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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Yesterday the big international news of out of the Church was the Pope daring to speak aloud an uncomfortable truth

“In the past century, our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” the Pope said at a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacres.

“The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people,” he said, referencing a 2001 declaration by Pope John Paul II and the head of the Armenian church.

The Turks are not amused:

“The pope’s statement, which is far from historic and legal truths, is unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted. “Religious positions are not places where unfounded claims are made and hatred is stirred.”

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican’s envoy in Ankara, and then announced it was recalling its own ambassador to the Vatican for consultations.

The ramification of this statement will be felt for decades but I saw something today that will have even larger ramifications.

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday and at St. Bernard’s Parish at St Camillus Church there was an extra mass at 2 PM.

Yesterday was in the 60’s and sunny.  It was the first really gorgeous Sunday of the year.  It was a day of cookouts (in fact the local Market Basket was practically out of hotdog buns.)

Yet when I got to the church at 12:30 the place there was a large crowd not only in adoration before the blessed sacrament but waiting for a chance to receive confession from one of the six priests hearing them.

The number of people taking confession was so large that the mass at 2 was actually delayed as one of the priests was literally stopped on his way to get vested by people who hadn’t had a chance to confess while a 2nd continued to hear confessions past the mass’ start.

And when mass was done and most of the extra priests had left the congregation adored before the blessed sacrament praying the traditional prayers for Eucharistic Adoration in addition to the chaplet of divine mercy.

Why is this such a big deal?  Just a few years ago half of the parishes in Fitchburg were closed, yet on the best Saturday Afternoon of the year so far given six priests and 90 minutes there wasn’t enough time for the entire crowd to have confession before the scheduled time of Mass.

And mind you this is in Massachusetts in the most liberal state in the entire US, the father of Gay Marriage.  If this is what’s happening in the Bay State what is happening in places more devout?

To a lot of people in media, the Catholic Church in America are the university professors who dissent or the pols who reject its doctrines.

But if I’m correct and what I saw yesterday was repeated nationwide then the cultural change within the church as the EWTN generation replaces the vatican 2 generation the Catholic Church in America will be ready and willing to stand up courageously at a time when it will be needed most.

 And it’s that faith that will change the world.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

Repentance must precede the right of pardon, and I have not repented

Jefferson Davis 1881.

What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw [in Hell] . But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.

The diary of Saint. Sr. Faustina Kowalska section 741

 

Yesterday I wrote about Divine Mercy and the sense of frustration that I suspect Christ feels at people refusing to accept the mercy that is offered.

The concept of Mercy is something that we are all familiar with.  In culture, books movies television & song mercy is a topic.  From our childhood  when we misbehaved & asked our parents for it, to the police officer that we hope will give us the warning instead of the ticket we all know about either asking for, or being asked to show mercy.

Mercy is considered a great virtue but in all cases there is one determining factor if it is appropriate, the concept of justice.

The  various moral laws and rules exist to encourage right behavior.  It is for the sake of Justice that a price is paid for violating those laws.  If mercy is granted without acknowledging justice then it is not mercy, it is licence and moreover its licence for things that are self-destructive to the individual, and to society.

The theme of Justice vs Mercy is again one that plays often in culture.  Sometimes leaning toward Mercy:

11th Doctor: But they coming back, don’t you see? Every time I negotiate, I try to understand. Well, not today. No. Today, I honour the victims first. His, the Master’s, the Dalek’s, all the people who died because of my mercy!

Amy: You see, this is what happens when you travel alone for too long. Well, listen to me, Doctor. We can’t be like him. We have to be better than him.

Doctor Who A Town Called Mercy 2012

and sometimes Justice:

Clara: Old friend, is she? If you have ever let this creature live, everything that happened today, is on you. All of it, on you. And you’re not going to let her live again.
12th Doctor: Clara, all I’m doing is not letting you kill her. I never said I was letting her live.
Clara:  Really?
12th Doctor:  If that’s the only thing that will stop you, yes.
Missy/The Master: Seriously. Oh, Doctor. To save her soul? But who, my dear, will save yours?

Doctor Who  Death in Heaven 2014

It can be a tough call, if a kid shoplifts and he doesn’t pay a price, will he be persuaded to stop shoplifting?  If your brother blows is money wastefully & you bail him out of his hole without cost, will he just blow his dough again?  If a boyfriend or spouse cheats and you instantly forgive without even a request why would they not break faith again?  If a gang member or a person of privilege a slap on the wrist will they every change their ways?

