Two years ago when the new young pastor of St. Anthony di Padua Church in Fitchburg Massachusetts was forced out of the parish by a letter writing campaign by some individuals in the parish  that somehow convinced the Bishop to move the young priest despite the lack of any wrongdoing I wrote a list of who the biggest losers were.  this was number 7:

St. Anthony’s School: Our Elementary School will be trading a young dynamic priest, who was the chaplain of the Fitchburg Fire Department.  A priest from the video game, email and cell phone era for a priest in his 60’s. Boy that’s going to be a draw for young families choosing between the catholic schools in the area. And hey, if parents if you have a choice between enrolling your kid in a Catholic school where the parish is divided or a school where it is not, where are you going to go?

Well less than a month after the parish insisted that they were not closing the school, merely trimming some of the grades, the inevitable is taking place:

Saint Anthony School will close after the end of this school year, Rev. Leo-Paul LeBlanc said Tuesday.

Citing decreased enrollment, LeBlanc said the elementary and middle school will not reopen next fall after 66 years educating members of the city’s Catholic community.

“The numbers of enrolled students simply cannot support the financial responsibilities that would be necessary to operate and provide a quality education we have prided ourselves on for our students,” LeBlanc wrote in a letter sent to parents on Tuesday.

Amazingly the article at the Sentinal and Enterprise has absolutly no mention of the turmoil that turned a school that five years ago had waiting lists and was raising funds for an expansion into one where parents don’t want to send their kids and to put it off to fewer nuns and rising costs is disengunious at best.  The parish has shot itself in the foot and in so doing has thrown away the hard work of our father and grandfathers who had a lot less that us but managed to build a parish and a school for their kids.

I urge most strongly that the parish adpot a Spiritual Plan of Action at once either the one I suggested or another ASAP before the next shoe falls.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –  If Hurricane Katrina united New Orleans in the common cause of “love thy neighbor,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu has successfully decimated all remnants of civility and has created a cultural divide that has ripped the city apart and has cast New Orleans in a negative light in the eyes of the national lens.

As Landrieu continues to staunchly defend his decision to remove the city’s Confederate monuments, supporters (both black and white) have taken positions days and night at the monuments to protect them. Two weeks ago Landrieu removed one of the four, the Liberty Place monument, in the dead of night using a team of city firefighters wearing masks and protective armor.

Even as monument supporters had a large measure of victory this week with the passage of HB71 from committee, tension about the monuments rose. This bill would presumably protect the monuments:

House Bill 71 would forbid the removal, renaming or alteration of any military monument of any war, including the “War Between the States,” that is situated on public property. The measure was amended to require the support of a majority of voters in a public election before any monuments could be removed.

Mayor Landrieu is not working fast enough for Take ‘Em Down NOLA and the Antifa crowd, and they announced a rally in New Orleans to take place Sunday, May 7:

TAKE EM DOWN NOLA CALLS FOR PEOPLES CELEBRATION & SECOND LINE TO BURY WHITE SUPREMACY

While white supremacists gather from many states around confederate monuments in OUR CITY, the mayor nor council has still not publicly called for its own ceremony to honor the historic occasion of 4 monuments to slavery coming down. Even the conservative governor of S.C. had a public ceremony to remove the confederate flag.

Cowering in darkness offers no safety or protection, it is shameful and being questioned by world wide media.

What does this say to Black youth? What does this teach white youth?

All eyes are on New Orleans. It is fitting that during Jazz Fest the people have our voices heard. Not just on the monuments, but for racial equality and economic justice for those who built New Orleans, whose heritage is leveraged for profit and who are being displaced.

In the name of the good people of New Orleans, in honor of our civil rights veterans who fought for decades for their removal, in appreciation of the Black community, elders and youth Take Em Down NOLA is issuing this call for everyone to come out!

Meet at Congo Square at 1:30pm.

March to Lee Circle.

Make History! Take down Robert E. Lee and ALL symbols of White Supremacy!

By noon Sunday protesters were gathering on both sides. Monument supporters were getting information and security, how to handle pepper spray attacks, and cautionary information about Antifa. New Orleans police began installing barricades around Lee Circle; the Jefferson Davis monument has been blocked off all week after violent clashes last weekend between both sides.

Large black busses with blacked out windows were moving into the city in the morning filled with Antifa protestors.

But, through the day, for the most part things remained non-violent. Tense, but non-violent. There were a couple of fights and skirmishes that were quickly put down, but by early evening crowds had dispersed and traffic lanes were reopened.

The focus then moved to the Jefferson Davis monument where reports were that a large Antifa group was congregating to harass supporters there. But other than the exchange of hot words, everything was calm.

