Ever since the From Ocean to Ocean Campaign in Defense of Life began in the Summer of 2012 in Vladivostok, Russia, the pilgrimage has encouraged the faithful to seek the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and has implored prayers from members of the Church, especially consecrated religious.
Some might consider it just a series of coincidences; however, others believe it to be Divine Providence.
When Father Peter West, Vice President of Human Life International, traveled to Sharonville, Ohio this past May, he didn’t travel alone. The Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady Czestochowa accompanied the priest to the city’s Women’s Center clinic for an intense prayer vigil. As has happened now all over North America, the “Black Madonna” joined the pro-life faithful in their prevailing efforts to end abortion at the facility.
The Black Madonna had arrived at the Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Los Angeles, CA in the evening of August 22nd, 2014. Her visit coincided with the parish's 70-year jubilee celebrations, its patronal feast day celebration (our Lady of Czestochowa is celebrated on August 26th), and the reception of the holy relics of St. Pope John Paul II, the Great Apostle of Life.
The Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa next traveled to St. Kilian Church in Mission Viejo. Although the Mass was celebrated on a Monday August 18, the church was packed with around 800 people. St. Kilian Church had recently finished building a new church that was blessed by the Diocese of Orange’s very own Bishop Kevin Vann who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be the new bishop of the diocese on September 12, 2012.
The Black Madonna traveled to the John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda after the prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood. The Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa was processed into the center which was packed with the Polish faithful. They prayed a Rosary and celebrated a Mass. Fr. West concelebrated the Mass and afterwards there was time given for private devotion and there was a special prayer service that began at 7:30pm.
The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated again by the Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa at St. Martin de Porres Church in Yorba Linda. Fr. West preached the homily during an evening Mass and concelebrated the Mass. The priests at St. Martin de Porres Church, Father Sy Nguyen and Father Jeffrey Droessler were especially pleased to receive her and to hear about her victories on the Feast of the Assumption.
The Black Madonna traveled to Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington, CA which is a historic church and one of the first established in Los Angeles in 1865. During the Jubilee year 2000 it was recognized as a Pilgrimage Church and Historic Faith Center. To this church the Black Madonna arrived on August 14 and was received enthusiastically. Pedro Diaz Ruben was the organizer for this church and is an active organizer of pro-life events.
The Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa returned to the Los Angeles area to visit Holy Family Church in Glendale. She was present for an evening Mass on Tuesday August 12 and Fr. West gave the homily; thereafter there was a holy hour with the recitation of the Rosary. Fr. West invited those attending the Mass to join the Black Madonna in a prayer vigil to end abortion at Family Planning Associates in Glendale.
There is a vibrant growing Hispanic and Filipino population St. Peter Chanel Church in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, church staffed by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Fr. Larry Darnell and Fr. Ed Broom greeted us upon our arrival on August 11 and Fr. West gave the homily during a noon day Mass he concelebrated with Fr. Broom that was well attended with over 200 people. Another Mass was celebrated in the evening with even more people attending.
When our entourage traveled through Southern California, Long Beach’s Church of the Holy Innocents was our first stop on August 9. We brought the Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa to Family Planning Associates Medical Group and Planned Parenthood for a prayer vigil with approximately 100 pro-life faithful. It never ceases to amaze me the power of our dedicated pro-lifers.