It’s the same dynamic with God.  He gives us, as a visiting priest to our parish once put it,  laws because they are good, not the other way around and if we live that way, loving God and neighbor our lives will be better, otherwise  not only will our lives and those around us will be worse, but justice demands a price be paid.

And that’s what those who say:  “I don’t believe a just God would allow the tortures of Hell.”  have it exactly backward.  In the same way life would be meaningless if we didn’t have free will to choose the right or not so would that choice between right and wrong be meaningless without consequence.

Without hell, man has a God of licence not justice.

Yet because God is in fact a God of justice he can also offer mercy.  Since that justice is heavy so too is the price to mitigate it ad it’s to pay that price that Christ became man, suffered and died.  He did the heavy lifting giving so even the worst of us could have the opportunity to receive mercy for even the most horrible of sins.

And with the heavy lifting done, all that’s left for us is the simple acknowledgement of said sacrifice by the act of baptism augmented  by the sacrament of confession which can be repeated as necessary over and over again no matter how many times we fail to obtain the mercy offered.

Yet just like Jeff Davis after the civil war who refused to apply for pardon the simple act of repentance,  that baptism or confession,  involves the acknowledgement of a reality that’s more than their pride can bear.

So while the God of mercy offers it at an astonishingly low price and even gives man their entire life to pay it, many, in fact most will exercise the choice that comes from their freedom and reject it until the time comes when it is too late.  Then they will discover once and for all that the free rejection of God’s mercy is the free acceptance of God’s justice.

There is a reason pride is the first of the deadly sins.

And that’s why you should pray so hard, especially at the hour of mercy (3 PM) for the salvation of souls, even the smallest one will make a difference.

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For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation;  but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:5b-6

 

On Monday I was reading a bit from the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska.  The revelation to her has led to, not only the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday the week after Easter,  but the practice of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Divine Mercy Chapels worldwide.  This is not only a spectacular triumph over the forces of evil but a great example of what can be done when one is willing to be dedicated to the words of Christ.

However considering the words of said diaries and the revelations therein that I’ve read thus far there is one thing  I’ve perceived that is absolutely painful to read.

Frustration!

The frustration is not so much that people are unaware of the Mercy of God, although St Sr. Faustina was specifically tasked to promote and propagate said mercy, it’s that so few people take advantage of it.

Here you have Christ, God himself,  while remaining fully God becoming man and suffering torture and death for the sins and people don’t bother to take advantage of that sacrifice to be forgiven.

And when Christ says he will forgive sins he means it.  It doesn’t matter what your sin is,  Mass Murder,  Genocide, Rape, Theft on a global scale that sin can be forgiven.  No sin is so large that the blood of Christ and the divine Mercy of God can not forgive it.

Yet people don’t bother.

And it’s not like it’s a difficult procedure either.  If you are a non-christian who has never been baptised it’s incredibly easy.   The act of baptism cleans  ANY & ALL sins from the soul, period!

Even if you are an ISIS terrorist who has been killing and raping his way across the Middle East.  Even if you are an Imam who has been calling for the murder and rape of infidels.  Even if you have spending your entire life doing all you can to disparage God and to persecute the church, the simple act of Baptism changes everything.  Every single sin you have committed to that point, from a simple white lie, to mass murder is washed away.  Forgiven, forgotten  forever.

If you have previously been baptised it’s not very hard either.  There are over 417,000 Priests and Bishops in the world.  Each and every one of them can administer the sacrament of Confession.

Thanks to the nature of the Sacrament of Confession said forgiveness is not even contingent on the perfect contrition for sins due to the love of God, even imperfect contrition due to the fear of hell is good enough to get you absolution.

Nor does committing the sin at a later time preclude you from absolution.  Temptation will always exist but as long as at the time of confession you sincerely regret your sin and intend to not commit it again you will be forgiven!

Two minutes of your life for complete forgiveness,  people spend more time that waiting in line for a coffee…and they don’t do it.

Every moment of life,  the hand of forgiveness is offered and every day people refuse it, ignore it or put it off.

I could be wrong but I think this is the greatest pain that Christ suffers.

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There are less than 60 days to the year and to say things are tight financially around here is to say the Titanic had a bit of a leak .

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