Vigil YAGR-12 - History

Vigil YAGR-12 - History


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Vigil

(YAGR-12: dp. 10,760 (f.), 1. 441'6", b. 67', dr. 24';
s. 12.5 k.; cpl. 154; cl. Guardian; T. ZEC2-S-C5)

SS Raymond Van Brogan was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 2339) on 14 December 1944 at the Wainwright yard of the J. A. Jones Construction Co. in Panama City, Fla., launched on 27 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Anne Durham; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 10 February 1945.

Following a shakedown cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, the ship transited the Panama Canal on 19 February and headed for Terminal Island, Calif., where she was turned over to A. J. Bull & Co. for operation under contract to the War Shipping Administration. She performed several resupply missions in the Pacific theater, carrying aircraft as well as other war material and some troops. Following the end of World War II, the War Shipping Administration transferred her contract to the Waterman Steamship Corp., which firm operated her from Mobile, Ala. In the summer of 1947, SS Ragwond Van Brogan was taken out of service and berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Ala. Nine years later, in June 1956, she was brought out of the Maritime Commission's reserve fleet for conversion to a radar picket ship and active service with the Navy. She was moved to Philadelphia where she completed her conversion at the naval shipyard. On 7 August 1956, she received a new name and her Navy hull designation to become Vigil (YAGR-12). She completed conversion early in 1957 and was placed in service on 5 March 1957, Lt. Comdr. Stanley Abstetar, USNR, in command.

During Vigil's eight-year naval career, she was assigned to the Continental Air Defense Command and served as one of that organization's radar picket ships operating as seaward extensions of its radar coverage system. The ship operated out of Davisville, R.I., during her entire period of service and spent on the average of 200 days per year actually engaged in picket patrols in waters off the coast of New England. On 28 September 1958, she was redesignated AGR-12 thereby dropping her yard craft designation and becoming a commissioned auxiliary. On 3 March 1965, Vigil was placed out of commission. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 April 1965, and she was returned to the Maritime Commission for lay up with the Hudson River Group of the National Defense Reserve Fleet. On 23 November 1970, she was sold to the Spanish firm, Revalorizacion de Materiales, for scrapping.


Sitka vigil a chance to mourn, reflect on history of residential schools

Last week, 215 feathers were placed on the lawn of Sitka’s former residential school, Sheldon Jackson, in remembrance of the 215 children whose remains were discovered at a former residential school in Canada, drawing (KCAW/Tash Kimmell)

Communities across the United States where residential schools were once located are reckoning with their own history this week, following the discovery of a mass burial site at a former residential school for Indigenous children in Canada. At 7 p.m. on Sunday (6-6-21), Sitkans will gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the 215 children and acknowledge local history on the Sheldon Jackson campus.

Following the discovery late last month (5-28-21) of the remains of 215 children in a mass burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, an anonymous artist installed 215 eagle and raven feathers on the lawn of Sitka’s own former residential school, Sheldon Jackson.

Steve Johnson noticed the installation shortly before it was taken down.

“I drove by one day, and I saw a bunch of feathers there, and I didn’t have to count them or think. Immediately I knew what it was and why,” he said. “It was a very powerful statement to me.”

Johnson was born and raised in Sitka, and his family has a deep connection to Sheldon Jackson.

“My father’s name was Steve Johnson, who was a teacher at Sheldon Jackson College and a painter. And my grandfather was A.P. Johnson, Andrew P. Johnson, who was the first valedictorian of the first graduating class of Sheldon Jackson when it was an industrial school,” he said. The history of my family and the history of residential schools are very intertwined.”

And he said that history is complex.

“There are many people in this town and many people within my family who the legacy of growing up with Sheldon Jackson, as a college and as a trade school is very close and very near and dear to their hearts. And we recognize that. And there are people that have benefited greatly from their experience there,” Johnson said.

“But when we step back and look, these things were tools of assimilation,” he said. “And although they were great things that came of it. There were also things that are not so great.”

Johnson says there are plenty of parallels with the history of residential schools in Canada and the United States. The policies, the timeframe — it’s all similar. For over a century both governments forced Indigenous children from their homes and into boarding schools.

“And a lot of these kids that went to industrial residential schools, many of them never went home. And there’s different stories from different schools in different parts of the country. But the simple fact is, nearly every residential school has a graveyard,” he said.

