The Black Madonna meets the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and stands amidst 3,000 crosses

On our way South from Vandalia, Illinois, we drove through beautiful rural farmland to bring the pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa to St. Aloysius Catholic Community in Pewee Valley, Kentucky.  Jadwiga Andres and her husband Walter Mendoza prepared a delicious Polish dinner for us and a few guests upon our arrival. We brought the Black Madonna into their home and after dinner we prayed the Holy Rosary before the icon in Polish, English, Arabic, Spanish and German.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who also currently serves as the President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, offered the morning Mass for the large crowd, including 400 students of St. Aloysius Catholic School.  After Mass, which Father West concelebrated, Archbishop Kurtz spoke about the need to defend life and introduced Edward Harping, the new Coordinator of Pro-Life Ministries for the Archdiocese.  Mr. Harping talked about the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa and her role in defending life and invited others to join her for prayer vigils in front of abortion mills during her visit.

Several school children offered candles and bouquets of flowers to Our Lady of Czestochowa during the Welcoming Ceremony.  After the Mass, the children received holy cards and venerated the Black Madonna before returning to class.

In the evening, Fr. West offered Mass and preached about the icon and the pilgrimage. 

After Mass, the pilgrim icon the Knights of Columbus processed outside to a Cemetery of Innocents memorial display. A committee set up 3,000 white crosses in front of the church as a poignant reminder of the number of unborn children killed by abortion daily in the United States. Cemetery of Innocents displays are increasingly common throughout the country. They remind us of the humanity of every victim of abortion and the toll abortion has taken and continues to take on our country.

We paused for a short Service of Remembrance in front of this display before processing the icon to the original St. Aloysius church, where people venerated her during an all night vigil. The events were planned with great care and reverence, for which we are very grateful to Jadwiga Andres, Jola Gates and all whose meticulous care showed in every detail.

We are also grateful to Archbishop Kurtz for his strong public leadership in the cause of life and family over the years, for his personally welcome the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and for his support of Human Life International and the From Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Human Life.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stood at the head of a special committee for the promotion and defense of marriage.  - The attempts to change the legal definition of marriage or the creation of a simulated marriage, oftentimes under the disguise of "equality", "citizen rights", or a fight against discrimination, do not serve the truth.  These type of attempts undermine the very essence of marriage, not taking into account the very important role of marriage and family in the life of society, - he said, expressing an opposition to the legalization of homosexual unions.  He is an ardent defender of human life.  Together, with at least three hundred pro-lifers from the State of Kentucky and southern Indiana, the archbishop participated in a prayer service in front of the E.M.W. Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, KY, where abortions are performed.  Archbishop Kurtz knelt on the sidewalk and prayed the Holy Rosary for the protection of the unborn babies and for the change of heart for the women, who decide to have an abortion.

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