Overall, thankfully the protests did not end in the free-for-all that was anticipated but what did come out of it all was a clarification that contrary to Governor John Bel Edwards’s stance that the monuments “are a local issue,” clearly it has surpassed that. Mitch Landrieu made it NOT a local issue when he called in State and Federal Law Enforcement from all over the state to New Orleans using Department of Homeland Security emergency measures. This makes is a national issue, being paid for with state and federal tax dollars.

And this means John Bel Edwards now has to get off the fence.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

During the 2nd day of Fr Stephen Imbarrato’s visit to Massachusetts after celebrating a mass and attending a breakfast in Medford he traveled to Fitchburg. We covered his Eucharistic Procession here but there were several other items of interest both before and after that event.

He said Saturday morning mass at St Camillus church at St. Bernard’s Parish in Fitchburg and sat for an interview after mass on the events.

Linda Santo who spoke the previous night in Medford attended this mass and also consented to an interview.

From there we went to Slattery’s in Fitchburg (home of that most perfect of deserts Kentucky Derby Pie) for a luncheon to a packed house, Fr briefly spoke there as well.

Next there came the procession viewed now online by over 200K people (for context the population of Fitchburg is 40k) after the procession we traveled to the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary parish where Fr. heard confessions, celebrated the divine mercy vigil mass followed by a dinner served by the Knights of Columbus of the St. Anthony of Padua counsel and a talk.

But the there was a pleasant surprise at both this dinner and the previous one. There was a band playing at both this event and the previous one in Medford. It turns out they were a group called Musicians for life and they not only performed old guitar staples of the faith like Mighty to Save during dinner

but after an introduction by Fr. Imbarrato also performed six original songs explicit pro-life songs written specifically for these event such as Let em Live: (which was streamed life to his facebook page)

Where have all the Children Gone

I’m Here with Jesus

Listen to my Heart Beating

It’s a life (which I think is a really catchy tune)

and the Choice is Yours

At the end of the night they sat for an interview

It would be their final performance during Fr. Imbarrato’s trip as they had a commitment the next day but if I may be so bold and suggest that they and their music would be a welcome addition to any Catholic or pro-life event.

A photo gallery follows:

MORE TO COME…

Previously:

Voices of Life in Medford: Fr. Imbarrato, Pro Life Legal Defense League, Linda Santo and more

Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood Fitchburg led by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life

Protest Prayers and Procession at Planned Parenthood Boston Led by Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life


All of this is paid for by you. If you think taking two days off without pay and covering Fr Imbarrato in Medford, Fitchburg and Boston (twice) is worthwhile and would like to help me make up the costs, pay our writers and make our annual goal consider subscribing and become (if you wish) a listed as a Friend of DaTechguy blog

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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

Fr Imbarrato and the Lord

On Saturday afternoon drivers on Main Street in Fitchburg Massachusetts saw a sight they had likely not seen before.

Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life and sometimes EWTN personality was in Fitchburg from New Mexico for the 2nd of three days in Massachusetts invited by WQPH 89.3 FM. Both Friday and Sunday would involve events and dinners in the Boston area but after a breakfast in Medford the rest of Saturday belonged to Fitchburg and it was an active one

He would celebrate daily mass at St. Bernards Parish at St. Camillus Church at noon, he would be the guest of honor at a lunch at Slattery’s. He would celebrate the Divine Mercy Vigil mass at the now closed Madonna of the Holy Rosary and would hear so many confessions that evening that it would delay the Dinner at that’s church’s hall and his speech there.

But the Highlight of the day and indeed his trip was to come at 2:30 when he would lead that most Catholic and most rare of events at least around here, a Eucharistic Procession where the Holy Eucharistic the actual Body blood soul and divinity of Christ would be actually be carried in full display along the street.

It was three years ago that I had covered a Eucharistic Procession from MIT to Harvard in response to the Satanic Black Mass. Saturday’s event would not be as dramatic but the target was just as evil, the Planned Parenthood location in Fitchburg which services the Worcester location to facilitate the murder and dismemberment of pre-born babies for financial gain.

at 2:30 a small crowd gathered at the old City hall including a contingent from the Knights of Columbus council #15962 St. Anthony of Padua Chapter Fr Imbarrato in full regalia held the Monstrance containing the host and began the prayers of adoration. And led by a banner calling for Rosaries to be prayed for America and an image of Divine Mercy with two angels cradling victims of abortion Fr. and the Crowd began to process from City Hall to Planned Parenthood.

