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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Holy Protest!


Tonight I met up with friends and fellow bloggers, Ray of Stella Borealis and Cathy of Recovering Dissident. Our Mission; to join up with the SJV Seminarians in a protest against the blasphemy at the University of Minnesota.

The trio of us arrived a little early, noting the presence of a squad car in front of the Rarig theater. We didn't start anything initially, preferring to wait for the cavalry to arrive although we began to get nervous in thinking they weren't coming. The squad left, apparently thinking we looked like theater goers; our rosaries weren't yet in our hands. It was a cold evening, typical after a snowstorm, so we found a warm lobby in the parking garage across the street, and somewhere around 7:10 or so we ventured out to either take action in the form of prayer or to see if any others had arrived.

Immediately we saw a line of men and women standing on the sidewalk across from the theater, and it was Ray who discovered they were some of the people we were waiting for...already praying the rosary. One of them was Veritatis Splendor.(The photo above is compliments of her). We went to the end of the line to join in.

Shortly after that, a police officer arrived and asked who was in charge? We pointed down the line; it certainly wasn't us.

A young man stepped forward while the rosary continued. I am nosy, so listened to the coversation, which was about logistics. The officer was setting the parameters; keep the sidewalks clear so people could pass, don't interfere with traffic, etc. No problem. She didn't have a problem with our presence, already realizing that we weren't there to do anything more than to provide a visible witness of our faith and peacefully protest the outrage against us being held inside the theatre.

I nearly screamed and cheered when I heard the man say that there were "about a hundred more guys coming." But alas, I remained demure, my fingers moving along the rosary beads, praying on one hand, listening with one ear to the conversation at hand.

I watched the people coming by; some ignored us, some glanced over curiously, some laughed, jeered, and pointed. I remember one guy especially in a black fuzzy hat, the expression on his face, the derision in his smile. I blessed him, afraid that if I did not, I'd be offended.

The Gospel reading for today is so pertinent to the situation; "Bless those who curse you; pray for those who persecute you." I realized that we were there not so much in protest, but to pray for those who persecute us, and to bless through our prayers, those who curse the Church and we who live in her.

Just a few short moments after the police officer left, the Cavalry from SJV arrived and set up shop, so we crossed the street to join them. They held their banner, and let me tell you, these guys are HARD CORE! They wore cassocks and surplices, but no coats, not hats, no gloves. They stood with their banner and we all grouped behind them, now on the gathering area in front of the theatre.

I didn't count the people, but given that the majority of the crowd came from SJV, suffice to say it was mostly male, with a few women joining into the fray. They called for sopranos, and sopranos they got! All in all, it might have been 80-100 Catholic men and women there, all told.

It was beautiful; I have never before been surrounded so completely by male voices singing with such dedication and resonance. Usually, in church, in choirs, most of the singers are women, but tonight was different. We female voices added to the prayers and to the songs as a compliment, rounding out the tones raised in glory to God.

The prayers were powerful, they were bold, and above all, they were peaceful.

We stood out in that cold, shivering, protesting, and showing the world that we, as Catholics, have a living, vibrant faith that will not be quashed by the intentional misconstrual of our beliefs. By our prayers for the Pope, we displayed our solidarity to the Vicar of Christ, while behind our backs the Pontiff was being mocked in full theatrical glory to the amusement of those worshipping at the altar of secularity.

By the end, my fingers were so numb I could barely move them over the beads of my rosary and I thought my toes had been lost. Many were shivering, shuffling, but no one faltered, no one stopped, no one gave up.

Our prayers consisted of a rosary, the Glorious Mysteries, prayed in unison, with a hymn between the mysteries. We offered prayers for the Pope, and a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Before we disbursed, Father Baer, SJV Rector, gave the group a blessing.

I already felt blessed, just to be there, to stand up for Jesus Christ, to proclaim by my presence that He is Lord and Savior. When our faith is being mocked, there is no better time than that to stand up and proclaim it. When our beliefs are being willfully misrepresented and ridiculed mercilessly, there is no better time than that to respond and explain for faith and reason go hand in hand. And when our Pope is being maligned, there is no better time than that to assemble and pray in support of him and our dearly departed Popes.