Johnson is organizing a vigil to remember the 215 children in BC, and to acknowledge Sitka’s own history, which includes some children who were involuntarily sent to Sheldon Jackson, whether as orphans, or as the result of relocation.

“I feel like the kids who were rounded up and taken to Sheldon Jackson College, their story is underrepresented,” he said. “And I would like to see it included in the canvas that is our town.”

He hopes the event will open up a dialogue about a subject that can be difficult to discuss.

“To gather together and to talk a little bit about the history. And to talk about how it’s impacted us, as two, three, four generations down the line from our parents, from our grandparents who experienced these things,” Johnson said. “And also to lend support and to recognize that we don’t have to whisper about these things anymore, we can talk about them, and we can address them.”

While Johnson has speakers lined up for Sunday’s vigil, he doesn’t want to discourage anyone in the community from attending and sharing their stories.

“Bring a candle. Bring a tissue. Bring a story if you’d like. Bring a picture,” he said. “This is this is an event by and for all of the people who wish to talk real history. Good or bad.”


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was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, in Mobile, Alabama. On 14 May 1963, she was sold for 48, 765.56 to Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation
USS Interpreter AGR - 14 was a Guardian - class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as
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573 cubic feet 14 146 m3 bale Complement: 38 62 USMM 21 40 USNAG Armament: Varied by ship Bow - mounted 3 inches 76 mm 50 caliber gun Stern - mounted

573 cubic feet 14 146 m3 bale Complement: 38 62 USMM 21 40 USNAG Armament: Varied by ship Bow - mounted 3 inches 76 mm 50 caliber gun Stern - mounted
part of the Distant Early Warning Line. Vigil YAGR - 12 was laid down on 14 December 1944, under a Maritime Commission MARCOM contract, MC hull 2339
573 cubic feet 14 146 m3 bale Complement: 38 62 USMM 21 40 USNAG Armament: Varied by ship Bow - mounted 3 inches 76 mm 50 caliber gun Stern - mounted
up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Wilmington, North Carolina. On 14 April 1967, she was transferred to the US Navy for use as a Disposal Ship
National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, Texas. She was sold for scrapping, 14 March 1961, to Luria Bros. and Co., for 61, 789.22. She was removed from the
1944. She was allocated to Moore - McCormack Lines, Inc., 18 August 1944. On 14 October 1946, she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, in Mobile
1945. She was allocated to Weyerhaeuser Steamship Co., on 21 March 1945. On 14 June 1949, she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River
Lieutenant Colonel Edward K. Collins. Edward K. Collins was laid down on 14 July 1944, under a Maritime Commission MARCOM contract, MC hull 2315, by
On 27 October 1945, she struck a mine while sailing to Genoa, Italy. On 14 May 1946, she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River

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Holy Saturday

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Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil, Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season, falling on the day before Easter Sunday. The observance commemorates the final day of Christ’s death, which is traditionally associated with his triumphant descent into hell.

The early church celebrated the end of Lent with large baptismal ceremonies, but for many centuries no services were held on Holy Saturday in the Western churches, recalling the suspended state of Christ’s followers in the period between his Crucifixion and Resurrection. Beginning in 1955, the Roman Catholic and some other churches restored the evening Easter Vigil. The Eastern Orthodox churches had never abandoned the ceremony. The vigil celebration may include lighting fires and candles to symbolize Christ’s passing from death to life and tolling bells to signify the joyous end of Lent. Many churches also celebrate the baptism of catechumens (unbaptized converts) and the confirmation or chrismation and first communion of both catechumens and candidates (converts who were previously baptized in a different Christian faith tradition) during the Easter Vigil.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


What Vigil family records will you find?

There are 35,000 census records available for the last name Vigil. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Vigil census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Vigil. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 9,000 military records available for the last name Vigil. For the veterans among your Vigil ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 35,000 census records available for the last name Vigil. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Vigil census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Vigil. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 9,000 military records available for the last name Vigil. For the veterans among your Vigil ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Scanner ' s crew was eligible for the following medals:

A radar picket is a radar-equipped station, ship, submarine, aircraft, or vehicle used to increase the radar detection range around a nation or force to protect it from surprise attack, typically air attack. By definition a radar picket must be some distance removed from the anticipated targets to be capable of providing early warning. Often several detached radar units encircle a target to provide increased cover in all directions another approach is to position units to form a barrier line.