In addition to this video a second person was streaming the procession live to Fr. Imbarrato’s facebook page where 2000 people watched and prayed live with us as we marched down the street praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

There were many curious reactions as the procession continued. A young girl at Espresso’s Pizza took pictures or videos with her camera as we passed. Drivers down main street slowed as they watched us, some visibly surprised at the sight of the blessed sacrament and the event drew curious looks from an art gallery where a small event was taking place at the same time.

It took about 11 minutes for the crowd of 70-80 accompanied unseen by the two thousand plus on the life stream to get to the planned parenthood location across from the parking lot where I had parked.

Unlike previous events there was no sign of counter protestors nor was there any sign of the press which was odd as fliers for the event had been distributed in the area for months. There was also a distinct lack of various people either passing by or driving by throwing the odd insult at the praying and protesting crowd. Whether it was due to the presence of the blessed sacrament or not I leave it for you to say, but there were at least two people who joined the crowd in prayer as they finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet and went to the Rosary.

Through it all Fr. Imbarrato stood there holding the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament before the Planned Parenthood site not reacting to the cars passing by, some beeping horns in support, some just staring, nor at the passers by from the young black man who took some video on his phone, to the fellow staring as he walked back to his apartment carrying this takeout from Fitchburg Jade to the Spanish Woman who looked at the sacrament and the praying and nodded in acknowledgement and approval.

Oddly there was no activity at the location itself. On previous Saturdays during protests there would be people at the location but it seemed empty and barren. Perhaps they had left early, perhaps it was a slow day but either way there was nobody entering or leaving under the visage of Christ.

At it neared 4 pm Fr. prayed the final prayers of Adoration and the host was covered and people began dispersing. Some to their homes, others to Madonna of the Holy Rosary for the next set of events which will be covered in later posts but I’ll leave you with this note.

Just under five hours later at Holy Rosary Church near the end of his talk. He informed the crowd that the number of people who had so far watched the video of the procession still available on his facebook page was in the tens of thousands. UPDATE over 200,000 It’s worth noting that the entire population of Fitchburg is only about 40,000 souls and it remains to be seen how long it will take the number of viewers online to eclipse that figure.

But even if not a single other person watches it, this was one of the most significant Catholic events ever held in Fitchburg.  Eucharistic processions are not common these days and one led by a national leader of the prolife moment in Fitchburg is rarer still.

It’s fitting that as people gather from all over the nation in Massachusetts at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in the southwest part of the state it serves as a reminder of just how much we need mercy for.

A photo gallery follows


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

For the next three days I’m going to be flat out.  Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for life who you’ve seen hosting EWTN’s series Defending life, will be doing several events in several cities for WQPH 89.3 and I’ll be covering him and those who attend the various, events, masses and dinners over Divine Mercy Sunday.  You can get tickets for the various dinners and lunches here and the events are open to the public so I hope to see you in Boston, Malden, Medford and Fitchburg particularly at the Eucharistic Procession on Saturday in Fitchburg.

If you are only interested in mass there will be four two of which he will be the celebrant.

Sat 8 AM  St. Joseph’s Church Medford  Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

Sat Noon St. Bernards Church at St. Camillus Parish Fitchburg

Sat 5 PM Madonna of the Holy Rosary 118 Theresa st. Fitchburg 

Sunday 4:30 PM  Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine Boston Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

(the Final Mass will be preceded at 2:30 by confession and a Holy Hour)

Full details are here.


Speaking of life the most pro-life president of my lifetime has once again taken concrete action defending it.

America’s largest provider of terminations, Planned Parenthood, described the new measure, which has delighted pro-life conservatives, as “designed to undermine women’s health”.

The new law nullifies a rule finalised in the last days of the Barack Obama administration that effectively barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services, regardless of whether groups offering these services also performed abortions.

The new measure cleared Congress last month with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

The Yahoo article describing this drips with contempt but this was also a win for States as Hotair noted:

When the vote was cast, Senator Joni Ernst praised the bill. “It should be the right of our states to allocate sub-grants under the Title X program in the way that best fits the needs of the people living there,” Ernst said according to a report in the NY Times. She added, “Unfortunately, like many other rules issued during the Obama administration, this rule attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our states.”

I think it’s really something that the items this president has managed to advance have been pro-life.  I’m ecstatic.


Also at Hotair it seems like the most prolife president in my lifetime will be meeting with Pope Francis after all:

Just to John Gizzi’s point, I just want to make sure I note that we will be reaching out to the Vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with the Pope can be accommodated.  We’ll have further details on that.  Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness.

Gronk scores? (Well, we’re used to that.) What’s odd about this is that several questions had come between Gizzi’s exchange and this later answer. The question on the table when Gronkowski interrupted was about NAFTA. No one had followed up on Gizzi’s question, but Spicer returned to it anyway. Hmmm.

