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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As a Knight of Columbus [that’s where my nom de plume comes from], I was particularly pleased to see the recent op-ed column by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet) in which he called for Catholic politicians either to stop supporting abortion “rights” or to resign their office. I could not agree with him more. As Pope Benedict XVI said in Sacramentum Caritatis, the question of Catholic politicans supporting abortion is “not negotiable.” So a pro-abortion Catholic politician can only be one of two things:
Misinformed on the Catholic teaching on abortion, such that he thinks his pro-abortion stance is somehow consistent with his Catholicism and thus with his conscience, or
So craven in his desire for political power that he is willing to violate his conscience to acquire it.
Option 1 is addressable by knowledgeable Catholics engaging the candidate. Option 2 can only be addressed by the candidate himself, and I would argue that any politician who can be shown to be in this category should be automatically disqualified from receiving your vote (or anyone’s for that matter). [Note that I am not calling for a “religious test” for the candidate, but rather that voters disqualify him by not supporting the candidate. There’s a huge difference.] Moreover, if a sincere effort has been taken to inform the candidate to address the first problem and the candidate persists in his support for abortion, then the only conclusion to be drawn is that he is now in the second category and undeserving of your support. As a Knight, I find particularly galling the attitude of pro-abortion politicians who not only make an issue of their Catholicism, but also publicize their membership in the Knights of Columbus to enhance their credentials.
Indeed, I was involved a few years ago in an effort to have the Knights adopt a policy whereby they would kick out any member who, as a politician, could be shown to support legislation or policy that contradicted Catholic teaching on abortion, marriage or the family. We made considerable progress, but ultimately the motion was defeated at the Knights’ convention. The reasoning was that it was not the Knights’ job to determine who was a Catholic in good standing, which is the only qualification for becoming a Knight of Columbus in the first place. They felt that that decision lay with the bishops. I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of political reticense (dare I say “cowardice”) also played a part in the decision because the Knights are – quite rightly – protective of their tax-exempt status as a world-wide philanthopic and insurance agency.
Unfortunately, while the Knights could enforce such a policy in a non-partisan manner (Lord knows there are many Catholic Republicans who support abortion), it is undeniable that it would have a disparate impact on Democrat politicians due to that party’s extreme pro-abortion platform. And given Democrats’ penchant for forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups and individuals to violate their consciences to support abortion, it is a safe bet that such a policy would put the Knights firmly in the Democrats’ cross-hairs to remove the tax exemption that enables the Knights to do so much good work throughout the world.
But if our Supreme Knight recognizes that pro-abortion Catholic politicians are in serious-enough error to call for their resignation, surely if they persist in their error, Mr. Anderson should call for their resignation from the Knights. Allowing them to continue as Knights brings scandal and undermines the Knights’ position as the pre-eminent private Catholic charitable institution in the world. While I applaud his call that Catholics must not vote for such politicians (including Tim Kaine), I challenge him to extend this policy to its logical conclusion.
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On Sunday, Sept. 21, we will gather for a public act of worship at St. Francis of Assisi Church. I invite all Catholics as well as other Christians and people of good will to join us for a Eucharistic Holy Hour, an outdoor Eucharistic procession and Benediction beginning at 3 p.m. We will prayerfully bear witness to our faith as an expression of our solidarity and in reparation for acts of blasphemy.
but if you are not in Oklahoma City you can make a difference.
This ordeal in our community has been ongoing for nearly three months, since we first became aware of the scheduled black mass. In spite of our apparent inability to prevent this sacrilegious event from taking place, I am grateful for a number of blessings that have accrued through this trial. I am grateful for the significant legal victory that allowed us to regain possession of the consecrated Host that would have been desecrated during the black mass. I am deeply grateful for the strong response to our appeal for prayer throughout the Christian community. People across Oklahoma, throughout our great country and around the world have responded with prayer and fasting. We have been given an opportunity to express our faith in the Lord and our profound gratitude for his gift of the Eucharist through acts of devotion. Many of our Catholic people have been appealing to St. Michael the Archangel for heavenly protection against the powers of evil in our world.
Here in Fitchburg the Knights of Columbus St. Anthony of Padua council # 15962 will be holding a Rosary of Reparation at 6 PM EST at St. Anthony of Padua Church 84 Salem Street Fitchburg Mass. All are welcome to join us in this public Rosary and prayers.
Take the time to check if there is something similar going on in your diocese, if so attend if you can. If there is not and there is a Eucharist Adoration chapel in your area (you can find the closest here) visit it for a holy hour.
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have also faith in me.
It was the portrait of Pope Francis that the media has done its best to obscure, my reaction was: We need to get this into the hand of as many Conservative Catholics as possible.
I approached my pastor Fr. Bob saying that if more of my conservative Catholic friends saw this picture they would question the pope less. His answer was classic: Either we trust the Holy Spirit to guide the church or we don’t.
Now Pope Benedict has specifically said as a Cardinal that the Spirit doesn’t directly select the pope…
I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined…There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!
Consider the two most extraordinary papal elections of the last 40 years.
After the death of Pope Paul VI the college of Cardinals of picked the affable and friendly Albino Luciani yet another Italian pope in a long line of Italian popes dating back to the 1500’s. The Church seemed to be on the same path that it had been traveling for a couple of decades.
33 days later he was dead and the Papacy landed upon the Polish John Paul II one of the most active and transformational Popes of our time was selected. He would travel the world, inspire millions particularly the young, lead to a resurgence of the faith worldwide and be the ram that battered the first breach in the Iron Curtain that would be torn down before within 15 years of his election.
