March 21, on the road again but this time to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Syracuse, New York. We made good time going towards the check point for the Canadian-US border. Preparing to answer the usual questions at the border checkpoint Fr. West and Chris practiced responses.
Upon arriving at the border some standard questions began such as "may I see your passport". The border agent received Fr. West's passport and quipped "there are two of you, why do I only have one passport". Chris barely had time to give the agent his passport but unfortunately still had his sunglasses on - his usual custom during sunny days. The agent asked to see his face and noticed that both Fr. West and Chris had their cell phones on and asked them to put them down. The border agent appeared a little agitated but Fr. West explained why there were so many boxes in the vehicle and that we were visiting churches with the icon. The border agent calmed down as Fr. West explained our visit and the agent waved us through. With no time to lose we updated the pastor of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we would be on time for the mass but later than expected.
Fr. Andrew Baranski greeted the arrival of the icon immediately. He began facilitating the icon with some Knights of Columbus who dressed in their uniforms to give Our Lady of Czestochowa a procession into the Basilica. Soon the evening began for mass, Our Lady's Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration and veneration of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Fr. West was the principal celebrant and also the homilist for the mass. Many local prolife people who give witness to the local community were on hand and strengthened by the icon's visit. Some were already following the Black Madonna and the work of HLI and new connections were made with others. We are looking forward to supporting and collaborating even more with the local faithful in their courageous and sustained witness to the dignity and sanctity of life.
Next day started with a 7am mass and prayer vigil at a local abortion mill. A team of people who are dedicated to closing this particular one have been persevering for 5 years. A representative group met us at the Basilica. We then proceeded via caravan to the abortion mill. We brought the Black Madonna to pray with us on the sidewalk in front of the abortuary. We prayed for the closing of this abortuary and the collapse of the culture of death.