At least as late as last night, the Vatican still hadn’t heard from the White House, either. America Magazine’s Gerard O’Connell reports that the Holy See’s diplomatic office is happy to arrange the meeting if they get the request:

While Francis has been a mixed bag great on confession and the danger of the devil and weak on Dogma (we still haven’t seen an answer to the four Cardinals dubia on the Amoris Laetitia footnote concerning marriage and communion)  on the issue of abortion he has been very clear in both speeches and encyclicals condemning it, although if you listen to democrats and the media it’s as if he never has.

Meanwhile Trump has so far been falling on the Paul of Tarsus vs the Simon the Magician side of the conversion scale.

They should have a lot to talk about.


Speaking of life guess what’s alive again? An Obamacare repeal compromise:

You can understand why the compromise might appeal to both the conservative and moderate wings inside the GOP. For the Freedom Caucus, it means red states will be able to shed onerous federal regs and offer a greater variety of health-care plans, replete with lower premiums for consumers. For the Tuesday Group, the fact that waivers are available but not mandatory means that blue states will be able to keep the more robust ObamaCare rules intact if they like. In that sense, the plan bears a slight resemblance to Bill Cassidy’s and Susan Collins’s proposal, which would have repealed ObamaCare and then let each state choose whether to “reimplement” it or to build their own tailor-made system. The new GOP deal doesn’t go that far but it’s a step in that direction vis-a-vis EHBs and community rating. If you believe a Freedom Caucus source who spoke to CNBC, there are 25 to 30 FC members ready to flip to yes to vote for this deal — a bit surprising given libertarian suspicions that waivers will be harder for states to obtain than everyone thinks.

And of course if it defends Planned Parenthood as well that’s going to be a biggie too.

There is a lot of talk about the first 100 days but I think that’s arbitrary, I’d just worry about getting it done period because it it gets done then we can always do more later.


You know what might also be alive again?  Ann Coulter’s speech not just At Berkeley but invited BY Berkeley which claims they have…

identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2. While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department. Earlier today, we informed both the Berkeley College Republicans and the Coulter organization of this development, and we look forward to working with them. We will disclose the exact location of the venue once we have finalized details with both organizations.

Hotair explains the volte face:

She was going to show up anyway and create a security clusterfark for them when the usual suspects inevitably started smashing windows. That was the nuclear option. Berkeley doesn’t care about bad press from the right; the fascist left wears that as a badge of honor. They don’t care about First Amendment lawsuits either. But if the town is going to burn on the 27th and they’re going to get sued by the victims for not having done more to provide security, then sure, they’ll spring into action and find a “protectable venue.” If this standoff is destined to happen, better from the school’s perspective that it happen in an environment they can sort of control than one they can’t. Coulter forced them to choose. Any other conservative speaker with the guts and the dough to provide their own security, just in case, can probably get other public universities to back down with the same threat.

Coulter has told them they can go pound sand she’s coming the 27th anyway:

Hours later, Coulter shot down the invitation in a series of tweets and said she will speak at Berkeley on Thursday as planned not only because she “can’t do May 2,” but “THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!”

That week is “Dead Week,” a time when classes are suspended so students can study for exams.

“It’s at an awful time,” said Naweed Tahmas, 20, of the Berkeley College Republicans student group that invited Coulter. Also, the last day of instruction is three days later.

“Do not fall for b.s. Berkeley press release claiming they ‘rescinded’ cancelation,” Coulter tweeted. “GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won’t be required to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I’m speaking on 4/27.”

Your move Berkeley.


There was an interesting piece on Jake Tapper in the Washington Free Beacon worth quoting:

In a candid interview with GQ published Tuesday, Tapper acknowledged that after his tough interviews of administration figures like Kellyanne Conway, he picked up a following from many critics of President Donald Trump.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but I also know that a lot of the people who are happy with me now are not going to be happy with me in four to eight years,” he predicted.

Tapper said that he was just as tough on Obama, and earned his share of grief for it at the time.

“A lot of people sending me nice tweets today were cursing me when I was asking questions about Benghazi in 2012,” he said.

“President Obama was not friendly to the press, but the press was very friendly to President Obama,” Tapper told GQ. “I mean, President Obama did not like me, and I understand why. I was a pain in his ass and I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, and, you know, a lot of other people did.”

This is what I’ve been saying for years, that once a Republican was elected, conservatives would think Tapper had turned on them, but he’s never been with us, he’s just been a reporter who actually reports.  Yeah he’s gotten a thing wrong or two on Trump (who he clearly doesn’t like) but I’m not going to throw Jake out of the bus for being what he’s always been, a journalist who asks a lot of tough questions that make people in power uncomfortable, whoever they are.


