We arrived at Sacred Heart Church in Rock Island, Illinois on April 8th, just in time for noon Mass. Upon entering the church, Father West met Father Deogratias, who is from Tanzania. They discovered that they have a common friend in Fr. Deusdedit Byabato who is also from Tanzania and serves as a priest in the Diocese of Peoria. He was also familiar with the work of Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s Tanzania-based director of English-Speaking Africa.
Hundreds to Venerate Renowned Religious Icon in Chicago - May 2014
We arrived at Holy Family Catholic Church in Rockford, Illinois and Our Lady had a special welcome by the Knights of Columbus. The Knights maintained their presence throughout her time in the parish. A special thank you to Patricia Bainbridge who is the Chairman of the Board at Human Life International for setting up this visit to her hometown parish at
We drove through beautiful farm land as we left Iowa City and arrived in Dyersville an hour ahead of schedule and had plenty of time to set up for the 3:00 pm procession of the Black Madonna welcoming her to St. Francis Xavier Basilica.
The basilica was built to serve German immigration in this area of Iowa. English settlers were the first here, but after a brief time they moved on.
At noon of April 4th Our Lady of Częstochowa arrived at St. Raphael of Brooklyn Church which belongs to the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate which has its seat in Damascus.
What was apparent immediately upon arriving in Iowa City was that it is a university town. The University of Iowa students fill downtown sidewalks. St. Raphael of Brooklyn Church is within the boundaries of downtown but in a suburban setting.
While on the road to Michigan City, Indiana we received a call from Fr .Walter Ciesla asking if we could arrive earlier to give the preschool through 8th graders an opportunity to see the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Fr. West readily agreed and in no time at all we arrived at St. Stanislaus Kostka.
After arrival at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in Toledo, Ohio the icon was placed at the center of this magnificent cathedral. The cathedral is made of Massachusetts granite and Indiana limestone. The dimensions of the church are 285 ft long by 215 ft wide. The roof is topped by many tiles of different colors including bold oranges, purple-blues, greens and more.
Amy Mushinski is a local right to life coordinator and she helped organize the trip to St. Adalbert Catholic Parish in Berea, Ohio. Amy mentioned that the Black Madonna had a good amount of advertising in the community so much so that she even heard an advertisement on her country radio station about the arrival of Our Lady of Czestochowa icon.
On Monday morning we drove about an hour from Grand Rapids to Lansing, Michigan and were greeted by the rector Msgr. Bernard Reilly. We arrived shortly before the 12:05 pm Mass at St. Mary Cathedral Parish. Fr. West had the opportunity to give a brief homily about the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life and invite people to come to a holy hour in the evening.
After leaving Sterling Heights on Saturday morning we drove about two and a half hours to St. Isidore’s Church in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is the largest city in Michigan after Detroit, and the largest city in Western Michigan. The city is 25 miles east of Lake Michigan.
Fr. Donald Lomasiewicz greeted us immediately upon arrival and gave us a warm welcome. St. Isidore is a very active parish with many young adults. Some of these young adults were in the choir and sang plain chant.