Upon the arrival of the Black Madonna on September 2, Father James Barrand led a solemn procession of the Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa around his church with a throng of parishioners. Attending the Akathist service were Monsignor George Vida, pastor emeritus, who has been a priest for 57 years; Father John Monestero, parochial vicar of St. Justin Martyr Church in Anaheim and member of the Commission on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs; Father Alan Benander, O. Praem.; and school students from St. Michael’s Abbey Preparatory School staffed by Norbertine priests.
Later, Father Al Baca, pastor of St. Cecilia parish and the diocesan Vicar for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, led Compline or Night Prayer according to the Roman Rite. The following morning I concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Father Barrand for the repose of the soul of the new martyrs in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria and persecuted Christians around the world.