Our Lady Visits Front Royal, Virginia - Home of Human Life International

St. John the Baptist Church is less than a mile away from the beginning of the Skyline Drive which runs for 105 miles (169 km) down the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  General Stonewall Jackson won a battle for the Confederacy here.  In another battle, brother fought brother here as two regiments from the State of Maryland fought against one another, one fighting for the southern Confederacy; the other fighting for the northern Union. Front Royal is also the headquarters of Human Life International - the main sponsor of the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life.

Fr. Jerome Fasano is a good, faithful pastor who preaches boldly in defense of life and upholds authentic Catholic teaching.  He welcomed the icon before the 5:00 P.M. Mass on Saturday September 7, 2013. The Knights of Columbus processed the icon into the Church and she was placed in the sanctuary.

In his homily Fr. Fasano that what we were doing that day was similar to what Pope Francis had done earlier the same day in Rome. The Pope Francis led a procession of 100,000 people carrying an icon called Salus Populi Romani praying for peace in Syria and throughout the world. So we also welcomed the Blessed Virgin in a procession in the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  We prayed for the protection of life and peace before the icon just as Pope Francis did. Fr. Fasano said we need to use the weapons God gave us to build a culture of life which include fasting and prayer, especially the rosary which he called a “weapon of mass construction’ because it builds up rather than destroys.

He echoed the strong plea of Pope Francis not to choose war as a means of solving problems, because it often creates more problems than it solves.  He also said it was hypocritical for the United States to complain about chemical weapons when we allow the use of chemicals, like RU-486 and so called “emergency contraception”, which really causes an early abortion, to kill unborn children.

Fr. Fasano called to mind the attempts of enemies to destroy the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. She shows her scars, but it is her enemies who have been destroyed.  The Church still stands.  So also, Our Lady can bring us victory over the enemies of life, marriage and family.

Long lines of people waited to venerate the icon after Mass.  One man said “I saw grumpy children who complained about standing in line be transformed as they drew closer to the icon and finally were able to touch her.” The children were aware of the spiritual presence of the Blessed Virgin in the icon.  In this Year of Faith, may we imitate their faith and call on Our Lady with confidence to bring about a victory of the civilization of life and love!

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