USS Luna (AKS-7) was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was originally named for Harriet Hosmer, a neoclassical sculptor, considered the first female professional sculptor. She was converted shortly after completion to an Acubens-class general stores issue ship and renamed Luna, the latin name for the Moon. She was responsible for delivering and disbursing goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.

USS Guardian (AGR/YAGR-1) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. Her task was to act as part of the radar defenses of the United States in the Cold War, serving until 1965.

USS Somerset (AK-212) was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that was constructed for the US Navy during the closing period of World War II. She was later acquired by the US Army in 1946 and the US Air Force in 1957 before being reacquired by the USN as the USNS Coastal Sentry (T-AGM-15), a missile range instrumentation ship.

USS Lookout (YAGR/AGR-2) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Skywatcher (YAGR/AGR-3) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was converted into a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Searcher (YAGR/AGR-4) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Scanner (AGR/YAGR-5) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1955. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Locator (AGR/YAGR-6) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1955. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Interceptor (AGR-8/YAGR-8) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship acquired by the US Navy in 1955, from the "mothballed" reserve fleet. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Investigator (AGR/YAGR-9) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Outpost (AGR/YAGR-10) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1956. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Protector (AGR/YAGR-11) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Vigil (AGR/YAGR-12) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1956. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Interdictor (AGR/YAGR-13) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Interpreter (AGR-14) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Tracer (AGR-15) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS Watchman (AGR-16) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1958. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.


'They Were Always There': The Power Of Including Indigenous Perspectives 05:29

Kiara Vigil was in elementary school when her father gave her a book about the Sioux Nation. It had a burnt orange cover, and was long and rectangular.

"My dad gave it to me and was kind of like, 'Hey, you know, we're Dakota. You should learn about this,' without him giving me any more to go on," she recalled.

Vigil's family tree is diverse. In addition to ancestors from the Dakota Tribe, she also has relatives from the Apache Tribe, as well as Chicano and Irish heritage.

While she grew up in Boston knowing about her indigenous lineage, she didn't have a lot more detail. At the time, the only things she really knew about indigenous people came from what she learned in school, which only touched on the Thanksgiving story with the Wampanoag Tribe and the Trail of Tears, and nothing more.

Reading her new book, Vigil realized that she was hungry for more information.

"I remember sitting up in my bed at night and reading it," said Vigil. "It was very clear that there was a kind of missing piece in a bigger puzzle."

If she wanted to learn more about her family's past and their tribes' roles in United States history, Vigil understood she'd have to seek it out herself.

As the years went on, so did her supplementary reading. She spent many afternoons buried in archives. Some of the stories she came across were difficult to read.

"I'm not ashamed to say I have cried in the archives," she said. "Because these people, who were once living, experienced a lot of adversity and a lot of oppression."

Vigil eventually turned that interest into a profession. Now, she's an author and an American studies professor at Amherst College. Learning and teaching about the past helps her understand the present. Vigil feels empowered in knowing what forces and circumstances shaped a community into what it is today. And she enjoys seeing the impact of that knowledge develop in her students.

"I'm honored to be able to share these stories and add them back in to a history," she said. "They were always there, even if we didn't realize it."

Vigil is working with Amherst College to build a Native American and Indigenous studies program.

Recently, she developed a new course called "Native Futures," designed to go deeper in to the history of Native American tribes in the United States and then explore how those experiences could have ramifications for the future.

I have cried in the archives. Because these people, who were once living, experienced a lot of adversity and a lot of oppression.

Kiara Vigil

The course was open to any American studies major. Two thirds of the class ended up being Native American and came from diverse group of tribes: Hawaii, Chumash, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Isleta Pueblo. Like her, all of these students enjoyed taking a deeper dive into their tribes' histories, from the fun stories to the more emotional ones.

Take the California gold rush, for example.

"I think we all know about the gold rush, but we don't think about how for indigenous communities there were devastating effects," said Vigil. "Some of these mining communities were not only ravaging the land, but they literally were destroying people and families."

Vigil said these lessons took a toll on her Native students from California. But learning about that past was also empowering because many of them never had access to such detailed readings and information about their ancestors in school before.

Almost every single text they read had something that spoke to their own communities, said Vigil. There was also new information about other tribal communities that helped drive home for the students what experiences made them similar and different.

