School with ties to Pope John Paul II holds vigil to mark canonization [Detroit Free Press :: ]
(Detroit Free Press (MI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 28--A steady crowd of worshipers held a vigil overnight at Orchard Lake St. Mary's to mark the canonization of two former popes, John Paul II and John XXIII.
The school claims a special connection to John Paul II, who visited it twice before becoming pope. Inside the chapel, the faithful prayed silently and watched ceremonies from Rome and elsewhere around the world to mark the occasion of the recognizing of two saints.
Outside, a series of candles in red and white luminaries lighted the path from the chapel to the grotto, where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on an altar.
-- Mobile users: Tap here to view the gallery of the canonization in Rome
"Jesus is here, so I wanted to be here," said Nahla Wadie-Salem, 51, of Orchard Lake. She said she isn't old enough to remember John XXIII but that she held John Paul II in the highest regard.
"I consider him the pope of the youth," she said. "So I always pray for my children."
Dave Montgomery, 57, of Orchard Lake, has a son who graduated last year from the school and wanted to help out for the occasion. He and a group of students at the high school helped light and place more than 600 luminaries.
"My Polish grandmother on my mother's side is looking down on me," he said.
Montgomery said the Grotto was full earlier in the evening, though attendance was lower as the evening continued and temperatures outside fell into the low 40s. Some of the faithful wrapped themselves in blankets and wore hats to keep warm.
-- From the archives: Free Press photographer spends time with Pope John XXIII
Collette Rogers, 68, of Farmington Hills, came with a friend with whom she'd repeatedly traveled to Rome during the Papacy of John Paul II. The pair were at the Vatican for the canonization of St. Faustina, a Polish nun known for promoting devotion to God's Divine Mercy. The two couldn't travel to Rome for this event, but thought being at St. Mary's would be the next best thing.
"We have a very strong devotion to Divine Mercy," she said.
Organizers planned prayers at 3 a.m. and then to take Blessed Sacrament in a procession from the grotto to the chapel, where the canonization mass would be shown on a large screen television.
"It's a very spiritual experience," said Lloyd Peach, 44, of Birmingham.
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