Some culture?  Olivia De Havilland (who I think my wife resembles) is the last great star of Hollywood’s golden age still alive, from Captain Blood (1933) to Gone with the Wind (1939) she’s done it all and this week demonstrated the class of that bygone generation in reply to questions concerning a new mini series Feud about Hollywood circa 1963.

De Havilland is played on the series by fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as a regal friend and supporter of Davis, but she was not consulted by the show’s creators — Murphy recently told THR that he “didn’t want to intrude on Ms. de Havilland” — so THR emailed her (yes, she uses email) to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.

“I have received your email with its two questions,” De Havilland replied. “I would like to reply first to the second of these, which inquires of me the accuracy of a current television series entitled Feud, which concerns Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their supposed animosity toward each other. Having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it. However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.”

Added De Havilland, “As to the 1963 Oscar ceremony, which took place over half a century ago, I regret to say that I have no memory of it whatsoever and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.”

I’m with Vulture.com here

Now, time to find a throw pillow large enough to embroider with every word of this email.


Susan Sarandon is one of the Stars of that series playing Joan Crawford.  She is an ultra leftist but as this story shows, she is an honest one:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re outspoken about Trump, because Hollywood hates Trump,” she says. “But it was brave of Richard to say what he said. He was drawing attention to the things that everyone has agreed not to pay attention to. That’s the sin.”

She’s talking about Richard Gere who has been blacklisted in Hollywood for the crime of Supporting Tibet and criticizing China and even indy films are iffy now:

Gere is now appearing in “Norman,” the story of a Jewish “fixer” who gets involved with an Israeli politician. He’ll soon star in “The Dinner,” a modest story about two couples arguing over their adult children’s troubles.

Pure indie filmmaking. Yet even some indie films are off limits to him now.

“There was something I was going to do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, ‘Sorry, I can’t do it,’” confides Gere. “We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work.”

It’s a reminder that China is the same dictatorship it always was, but just imagine if they told Hollywood to lay off of Trump or no $.  It would be fun to see which Hollywood types would bite their tongues off.  Sarandon wouldn’t, that’s why I respect her.


An earlier item mentioned Gronk that is Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski who was part of the Pat’s continent that visited the White House and caused the Patriots to call out the New York Times for Fake News:

and they posted a tweet comparing two compatible super bowl win visits

If you want to know why so many non-New England fans hate the patriots it’s because most can only dream about tweets that say “The last time the [insert their home team here] won two Super Bowls in three years”

and while the NYT has offered a mea culpa (via hotair)

You’ll notice that the 800+ retweets that got is a lot less that the Times original 50,000+


Finally while the Boston Bruins (down 3-1) and the top seeded Boston Celtics (down 2-0) are nearing first round playoff elimination and the Boston Red Sox season just starting (10-6) 3rd place in the East have are all newsworthy I think the big story is the real likelihood that Superbowl Hero Malcolm Butler might be done in New England:

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free-agent tender, which opens the possibility that the team could trade him.

Because a player can’t be traded unless he is under contract, Butler’s status was in limbo until he signed the $3.91 million tender.

Here’s why it makes it likely that he’s done here

The thinking would be similar to what the club did in 2016 when it shipped defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a late second-round pick. The Patriots knew they were unlikely to sign Jones to a big-money extension after the season when he became an unrestricted free agent, so they decided that getting something valuable for him one year earlier was a worthwhile investment. They ultimately turned the pick they received for Jones into two players — starting guard Joe Thuney and promising receiver Malcolm Mitchell — en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Butler might even bring the Patriots a greater return in a year in which the club’s earliest selection in the draft is currently early in the third round, No. 72 overall. If the Saints were willing to return the first-round pick they received from the Patriots (No. 32 overall) in the Brandin Cooks trade, that might be enticing for Bill Belichick. Or a combination of high second- and third-round picks might even be viewed as more valuable to Belichick for a player who is unlikely to return to the team in 2018 after New England invested five years and $65 million in free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Of course they might just decide they want to extraordinary CB’s this year to make the defense even more airtight.

He’s one of the few people to whom a Superbowl victory can be directly traced and is rightly considered by the NFL as the top Interception of all time:

I’d be sorry to see him go but if he ends up with a big contract elsewhere I’m happy to see him cash in, he earned it.


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

At the last minute my scheduled extra shift was cancelled and I found myself able to briefly attended the anti-abortion protest in Fitchburg which while part of a series of national protests for defending planned parenthood was delayed a week by winter storms.

