The Icon or Image of Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians was delivered to Fr. Kidd Council. We held the official booklet service and rosary (reflecting upon the sorrowful mysteries) on February 20, 2019. The event was announced from the pulpit at the previous weekend’s Masses at Holy Family Church, Mitchellville, MD. There was insufficient time to get it listed in the parish bulletin (given the short notice from the State and the District). Unfortunately, there was snow and ice that day. Public schools were closed. The numbers for which we hoped fail to materialize. Nevertheless, nine people participated (a dozen if you count those who came late).
The issue of persecuted brothers and sisters in the faith is a very important one for us. Over the years we have raised thousands of dollars for believers struggling to maintain a Christian presence in the Middle East. We have offered the peace-crosses from Supreme and annually support a Holy Land vendor that sells items in the parish for the sake of Bethlehem Christian families. The image was left in the parish church for a week so that others might be reminded of this great need for our continued support and prayer. While we believe in the efficacy of prayer, this image is understood as crucially important in raising general consciousness about the plight of Christians and Catholics around the globe. Many are witnessing today with their blood and we MUST be mindful of their sacrifices. They are willing to die for what many in the western world would throw away— our wondrous inheritance of faith.
Thirty plus more people prayed the rosary before the image on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Our Lady Queen of Families Sodality prayed the rosary before the image after the 9:30 AM Sunday Mass. They were given the image’s holy cards. The 500 plus people who came to Sunday Masses were immediately made aware of the image between the altar and baptismal font. All were asked to pray for our persecuted brethren. While the emphasis is often upon the Middle East, our many immigrants in the parish and council have experienced firsthand acts of violence and oppression in Asia and in Africa where even churches have been bombed and vandalized. This is an issue very close to the hearts of our good people.
The image remained in the church until Wednesday, February 27. Following 7:30 PM Mass and the conclusion of our Novena for Life, the image was passed on to the next Grand Knight.