Archbishop, faithful pray to saintly pope at his shrine in Orchard Lake
Orchard Lake — Kneeling before the relic of St. John Paul the Great at the archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron was leading the Detroit archdiocese by following a saint.
Silently praying with a group of parishioners behind him, the archbishop led the people at the Orchard Lake chapel in the Litany of St. John Paul the Great in a low-key event that served as a chance for the local faithful to pray for the intercession of St. John Paul II in the run-up to Synod 16.
The archbishop announced he would be at the archdiocesan shrine on St. John Paul II’s feast day, Oct. 22, to pray for the success of Synod 16.
Msgr. Thomas C. Machalski, chancellor-rector of the Orchard Lake Schools, spoke to those gathered before the litany began, informing people that reconciliation was available for those who wished to receive a plenary indulgence for the pilgrimage to the archdiocesan shrine to the beloved pope who twice graced Orchard Lake with his presence.
“I have a special devotion to St. John Paul II, and I wanted to celebrate his feast day here,” said Rita Haggar, a parishioner at Prince of Peace Parish in West Bloomfield. “I saw him at World Youth Day in Rome, and I saw him again in Lourdes, and I always felt a special connection to him.”
Taking the time to visit Orchard Lake to commemorate the feast was important to Haggar, giving her a chance to reflect on the life of the saintly pope.
“For me, he is a father, in every way a true shepherd,” Haggar said. “It’s a double blessing here, to see our bishop honor a saint, it’s a great example for us.”
During the service, a reading from St. John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Missio was proclaimed. The reading was powerful, according to Christal Hailo, a parishioner of nearby Our Lady of Refuge Parish who came to pray for the upcoming synod.
“I loved the reading they did from St. John Paul on evangelization,” Hailo said. “I see St. John Paul II as such a force for bringing change in the Church. I came to pray for the archdiocese, for the synod. Our archdiocesan vicariate representative encouraged all of us to join the archbishop, and as a bonus, I’ve been reading about the indulgence.”
After the reading, Archbishop Vigneron led the group in a prayer to St. John Paul for the New Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
With synod weeks away, the public display of prayer was a powerful moment for those at the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake.
“Listening to St. John Paul the Great means witnessing to the joy of Christ,” said Marcus Paulus, a parishioner at St. Joseph Oratory in Detroit. “We prayed with the archbishop for light and guidance, because of the way John Paul II was a witness to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven. He was a pastor to all, and it was so powerful to see our bishop praying to him for guidance.”