Detroit Stories Episode 33: 'Air Support for Priests' (PODCAST)

How one woman's inspiration to pray for her priest launched an archdiocese-wide movement of spiritual support

(0:01) Fr. John Kopson, pastor of St. Anne Parish in Warren, describes a homily he once heard describing the priesthood as analogous to the military. If priests are the soldiers of the Church, the “boots on the ground,” they can only be effective if they have “air support” — i.e., the prayers of the faithful uplifting and supporting them.

(2:36) Mindy DeWitt, a member of Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, recalls a realization she had one day about how hard priests work and how much they sacrifice for their flocks. The thought stuck with DeWitt, who made it her personal mission to pray for priests and make little sacrifices for them, too.

(5:10) After reading a Vatican document about the importance of Eucharistic adoration and holy hours to pray for the sanctification of priests, DeWitt contacted Fr. Kopson with an idea for a new apostolate, “Parishioners for Priests,” that would be devoted to spiritually adopting priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

(6:41) Through the apostolate, DeWitt and her husband printed prayer cards, launched social media pages and developed a “Priest of the Day” initiative to pray, by name, for one priest of the archdiocese each day.

(7:25) DeWitt describes the “Adopt a Priest” initiative, which invites parishioners to anonymously pray for a specific priest, chosen at random. The priest is given a card telling him he’s been spiritually adopted, and receives the consolation of knowing someone — even if he doesn’t know who — is praying for him every day.

(8:22) Fr. Kopson describes what it’s like as a priest to be spiritually “adopted,” including the great sense of peace knowing his ministry — as hard as it is sometimes — isn’t being undertaken alone.

(10:05) DeWitt describes the overwhelming response to the program from both parishioners and priests since it was launched in 2017.

(12:31) The narrator talks about how the program is especially relevant in 2022, when the Archdiocese of Detroit is undertaking a Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations. Fr. Kopson says the devil wants to discourage men from considering the priesthood, but that a year of prayer is exactly what’s needed.

(16:38) Fr. Kopson issues a “call to arms” to parishioners of the archdiocese to spiritually support their priests through prayer, sacrifice and love.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; script and narration by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

This episode of Detroit Stories is brought to you by our friends at Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Pre-planning your Catholic funeral is a gift of love for those you cherish. To learn more about pre-planning to prepare those you care about for this journey, visit

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