‘Gather the children in this wild country’

The story of the Blessed Mother appearing to Adele Brise in 1869 has been retold countless times, generation after generation. The message Our Lady of Good Help, delivered on her third and final appearance to Adele, continues to guide the shrine’s mission: “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation. … Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the cross and how to approach the sacraments. That is what I wish you to do.”

Sam Lucero | The Compass

These words came to mind while photographing the dedication of the Mother of Mercy Hall at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 28. Catholics of all ages, an estimated 650 of them, turned out for the dedication. Among those in attendance were many children – some alone with their parents or grandparents, and some with a few or many siblings.

I like to scan the crowds for photos of interest. Sure enough, I found the children to be among the most photogenic. As I reviewed some of the photos at the end of the day, I thought to myself, “Adele would be pleased that after 160 years, the children ‘in this wild country’ are still coming to Champion, learning the sign of the cross and other acts of faith.” So, too, would the Blessed Mother.

Here are some of the photos taken at the shrine on Divine Mercy Sunday. Enjoy.

 

Sam Lucero | The Compass

Sam Lucero | The Compass

Sam Lucero | The Compass

Sam Lucero | The Compass

Sam Lucero | The Compass

To view a gallery of photos from the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, visit our Flickr page.

About Sam Lucero

Lucero is news and information director for The Compass and a 30-year veteran of the Catholic press. When not at his desk, he enjoys taking photos and posting them online to share with friends. His “Bugs Up Close,” a macrophotography gallery of insects and plants found in his back yard, is a work in progress.  To see a sample go to his Inspired Images website. Follow him on Twitter for tweets about church, photography and technology.