Even the non-native students in the class came away with a sense of connection to the texts. Vigil remembered one student from upstate New York was touched by the book "The River is in Us," which covered the history of toxic pollution in the St. Lawrence River. That was the first time this student got to learn about how the effects of that pollution went beyond her own community and did lasting damage to the nearby Mohawk community of Akwesasne.

"By emphasizing connection, it shows you why anyone should care about this history," Vigil said. "Because it's not just one kind of person's history or story or legacy to inherit, it's all of ours."

Vigil hopes all of her students can walk away from her classes with a wider understanding of their community and the land they call home. The sweet spot for any history professor, she said, is when students come upon this 'Aha!' moment.

"[They] just start to think, 'OK, maybe I didn't quite have a handle on everything about this place that I'm living in,'" she said. "You can't unsee it. This is the wonderful thing about learning."

This segment aired on July 27, 2020.

Senior Reporter, Edify
Carrie is a senior education reporter with Edify.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Stanley Crocchiola, Giant in Lilliput: The Story of Donaciano Vigil (1963).

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, The History of the Military Occupation of the Territory of New Mexico from 1846 to 1851 (1909), pp. 207-228.

Janet Lecompte, Rebellion in Rio Arriba, 1837 (1985), esp. pp. 13-16, 40-61.

Additional Bibliography

Salazar, J. Richard. The Military Career of Donaciano Vigil. Guadalupita, NM: Center for Land Grant Studies, 1994.

Vigil, Donaciano, and David J. Weber. Arms, Indians, and the Mismanagement of New Mexico. El Paso: Texas Western Press, University of Texas at El Paso, 1986.

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Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your De Vigil ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name De Vigil. Like a window into their day-to-day life, De Vigil census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name De Vigil. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name De Vigil. For the veterans among your De Vigil ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name De Vigil. Like a window into their day-to-day life, De Vigil census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name De Vigil. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name De Vigil. For the veterans among your De Vigil ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


History and Details of the US National Prayer Vigil for Life

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com interviewed Deirdre McQuade, Director of Planning and Information of the USCCB, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities and Jackie Hayes, Director of Communications for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. about the history and organization of the National Prayer Vigil for Life.

McQuade: The National Vigil for Life is a vital part of implementing the bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, which calls upon the faithful to fast and pray for the Culture of Life.

Here is the relevant section of the Pastoral Plan on the National Prayer Vigil:

"Each year, in conjunction with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22), a National Prayer Vigil for Life is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Thousands travel from all corners of the country to take part in the opening liturgy and all-night prayer vigil. Dioceses and parishes might conduct similar prayer vigils so that those unable to travel might participate in this prayer occasion. This date is also designated as a particular day of penance in the Roman Missal.

Prayer is the foundation of all that we do in defense of human life. Our efforts—whether educational, pastoral, or legislative—will be less than fully fruitful if we do not change hearts and if we do not ourselves overcome our own spiritual blindness. Only with prayer—prayer that storms the heavens for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and our souls—will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life." (Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life, p. 30)

LifeSiteNews: When did the first Vigil for Life take place at the basilica?

Hayes: 1979 according to the Shrine’s Archivist, Dr. Geraldine M. Rohling. The first Vigil was held January 21-22, 1979 in the Crypt Church with approximately 50 persons who assembled for Eucharist Adoration, Stations of the Cross, and other devotions. Mass was held in the evening and then again in the morning. Participants later walked in the March for Life.

LifeSiteNews: How did the size of this year’s crowd compare to previous years?

Hayes: Crowd estimated at 10,000.

McQuade: Each year the crowd increases. Though no official count is taken, for the past several years, the amount of communion stations and hosts increases, and this year again, the Shrine staff notified us of even more people down in the Crypt church and lobby area than last.

LifeSiteNews: How many people were in the crypt area during the vigil mass?

McQuade: Estimate of 1,200 in Crypt Church, Memorial Hall and Lower Level Chapels (all on lower level of Shrine)

LifeSiteNews: Considering that the basilica was nearly jammed to the limit are there considerations for alternative or additional arrangements in coming years to accommodate even more people?

McQuade: No, not at this time. This has been considered in the past, though, and the organizers are well aware of the challenges and difficulties of accommodating such a large crowd.

LifeSiteNews: How many televisions were set up throughout the facility to help those without a view to see and hear the vigil mass events?

