National March for Life 2017, Birmingham

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Knights of St Columba

On 19th May 2017, at the invitation of the Dean Canon Gerry Breen and Ben, Principal Organiser for the National March for Life 2017, Guardians Andrew and Michael arrived at St. Chad’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Birmingham bringing the Miraculous Relic Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn and  Patroness of the Pro-Life Movement, for a two-day Pilgrimage Visit for the National  March for Life 2017.

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The Relic Image arrives in its travelling case

On arrival, we were met and warmly welcomed by our Pilgrimage partners, Ernie Northey, and his team from the Knights of Saint Columba Province 18. Also there to help us were our old friends from the Cathedral team led by Andrew De Valliere, Site Manager.

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The prayers of installation were said by Father Gerry Lennon (Chaplain to the Children’s Hospital) both during the unpacking and positioning of the Relic Image in the Lady Chapel. The Chapel was looking magnificent with impressive flower arrangements enhancing the area set aside for display.

Friday was the day for the People of the Birmingham Archdiocese. The welcome Mass was at midday, and throughout the day a constant stream of pilgrims came for veneration and prayers. We were privileged in the late afternoon to have a visit from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Carl Rice, who seemed genuinely interested in the story of the Guadalupe Apparitions and the work of the Guardians.

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Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Carl Rice

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Saturday brought over a thousand people to the Cathedral for the 2017 National March for Life. Our Lady of Guadalupe as Protectress of the Unborn was the patroness of the March.

Guardians Anne Marie, Dick and Mike O Hara joined the team for the day. We were privileged to have the congregation led, in the veneration of the Miraculous Relic Image, by three Bishops: Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham; Bishop Ralph Heskett, Bishop of Hallam; and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Byrne of the Birmingham Diocese.

Before the March started, long lines of pilgrims queued patiently for a chance to venerate. Veneration continued throughout the day with a full programme of prayers and reflections for those who were remaining in the Cathedral, praying for the success of the March or just to visit the Miraculous Relic Image.

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A large congregation attended the farewell Mass and veneration continued until 6.00pm due to the sheer numbers remaining. Guardian Mike O’Hara summed up the feelings of all who attended,

“It was a memorable experience and a privilege to be a small part of such a great public witness to our Catholic Faith”.

March for Life UK May 20th 2017

The aim and mission of this annual March is to “create awareness of the hurt and damage abortion causes, to foster a sense of community in the pro Life movement and inspire others to become pro Life”. This was certainly achieved here today…

Thousands gathered in Victoria Square, Birmingham, for the annual March for Life; this year being the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act. We remember approximately 8.7 million babies who have lost their lives during this time.

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Despite the rain, it did not dampen the spirit of joy and enthusiasm that was strong among those gathered. There were many guest speakers from far and wide, including Aisling Hubert and Lila Rose from America, all giving moving witness and testimonies. The Tenor, Martin Aelred, filled the square with his uplifting and beautiful voice.

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After a delay caused by protesters, the March was re-routed, proceeding through the centre. On arriving at the Anglican Church, we were advised to stop by the police as a very angry and hostile group of pro choice people confronted us. We awaited reinforcements to arrive, praying the Rosary in the torrential rain, full of hope and very peaceful. As we were able to continue the March and return to Victoria Square, the sun came out and seemed to dry up all the rain and any unrest that had tried to dampen the day.