In the seven years that Planned Parenthood has been in Fitchburg there have been many demonstrations there and lots of prayer but over the last year our friends on the left started counting protesting so there were two distinct groups, one near the entrance of the parking garage that was prolife and wanting to defund planned parenthood

And one directly opposite the “clinic” that was in favor of abortion and planned parenthood

When we first started protesting planned parenthood before the building even opened we had no opposition (unless you count the painter working on the building before they opened who told me that said if it gets rid of some of the Spanish in town he’s all for it) the other side never bothered to counter protest. It speaks well of the effectiveness of the pro-life prayers that our foes now, in the last year have found it necessary to counter us (if we had no effect then they’d ignore us) and it speaks even better of us that in a college town in this bluest of states we outnumbered them on a Saturday, but the most interesting part of my brief visit was completely unexpected.

At one point as the rosary began a young lady from the other side walked over and started engaging one of our group, the organizer, not wanting the prayers to be interrupted, asked her to postpone her engagement until the prayer was done at which time they’d be happy to talk to her but I was intrigued, so I walked over to her and we spoke literally between the two groups.

Other than age we had a lot in common, we attended the same university (although it was a college when I was there before she was born) we were both engineers (although she has a double major) but most important of all she was willing to talk to people she disagreed with which suggests both curiosity and a liking for people, this and her civility given what we’ve seen in the land is rare and should always be encouraged.

At this point I offered to interview her and she consented (which given my association with the other side shows a level of trust I’ve rarely experienced when engaging opponents)

I thought she did quite well, particularly on the question of funding and after the interview we talked briefly. She said that I had given her things to think about.

Meanwhile I moved back to my side of the aisle and there I found Olivia who also consented to an interview. She was a few years younger than Natasha and talked about the pressure that she gets from her peers for her open pro-life stance.

It seemed to me in many ways Natasha and Olivia were very alike and as I pondered it something clicked in my head. I asked Joyce (the protest leader for our Pro-life group) If I could speak to the group before leaving and she agreed.

I asked them to pray for the folks on the other side noting that some of the greatest pro-life warriors of our age started out on the other side and for all we know one of those young people (and most of them were college age with a few older feminists sprinkled in) might be leading our protests some day. On my way out I quietly asked a pair of people, strong in faith & prayer to pray for Natasha and found myself not only doing the same but adding her to my lengthy prayer list remembering that God changes hearts.

That very day the news of McCorvey, a.k.a. ‘Jane Roe,’ death broke:

She had a troubled, difficult life, but eventually renounced her pro-abortion views and converted to Catholicism

Her conversion story is here an excerpt in her own words

The sad story of my days as a pro-choice activist, days that I am happy are long gone, is recounted in the book I am Roe. The marvelous story of my journey to a new life in Christ and the pro-life movement is recounted in the book Won by Love. Now it is time to add a new chapter to the story of my life, because God had more in store for me even after He made me 100% pro-life and washed me in the waters of baptism.

He wanted me to “come home,” a message that scared me at first, because I did not know what it meant.

Eventually she would figure it out and become Catholic

The day finally arrived when I would be received into the Catholic Church. I did not have to be baptized again, because the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of baptism by flowing water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So the ceremony, scheduled for August 17, 1998 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Dallas, was a Mass during which I would profess my adherence to all that the Catholic Church officially teaches, and would receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and of First Holy Communion.

I did not want this day to be a media event. No part of my journey of conversion was for the media; it was for God. I did not want distractions, or a distortion of the day’s true meaning…The first time Fr. Frank Pavone interviewed me for his radio program, he started by saying, “So you are the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade.” “No Father,” I responded, “I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, but now I am a new creation in Christ. I am Roe no more!”

The primary goal of us in the pro-life movement is to save lives, both the lives of the child (and all those generations that would follow) and the life of the mother, father and all of those who will suffer, sometimes in silence, and sometimes in public over abortion.

But the 2nd goal is to change hearts and minds, because it will be those changed hearts and changed minds that will make the first goal possible and will even more importantly lead to changed souls.

And it’s a changed soul that is the different between eternal life and eternal death which in the end is the bottom line we will all face.

Right now I have a lot on my plate and I suspect so do you but I’d ask that you add a daily prayer for both Natasha and Oliva, may they both, like the brother in scripture, find themselves in the end together in their father’s house, one there from the start, and the other after a wrong turn and a long detour, but both in the end together in celebration.

That’s a result worth praying for.


