You are not signed in as a Premium user; you are viewing the free version of this program. Premium users have access to full-length programs with limited commercials and receive a 10% discount in the store! Sign up for only one day for the low cost of $1.99. Click the button below.
PONTIAC, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - People from around the Greater Detroit area beat their way to Oakland County on Saturday evening to pray for fellow pro-lifers imprisoned there.
A crowd of over 25 gathered in front of Oakland County Jail for an hour-long prayer vigil to buoy the spirits of two Red Rose Rescuers behind bars. Father Fidelis Moscinski and Matthew Connolly remain incarcerated for protecting unborn babies at an abortuary in Southfield, Michigan, in 2022.
The vigil was organized by Dr. Monica Miller, Catholic cofounder of the Red Rose Rescue, who describes its mission as "peacefully talk[ing] to women scheduled for abortion, with the goal of persuading them to choose life." The rescuers also offer each woman a red rose as "a sign of life, peace and love."
Miller, a pro-life champion who has devoted decades of her life to the most vulnerable, led the vigil.
"The unborn are unwanted people in our country. They are treated like nothing," began Miller, who a short time ago was herself in jail alongside Fr. Moscinski and Connolly.
The vigil began with the singing of the traditional Catholic hymn "Come Holy Ghost." It ended with the recitation of the holy Rosary and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. All participants held a red rose in tribute to the ministry.
In the middle of the event, Miller received a surprise collect call from Fr. Moscinski inside the prison. He had been able to see the vigil from his jail cell and phoned, as Miller said, "to talk with us and to hearten and bless us when we were there to hearten him." The priest displayed an Ave Maria sign that was visible on his jail window.
Afterwards, Miller reflected: "I thought that was great — Father and Matthew Connolly could see us and pray along."
The vigil elicited positive reactions from the participants.
Lynn Mills, a fellow pro-life warrior and director of Pro-Life Michigan, said:
It was an honor to be with this group of people tonight from many parts of Greater Detroit and beyond praying for those who are sacrificing their time and comfort to live out what many of us just speak of — justice for the unborn person cruelly murdered in the womb.
One person from Ferndale, who brought with her a friend from Southwest Detroit, explained why she attended:
I went in support of the Red Rose Rescuers. They are courageous warriors fighting for the voiceless babies being murdered and the parents who are being exploited by Planned Parenthood. I loved how Fr. Fidelis [Moscinski] called Monica [Miller] during the prayer vigil from the jail. He blessed us with such a joyful heart!
Another person hailing from Brandon Township said, "It was a wonderfully holy moment to offer support to the Red Rose Rescuers who are making such a significant sacrifice for the most vulnerable among us. They inspire and fill us with so much hope necessary to sustain this important battle."
Saturday's prayer vigil traces back to April 23, 2022, when six pro-lifers were arrested during a rescue at the Northland Family Planning Clinic in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.
The rescuers' peaceful efforts to persuade women in the waiting room not to kill their babies and their refusal to leave — knowing babies' lives were at stake — led to their being taken into custody by police.
Their trial took place almost a year later, on March 30, 2023, when all six were convicted. Four rescuers were found guilty of trespassing, resisting or obstructing a police officer and interfering with a business; two were found guilty of trespassing and resisting or obstructing a police officer.
The pro-lifers' attorney, Robert Muise of American Freedom Law Center, used the "defense of others" statute during their trial. The statute allows citizens to commit a crime in order to prevent a greater crime. But the strategy was to no avail. In the end, four rescuers were sentenced to jail time, and two were sentenced to 12–18 months' probation with 10 hours of community service.
Both Fr. Mocsinski and Connolly remain "in the slammer," as Miller puts it, and are expected to be released this month.
On May 3, two days before her release, Miller wrote a letter from her jail cell:
It is actually right for pro-lifers to be here! We defended the unborn and reached out to their mothers at the Northland Family Planning death center ... in a Red Rose Rescue. We couldn't just leave the innocents about to be slaughtered. ... [W]e had to remain with the unwanted, outcast unborn. ... As long as a pro-lifer remains in the death center — the killing is stopped — and in the "least" — we continue our witness to those about to be led off to slaughter ... .
She also makes an impassioned plea for more people to join her mission:
More rescuers are NEEDED! My plea to you — please pray for the courage of your own pro-life commitment! Consider doing even ONE Red Rose Rescue! Do not fear the sacrifices. Radical Acts of Evil require our Radical Acts of Love — and those sacrifices join us to the Cross of Christ — the Cross by which the world is saved!
Miller emphasizes that the rescuers see their mission not only at abortion mills but behind bars. One of the jailed "Oakland six" pro-lifers was able, through prayer and loving chats, to persuade her bunkmate not to abort her baby as the woman was intending to do, representing just one of the many opportunities to evangelize in prison.
Reflecting on the prayer vigil overall, Miller said, "I liked that we left the 'Free Fr. Fidelis and Matthew Connolly' sign and the 25 roses right at the entrance of the jail!"