14 in total. (2 Large Projection Monitors in the Crypt Church. 2 Large Projections Monitors in the Upper Church. 10 27” Monitors in chapels of the Upper Church.)

LifeSiteNews: How many members were in the choir and is there anything of special interest you can tell me about the choir?

Hayes: The Choir of the Basilica is the resident choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC) and is regarded as one of the foremost liturgical singing ensembles in the world. The choir is comprised of approximately twenty professional singers from the greater Washington metro area and is responsible for performing at Solemn Eucharist on Sundays and Solemnities that mark the church calendar. The choir is engaged in close to one hundred performances (liturgical and otherwise) each year, and prepares approximately three hundred works each season. On solemn occasions, the choir performs with Washington-area musicians including the Washington Symphonic Brass, Orchestra of the 17th Century and members of the National Symphony Orchestra. Solemn liturgies are broadcast live on the Eternal Word Television Network throughout the world.

The choir performs under the direction of Dr. Peter Latona, Basilica director of music since 2001. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., is the pre-eminent Marian shrine of the Catholic Church in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.nationalshrine.com.

LifeSiteNews: Is there anything special you can tell me about the organist and the organ?

Hayes: The organists for the Mass were Richard Fitzgerald, Basilica Assistant Director of Music and Robert Grogan, Basilica organist and carillonneur. The two pipe organs which grace the Great Upper Church at the Basilica have a combined total of nearly 10,000 pipes, the largest is 38 feet in length and weighs nearly 800 pounds.

LifeSiteNews: Who is the main organizing group responsible for the Vigil? What are the respective roles of the USCCB, the Basilica staff and the Archdiocese in the organization of the event?

McQuade: The three co-sponsors, The Basilica, USCCB pro-life office, and CUA campus ministry jointly organize the event. USCCB plays an organizational and oversight role, with some responsibility regarding the liturgies and arranging confessions for the pilgrims, as well as closed captioning. The incredible number of details involved in the liturgy are handled by Shrine staff, as well as extra security needs, audiovisual needs, visitor services, bus parking, hosting student groups to stay over night.

There is a live EWTN feed for both evening and morning masses. The holy hours from midnight to 6:00 a.m. are coordinated by pro-life seminarians throughout the country. The Prayer Vigil would not succeed if the over 100 volunteer students from CUA campus ministry were not present for the almost 30 hour duration of the entire event. They act as ushers, security, food and coffee servers all throughout the night. They also work as chaperones at the DuFour Center, where mainly high school groups are hosted for the night before the March for Life.

Also, there is a strong Vigil tradition that the principal celebrant and homilist is always the chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, currently Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

The success of this event depends on God’s grace at work, as well as the participation of the co-sponsors and volunteers. Other groups provide additional support, such as the Dominican priests from Dominican House of Studies who lead morning prayer as well as provide most of the confessions for the pilgrims.

The Washington Archdiocese is not a co-sponsor of the event.

LifeSiteNews: How many staff and volunteers were required for the event?

McQuade: A core team of organizational staff numbers seven. This includes combined staff from CUA, USCCB, and Shrine. About ten support staff from all 3 co-sponsors work part time in the months preceding the event. On the actual night and morning of the event, staff consists of approximately 60 people in various roles (including cleaning crew, cafeteria staff, security etc.) as well as about 150 volunteers, mostly from CUA campus ministry.

The Knights of Columbus play a key role in the event, both in their attendance, service as ushers, and in their incredible support of many of the pro-life efforts of the church, including providing the Knights’ Tower at the Shrine, and the work of our USCCB pro-life office.

LifeSiteNews: Who does the responsibility and running of the basilica ultimately belong to?

McQuade: Ultimately, the Administrative Board of the USCCB. The membership of the Corporation known as the BNSIC is comprised of members of the Administrative Board of the USCCB. All Cardinals of the United States are to be ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees unless they indicate otherwise.

The archbishop of Washington, currently Archbishop Wuerl, is always head of the board of the Shrine.

LifeSiteNews: Has a U.S. president or vice-president ever attended the event and if not, why not?

McQuade: According to our recent memory, no, because it is a Catholic prayer event, not a political one.

President Bush sent a note of greeting to the participants in the prayer vigil through the presence of Tim Goeglein in 2002 and 2002.


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