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I haven’t talked much about local or congressional races nor have I gone one of my traditional 3 state district hoping trips because my full time job precludes it, but there is a congressional race in my district that I care about, so I’d like to share with you a letter I sent to the editor of my local paper in support of Ann Wofford who is once again challenging Nikki Tsongas in my district.

There is one aspect of the race for the MA 3 district between incumbent Democrat Nikki Tsongas and Challenger Ann wofford that deserves more consideration by voters in the district in general and Fitchburg in particular.

Under our Constitution all spending bills must come from the House of Representatives, furthermore unlike the US Senate where the objection of a single member can slow down legislation, a member of the House has no such privilege meaning that to have influence on laws, you have to be in the majority.

In 2010 the GOP took the house in the “Big Red Wave”. They retained it during the 2012 election year and are expected to do so again in this election by a comfortable margin. Given GOP strength in midterm elections that means that Republicans will hold the house, and the power of the purse for the rest of this decade.

Wouldn’t it be good for the District in General and Fitchburg in particular, if for those last four years of this decade at least, it had a voice at the majority table when those spending decisions were being made?

As a conservative on issues like Obamacare Ann Wofford is a natural fit for my views.

But I submit and suggest that if you are a moderate or even a liberal who wants to be sure we get a fair shake when block grant and federal funds are allocated to the district in general and to Fitchburg in particular, you’ve got to have a vote that actually counts.

If we elect Ann Wofford to the House of Representatives we will. If we re-elect Nikki Tsongas we will not.

It’s that simple.

In fact there is one further point that for the sake of brevet I didn’t include in my letter to the editor.

If we elect Ann Wofford to congress she will be the only GOP member of the entire Massachusetts delegation. That means the amount of influence she will have will be amplified considerably, consider:

  • As the first GOP member of the House from Massachusetts in many years the GOP leadership would have a particular incentive to give ear to her positions to encourage her re-election.
  • As the only GOP member of congress from the state she would be the goto person for GOP governor Charlie Baker to advance legislative priorities for Massachusetts.
  • As the only member of the Massachusetts member of the majority pols from around the state including congressional democrats, would be coming to her for favors in the hopes of getting at least some hearing with the majority, that can’t help but put MA 3 in general and Fitchburg in particular in a better position vis a vis state spending and project.
  • Finally if we elect her THIS year, when the GOP majority increases during the midterms as it always does, Ann would have seniority over any newly elected members of the GOP majority that year increasing further the district and the city’s influence.

All of these political advantages are ours for the taking if we’re smart enough to elect Ann to congress this time around.

The golden days when Massachusetts congressmen like John McCormick and Tip O’Neill were House Speakers and we had real power in Washington are gone, but I submit and suggest that if you are a city counselor in Fitchburg, Lowell, Lawrence or Haverhill, who is looking to get funding for their needs,  particularly one old enough to remember those good old days, you should think long and hard before you send your people out to vote for Tsongas over Wofford and deny your city the power and influence that comes from the congressional majority.


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As a general rule there are not a lot of reasons for conservatives in Massachusetts to smile come election time but WCVB polls on Question 2, the expansion of charter schools in the state is an exception:

On charter schools, 49 percent of likely voters support the question and 39 percent oppose, with 12 percent unsure. With leaners, the support goes up to 52 percent and opposition to 41 percent.

These polling stats come despite the opposition of such liberal icons as Senator Elizabeth Warren coming out against Question 2. And the NAACP maintaining its opposition to such schools.

In fact there has been a divide on the question amongst liberals  with the Boston Globe editorializing against fiscal objections to charter schools and some Cambridge city officials  spitting from their fellows on question 2.

US News has noticed this split between the liberal grass-roots and their leadership on this issue

But why do many civil rights groups oppose charters? The more deeply one looks, the more puzzling the question. Unlike rank-and-file teachers, the African-Americans we surveyed support charters by a nearly two to one margin. Forty-eight percent of African Americans say they favor the formation of charters, while only 29 percent stand in opposition, with the remainder taking the neutral position. In fact the opinions of African-Americans resemble those of the American public as a whole – 51 percent support, 28 percent oppose, 21 percent neutral. A March Boston Globe poll found much the same level of support for charters in the Bay State as we found nationally, both among the public as a whole and among all demographic groups.

Not only does the black community support charters, but African-American students enjoy over-representation in charter schools. According to the U. S. Department of Education 27 percent of all charter students are black, even though black students constitute only 16 percent of the overall public school population. Hispanic students at charters (30 percent) are slightly over-represented, as their share of the school-age population is 25 percent. But white students constitute just a quarter of the enrollees at charters, even though they are half of all students attending public school. Mysteriously, the NAACP calls this segregation

This divide has not slowed down the teachers unions and their allies.  In my home town of Fitchburg a local office opened up in the parkhill plaza area with a big sign Fitchburg Educational Association over it.  This has been a source of the lawn signs against question two that have popped up all over town.  In my travels I’ve yet to notice any such comparable effort locally on the other side.

