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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Dr. Soran: We’re all going to die sometime. It’s just a question of how and when. You will too, Captain. Aren’t you beginning to feel time gaining on you? It’s like a predator; it’s stalking you. Oh, you can try and outrun it with doctors, medicines, new technologies. But in the end, time is going to hunt you down… and make the kill.

Star Trek Generations 1994

Professor Moriarty: A deadline has a wonderful way of concentrating the mind.

Star Trek TNG Ship in a Bottle 1993

Mother Angelica:  Look if I’m going to Hell it’s not going to be over a peanut.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and all over the world churches are having special events, extra masses, expositions of the blessed sacrament and above all extra chances for the Sacrament of Confession.

The feast which stems from the revelations to Saint Faustina a Polish Nun in the 30’s is all about a particular theme, the Mercy of Christ extended to sinners.

The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. (699)

These celebrations, such as the one at the national shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and all the events world wide from solemn prayers to celebrations are great and wonderful things, but they are all about pointing to a fact of life that a lot of us want to forget.

We’re all going to die.

We have created a culture that like to pretending aging and death doesn’t happen, we spend a fortune on anti-aging creams, treatments and plastic surgery, we pretend that aging really doesn’t slow us down or mean we can’t do what we used to. Our culture comes up with new snappy slogans. Fifty is the new thirty, Seventy is the new fifty.

In a sense it’s a fitting finish and expression for this baby boomer generation. It’s their last desperate cry against the values of the greatest generation that they revolted against in the 60’s.

But while one can live one’s life as if the truths of centuries have no meaning in the end no amount of denial will stop the reality of death.

That’s what this feast is about.

It’s about making it clear that Your life is going to end, it’s about Christ giving a loud shout out to his brothers and sisters on a particular day saying. “Hey I’ll forgive you, It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone off the farm just come to me, I really mean it and I’ll give you a clean start.”

Now one might argue: Well, God’s mercy is available every single day. Why should we bother with a feast of Divine Mercy?

Well why do we celebrate birthdays or mothers days? Aren’t we happy about our family and friends every day? Don’t we love our mothers every day?

This day put the issue in focus, and it’s something that needs focus, particularly in a culture that constantly spends its time in denial. It is literally a matter of eternal life or eternal death.

It’s also why Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy, it’s to highlight to the entire world, particularly to all those that he has made inroads to that have ignored the church for decades that God’s mercy is available to them. You might not be where you should be. You might not understand it, you might not deserve it (frankly none of us do) but it’s there. Take the first steps toward it and like the force of gravity acting on a small rock it will slowly draw you in and make you whole in a way

Can there be a better day to take advantage of the Mercy of Christ on the Feast of Divine Mercy in the Year of Mercy?

What are you waiting for?

I’ll give the last word to Mother Angelica


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