St. Constance Parish holds vigil for liberty

By Alicja Pozywio | Staff writer
Sunday, April 8, 2012

St. Constance Parish holds vigil for liberty

Father Maciej Galle leads a Eucharistic procession following a Mass to pray for the protection of religious liberty. The group processed in the neighborhood surrounding St. Constance Church, 5843 W. Strong St., on March 29. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Missionary Sisters of Christ the King walk during a eucharistic procession following a Mass for religious liberty on March 29 at St. Constance Parish. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)

About 800 people participated in a March 29 eucharistic procession organized by St. Constance Parish, to pray for the “Protection of Religious Liberty and for a Culture of Life in Our Country.”

The procession followed Mass and wended its way through the neighborhood around the church at 5843 W. Strong St. Participants offered prayers in both English and Polish on the eve of March 30, the day the U.S. bishops called on Catholics and “all people of faith” to observe a day of prayer and fasting for religious freedom and conscience protection.

“We can’t be good Americans by being bad Christians,” said Father Maciej Galle, associate pastor at St. Constance, during his homily. “Bishops, pastors and priests are concerned not only with the protection of all the church’s institutions, but with the care of the souls of individual faithful.”

Galle also summarized the statement of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops on religious liberty that was published March 14.

The idea to organize a eucharistic procession came from parishioners Richard Kehoe and Tad Morun. Kehoe, a member of the St. Constance Parish Pastoral Council, said the council wanted to pray and educate. “When average Catholics express their feelings and thoughts to the legislators and politicians, that will put more and more influence on them,” said Kehoe.

Morun said that everyone he spoke to in the parish about the procession was very supportive. “All you can do is hope, pray and put pressure on the lawmakers. If they see that there are enough of us out there then something will be done,” said Morun.

Father Ryszard Gron, administrator of St. Constance, was very happy with the turnout. “We have been educating and informing people that religious liberty in our country is in danger because of the HHS mandate for the last month,” Gron said.

Gron, who is also associate news editor of Katolik, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Polish-language newspaper, walked through the neighborhood holding up the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. In doing so, he said, he felt “that we were a tool of transformation and change.”

He added that praying the rosary in English and Polish contributed to the peaceful atmosphere, which ironically was representing troubled hearts. Galle said that along the way he thanked God for the unity of St. Constance Parish on this matter. Members of all the St. Constance organizations, including deacons, priests, the Missionary Sisters of Christ the King for Polonia and other parishioners participated. They were joined by members of other parishes such as St. Hyacinth, Holy Trinity Polish Mission and St. Thomas Becket in Mount Prospect.