctive regalia, as well as a number of priests and religious, besides the many other participants.
Deacon Lazarus Derghazarian, from St. John's Armenian Orthodox Church in Southfield, who attended with his wife and seven children, called it "a great grace to have his excellency, the archbishop, lead such a demonstration."
"We orthodox are also pro-life, but we are not always as involved as we should be," he added.
Although the vigil has been led by various auxiliary bishops in the past, including by Archbishop Vigneron when he was a Detroit auxiliary, it was the first time for it to be led by a sitting archbishop of Detroit.
The day's events began with Mass at St. Joan of Arc Church in St. Clair Shores, after which participants drove to St. Veronica to begin the vigil. Afterwards, more than 300 of the number returned to St. Joan of Arc for Solemn Benediction, conducted by the parish's pastor, Msgr. Michael Bugarin, and a reception.
In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Vigneron said, "In the Gospel, the Lord teaches us clearly that the Creator of the whole universe is the God of the living, not the God of death. It says in another place, in the Old Testament, that God did not make death; it is God's plan that the whole world would somehow reflect His greatness, that we, men and women, the human beings of his who form the crown of his creation in this world would cherish the capacity for the generation of life."
He said the Christian's "witness to the Gospel of Life is a witness to the goodness of God."
"It must be a witness patterned after God Himself, generous kind, patient, but undaunting and constant."