Jump to a few years ago, the church is under constant attack from the media who totally ignore reforms and positive action from the increasingly frail Benedict who scholarly approach seemed poorly suited to respond in an increasingly wired world.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
As Ed Morrissey reminded us last time this had happened the Printing Press had not been invented. Everyone had a bunch of ideas why he did it but few considered that as a man of deep prayer and faith he allowed the Holy Spirit to move him.
They are having fits that we couldn’t have imagined. People are taking a 2nd look at the church and while there will be those who easily fall away as in the parable of the sower, there will be those who will find themselves embracing Christ and be snatched away from the pit of the secular world steers to drive them to.
Consider these recent tweets on Marriage…
Dear young people, don’t be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.
None of this has happened in a vacuum and, in my opinion look a lot like the Holy Spirit in action, but strangely enough some of my fellow conservative Catholics who wouldn’t trust the MSM if they told them the sky was blue are putting more trust in the media spin on Pope Francis than they are in the Holy Spirit which Christ promised would be there to guide his Church.
That’s taking counsel of one’s fears but even worse it a temptation to the sin of spiritual pride and that sin will damn a soul just as easily as lust, greed, gluttony or any other.
A new week has come with a new $350 goal to be made to pay DaMagnificent Seven and the less than magnificent mortgage.
Yesterday was a great imitation of Gave 6 of the 1976 world series. With less that two hours to go a single tip jar hitter made up the shortfall and gave us a full payweek in the last three.
It just goes to show you that the game isn’t over, until the last out is made.
The day has already started with a few hits of DaTipjar and if we can get another dozen tip jar hitter at $25 we can have the goal made at the beginning of the week rather than in the closing hours.
It will be much easier on my hairline and I don’t have all that much to spare.
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Gonzaga University’s president has decided to allow the Knights of Columbus St. Aloysius Gonzaga Council #12583 to be approved as a sponsored organization, reversing a decision made in March.
Catholic organization, Catholic University named after a Catholic Saint? Yeah I think this was the right move. It’s also a lesson for those who might suggest watering down the faith to appease the world as opposed to standing up fearlessly for the Lord. In the words of spokesperson Mary Joan Hahn
”Dr. McCulloh once again affirmed the university’s value, respect and support for the purpose and good works of the Knights of Columbus, with which the university has enjoyed a long and mutually collaborative relationship at the local level.”
In my under the Fedora Column this week I mentioned the following story out of Gonzaga University rejecting official recognition as a official student organization.
“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” says a letter obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society written by Sue Weitz, Vice President for Student Life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University, as well as the University’s commitment to non-discrimination based on certain characteristics, one of which is religion.”
Well I found this odd so I gave the a ring, today I got an e-mail from Gonzaga University in answer to my tweets and phone call, I reprint the official statement from Gonzaga as is:
STATEMENT FROM GONZAGA UNIVERSITY ON THE ISSUE OF OFFICIAL
RECOGNITION OF PROPOSED KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STUDENT GROUP
Gonzaga University’s Student Life division recently issued a decision that it could not recognize a proposed Knights of Columbus student club under its current club recognition process. The University is concerned that all of the factors involved in this decision have not been represented in their entirety, and thus may be misunderstood.
Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh states that Gonzaga honors and respects the purpose and good works of the Knights of Columbus, with which it has a long tradition and mutual collaboration at both local and state levels. The Knights of Columbus College Council (#12583) is already present within the student body and receives support from the administration. Gonzaga University’s core Catholic and Jesuit identity recognizes, encourages and supports many student organizations that advance faith-related issues (for example, Gonzaga Right to Life, and the Blessed John Paul II Fellowship).
President McCulloh has received a request from the sponsoring student to review the decision regarding the recognition of the organization as a student club, and has decided to undertake this review. The review is expected to take 30-45 days.
My thanks to Gonzaga for their prompt answer.
My thoughts: Far be it from me as a mere 3rd degree member of a Knight of Columbus (Council #99) to question a college named after a saint but it’s my experience that if you “honor and respect the purpose and good works” of an organization, have a “long tradition and mutual collaboration” with an organization and have a college council of an organization, and your college “recognizes, encourages and supports” organizations that are faith based, the idea of having an official student club of such a group would be such a no brainier that this entire story would not have taken place.
But that’s just me.
Being a trusting and totally uncynical person of Sicilian ancestry I’m sure the 30-45 day review will be strictly on the merits of the previous decision and will not at all hinge on how Catholic donors react or if people forget about the news over 30 days or if a letter comes from the Supreme Knights Council or perhaps some of the other 15,000 local K of C councils nationwide decide to write the college or how much play this gets on Catholic Blogs and how the local Bishop reacts etc etc etc.
This Knights of Columbus is one of the premier Catholic fraternal and charitable organizations in the world. In its over a century of existence it has contributed a fortune for charitable causes all over the world. One of the causes most dear to the heart of the knights is are physically and mentally disabled children.
This week and weekend you will see Knights at your local mall, on street corners and in public places running our annual tootsie roll drive to help mentally disabled children. 100% of the money raised from these drives go to the cause. If you see a knight with a can out in front of your local supermarket, drop in a few cents, enjoy the tootsie roll he gives you and open and read the wrapper inside to learn about the good that small change you are parting with will do this year.
And if you are a practicing Catholic who would like to get involved with the Knights click here, you will find local counsels exist all over the country and beyond.