Diocese of Joliet Holds Two Eucharistic Processions to Share a Culture of Life Witness
Photo by Cathy Douglass | Around 80 parishioners from parishes in the Northeast Youth Ministry Deanery participated in a Walk for Life in January 2021. The Eucharistic procession started at St. Petronille Church in Glen Ellyn and ended at St. James the Apostle.
The Diocese of Joliet recently held two pro-life processions to share a Culture of Life witness. Here are brief summaries from each:
Annemarie Coman, director of youth ministry at St. Petronille Church in Glen Ellyn: This past Jan. 23, 2021, 80 parishioners from parishes in the Northeast Youth Ministry Deanery came out on a snowy, yet sunny, Saturday morning to the Walk for Life. Not to be deterred by cancelations of the big march for Life in Washington, D.C., we decided we could do our own witness and prayer at home, in our own neighborhood.
We began with 8 a.m. Mass at St. Petronille in Glen Ellyn and followed our Eucharistic Lord in a solemn, yet joyful, procession as we walked the 2.5-mile journey in the snow to St. James the Apostle, following Him who is the source of all love and life. Joining us were parishioners from as far as St. Walter in Roselle and Corpus Christi in Carol Stream.
We walked for the children we have lost to abortion, but we also walked in love and solidarity with the mothers who have bore the pain of this loss. We stand and walk together in the tragedies and joys of life, knowing that, with God leading us, we will one day reach eternity.
A collection was taken for Waterleaf Women’s Center, in Aurora, a beautiful non-profit organization, that provides free healthcare and counseling services so young mothers can have the full support and freedom they need to choose life. We continue to pray for the conversion of our own hearts that we will behold with new eyes the wonder and awe of all human life, from the moment God knit us in our mother’s wombs to the moment He calls us home.
Leaders at Benet Academy, including Father Michael Groth, school’s associate chaplain, and Jacqueline Bedore, the school’s director of campus ministry, organized a Eucharistic Procession for Life on Jan. 16, 2021, which began at Benet and ended with benediction at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Naperville.
Bishop Ronald Hicks participated, as well, processing with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. In his welcoming remarks, Bishop Hicks addressed the crowd, saying, “Our God is life. Our God is the source of life. He is the creator of life. And we are here to promote, to protect, and to pray for life and for life eternal for everyone, from conception to natural death.”
Other participants included seminarians and Knights of Columbus groups from the following parishes: St. Margaret Mary, St. Raphael, St. Joan of Arc, Ss. Peter and Paul, Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Mercy and St. Scholastica.
One of the participants, Drew Donovan, a Benet student, said: “We prayed a couple rosaries and a couple Divine Mercy Chaplets and those were just beautiful, being surrounded by the diocese’s seminarians and the bishop. It was really powerful to have these leaders in our Church supporting us and helping us throughout that walk.”
Jacqueline Bedore, one of the leaders of the procession added: “Nine years ago, I attended my first national March for Life in D.C. Participating in that march ingrained within me the desire to move from a passive or occasional Catholic who believed in the pro-life teachings of the Church to someone who was ready to advocate for life year round in the public square.
“This year's Eucharistic Procession for Life brought this witness to the beauty of life home in a more personal way. It was distinctly Catholic in its proclamation, with Catholic guests speaking on distinctly Catholic themes and with Christ leading our procession throughout Naperville and Lisle. It also gave me the opportunity to share the Church's teachings to the schools of my youth – Benet Academy and Ss. Peter and Paul.
“There was a distinct feeling within me of a call answered as I looked back at Benet Academy and saw 500-plus pro-life Catholics processing down our school's center drive. A prophet is seldom welcome in their home, and pro-life work in today's climate is difficult. The Lord, over these nine years, has taken me from witnessing to the sanctity of life from afar in Washington, D.C., and other towns to my own hometown. How blessed I was to walk with Him that day!”