We started the day by praying in front of the seat of Canadian government in Ottawa. This was very much in line with what Archbishop Prendergast had suggested the previous day at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, namely, that Catholics should be unafraid to give witness to the faith and the sanctity of life. The morning was especially cold, even for Canadians.
Amidst the freezing weather there gathered a group of around 70 people who all joined together in praying for a change in Canadian law regarding the rights of the unborn and regarding for the definition of marriage.
Sonorous hymns were sung to the Madonna and petitions asking for her intercession were led by Fr. West. Those assembled processed with the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa around the parliament courtyard in front of the government capitol. Every year this event is held on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and a statue of St. Joseph accompanied the procession with the Icon.
After the procession, we gathered at the parliament courtyard and continued to a local abortuary. A group had arrived beforehand and set up speakers and a microphone from which a few speakers addressed the crowd. Fr. West prayed for the closing of the abortuary in downtown Ottawa as he led a rosary.
At Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Our Lady of Czestochowa was emotionally received and venerated by a crowd who were very keen to be connected with the Icon. As has happened all over America, the local Knights of Columbus joined in to make this a special event. Many people signed up for more news about the From Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage and waited in line to touch a holy card of Our Lady of Czestochowa to the Icon. In attendance were many French Canadians as well as many faithful from the Archdiocese of Ottawa. Fr. West was given the opportunity to talk about the history of the icon to all who gathered in the Cathedral Basilica to venerate her.
Returning to St. Patrick’s Basilica, Fr. West gave a 15 minute presentation before offering a general blessing to everyone in attendance and speaking with several of the faithful about the pilgrimage and the Black Madonna.
We finished the day with an event at St. Hyacinth in Ottawa. The priests staffing this Polish parish where Oblates of Mary Immaculate from Poland. Of course, they gave a very warm welcome to Our Lady. The church was packed mainly with Ethnic Poles who were noticeably moved by the visit of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The songs, prayer petitions and Mass were mainly in Polish, with some parts in English. Flowers were offered to Our Lady by young girls wearing traditional dresses.