Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe draws crowd outside Planned Parenthood
Story and photos by Carolee McGrath
SPRINGFIELD – More than two dozen people gathered to pray the rosary outside of Planned Parenthood on Wasson Avenue, here, on Thursday, Sept. 12. The Knights of Columbus Council 14600, of St. Martha Parish, Enfield, Conn., brought the traveling missionary image of Our Lady Guadalupe to the vigil.
“The Catholic Church is universal, being pro-life is universal. It’s normal because God is pro-life” said Father James Longe, of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in West Springfield. Father Longe led the prayer as the group processed from Wasson Avenue to Main Street.
“The image is a must because when people go by, when you see Mother Mary enthroned in glory, you know something special is going on,“ Father Longe added.
St. Martha’s Knights of Columbus council is hosting the traveling image until Sept. 23.
The image comes from the Dan Lynch Apostolates in Vermont, and was blessed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico. There are several missionary images that travel around the world. They are the exact size and replica of the original image the Blessed Mother left on St. Juan Diego’s tilma in 1531. During that time period, human sacrifice was part of the Aztec religious practices in Mexico. The Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the unborn, is visibly pregnant in the image.
Tina Poulin, the office manager at the Pioneer Valley Massachusetts Citizens for Life, attended the vigil.
“It’s an important thing to do, to be a presence, so people can see you, so they know life is important and precious at every stage,” said Poulin. She added the image helps remind people of the loving presence of Mary, and her son and savior, Jesus Christ.
“We want to meet people where they’re at and help them where they’re at. Very often people are in enough pain already," Poulin said. "They don’t need more condemnation, but we want to throw as much love at them as possible.
"The Blessed Mother was not somebody who was condemning, but loving, gentle and kind," she said. "What that image helps to remind me about is the way the Blessed Mother is and it helps me be the same way.”
Robert Joseph Carter, a member of Mary Mother of Hope Parish in Springfield, also attended the vigil. “When you pray the rosary, you receive a great blessing from our Blessed Mother,” said Carter.
The missionary image will make several more stops in Connecticut through Sept. 23.
For more on this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.