Of course it could be the reason for the inactivity of the pro-question 2 side might be a decision to allow the results from the Sizer School, the local charter serving grades 7-12 speak for itself

the Massachusetts Department of Education released the accountability results for schools across the state. Sizer School, a 7-12 public charter in Fitchburg, has reached Level 1 status – an exciting accomplishment. In the aggregate and by subgroup, Sizer students met state targets for achievement. Sizer also saw strong improvement in subgroup performance in English Language Arts, and in moving students from warning/failing into proficient, and from proficient to advanced. This benchmark is due to the achievement and dedication of Sizer staff, students, and families. It represents diligence and is the result of hard work to ensure students understand and are able to demonstrate mastery of content and concepts in a testing environment.

According to the Massachusetts State 2016 glossary of accountability terms level one means?

Massachusetts’ Framework for District Accountability and Assistance classifies schools and districts on a fivelevel scale, classifying those meeting their gap narrowing goals in Level 1 and the lowest performing in Level 5. Approximately eighty percent of schools are classified into Level 1 or 2 based on the cumulative PPI for the “all students” and high needs groups. For a school to be classified into Level 1, the cumulative PPI for both the “all students” group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

It defines “high needs students” as:

The high needs group is an unduplicated count of all students in a school or district belonging to at least one of the following individual subgroups: students with disabilities, English language learners (ELL) and former ELL students, or economically disadvantaged students. For a school to be considered to be making progress toward narrowing proficiency gaps, the cumulative PPI for both the all students group and high needs students must be 75 or higher.

Sizer school scored 76 on all students and an even higher 78 for “high needs” students.

Meanwhile according to state stats Fitchburg in General (Level 3 62/60) and the schools servicing comparable grade levels   Fitchburg high  (Level 3 60/51)   Longsjo Middle school (Level 2 74/68)  and Memorial Middle School (Level 3 61/53) did not do so well.

On the minus side Sizer overall performance relative to other schools in same school type was 40 meaning that 60 percent of comparable schools scored better.  That might have been a good talking point for the folks at the Fitchburg Educational Association trying to move voters in Fitchburg voters if it wasn’t for the fact that Longsjo Middle school relative overall performance score was a 23, Memorial Middle school  a 22 and Fitchburg high a lowly 10 barely making double digits.

As election day grows nearer those opposed to charter school expansion in Massachusetts find themselves in the same position as Senator Richard Russell of Georgia who during the debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1957 had a memorable exchange over the need for a such a law with Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan on the senate floor.  Russell arguing for the status quo, noted McNamara’s stated racial issues in Michigan could be handled without outside interference and asked “Then, why does not the senator let us [in the south] do the same?”  McNamara, in a loud voice answered the argument for maintaining things as they were by saying:  “Because you’ve had ninety years and haven’t done it.”

That’s the dilemma of those hoping to reverse those polling numbers.  If the local schools had produced results that parents wanted for their children the whole question of charter schools would be moot.  But as long as the stats from the state and more importantly the results that are visible to the voters every time their children come home from school remain what they’ve been for years, lawn signs not withstanding the argument for the status quo will remain a difficult sell.


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Last night before hitting work I stopped at Happy Jack’s restaurant to see Howie Carr address a group of about 30-40 folk in support of Frank Ardinger’s run for state rep in the 4th Worcester district that you might have heard mention of if you saw my post and interview with the head of the Leominster republican committee at the Johnny Appleseed festival or the group of Fitchburg & Leominster residents at the Trump event in Bedford NH

Here is an excerpt of his speech

Frank spoke briefly afterwards

Before things began Howie consented to a brief interview as well

The process of changing the culture of Massachusetts begins one seat and election at a time, let’s see if Leominster is willing to do its part.


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Yesterday I spent the day in Leominster Massachusetts birthplace of Johnny Appleseed for their annual Johnny Appleseed fair manning the WQPH 89.3 FM Queen of Perpetual Help Shirley Fitchburg booth promoting Catholic radio for people and praying decades of the rosary on the spot for people’s intentions both online and in person.

At the festival I did a few interviews for WQPH. We talked to Adam Webber of the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network which provides help for homeless families.

If you want to donate to MIHN their website is here.

I also spoke to Brother Alexis who while from Fitchburg has spent the last 2 1/2 decades in Italy.

I’d also like to thank him for joining me in many of the rosary decades that I prayed for others.