The Pope and the Witch is having its day, and there's nothing we can do about that. The University of Minnesota has shown its true colors - that as an anti-Catholic institute for "higher learning". So be it. They aren't the first and they won't be the last.

But as long as there is persecution, expect to find Catholics willing to stand up for what they believe. We won't threaten to bomb you, we won't attack you, we won't jeer or throw stones. But we will pray. We will raise our voices in song, and in the end, the Glory ALWAYS goes to God.

Pope and the Witch won a small victory in being allowed to go on, but it is a futile victory; God has already stolen the show.

Thank you to the men of St. John Vianney Seminary; you are an inspiration and we will keep you all in our prayers!

24 comments:

Colleen Perfect said...

God reward you! Your description of the evening was awesome and so very hopeful! I could not join in person, but was with you all in my prayer. Thank you for standing in for all of us!

Adoro te Devote said...

I wish you could have been there...we were expecting your call, so believe me, we knew you were "there" even if not in person.

God bless you!

epiphany said...

It was truly awesome being a part of this communal act of reparation (Catholic style!) in protest against the blasphemous P&W play. Our offering of reparation was all the more powerful tonight in God's eyes, as well as the eyes of those who passed by, because of the bitter cold. Yet the joy & fervor with which the 100 strong sang and prayed was inspiring.

We did not shout. We did not curse or show violence. We simply "prayed for those who hate us and persecute us," as Jesus taught. The Church is young, the Church is strong, and dang if we can't sing a Latin hymn!

Nice meeting you tonight, Adoro. Keep up the good work.

And another way to protest anti-Catholic theater is to support good Catholic theater! THE SCRUTINY PASSION is my latest play through Epiphany Studio Productions, which will debut at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis later this month, March 29 & 30.

Blessings,

J. Stanbary, Epiphany Studio Productions (epiphanystudio.com)

Adoro te Devote said...

epiphany ~ Thanks for stopping by, and it was great to meet you, too! I'll post a link to your performance.

Please let me know if there's anything I can do to assist you.

God bless you!

Ray from MN said...

Good post Adoro!

I didn't realize that Mary was part of the group on the south side of the Street. That must have been the group that came from St Thomas that she knew from her year in Rome, etc.

I was kinda surprised that nobody objected to the SJV men setting up where they had on Friday night right next to the stairs to Rarig.

Now it makes sense that those weren't seminarians in the smaller group. I had noticed that there were women in the group, but didn't realize that it was Mary.

So that probably puts the crowd up towards the 120 level.

I've got some other writing to do today so I probably won't post again on the play til Wednesday when I do something on the Talk-back session on Thursday.

It was thrilling. A Prayer-ful Protest!

Suzanne said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! God bless you!

epiphany said...

Thanks, Adoro.

I appreciate your willingness to be of help. We're promoting THE SCRUTINY PASSION throughout the Twin Cities and just getting a buzz going throughout our local blogs would be a great help. Link to my webpage, do a post on the play, spread the word and pray for its success.

We need to speak out against anti-Catholic plays that are out there and stand up for our faith, but an even more effective way to fight the prejudice and to renew our troubled culture is for Catholics to strongly support an alternative, such as what Epiphany Studio Productions has to offer.

Thanks!
www.epiphanystudio.com/the_scrutiny_passion

Adoro te Devote said...

suzanne ~ Thanks! LOL

epiphany ~ funny, I was thinking of doing just that. Will get the post up when I get a moment, and I love the juxtaposition these two posts in a row will hold.

:-)

Check back later and I should have something for you.

Brittany said...

Wow... that is amazing. God bless you and your frozen fingers and toes!

Brittany
www.intothedeep.wordpress.com

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: I'm so happy you and Ray were there with me. What a GREAT evening. Truly great. So many turned out. I'm awed, really, awed. Still, today, I'm awed by it all.

Adoro te Devote said...

Jeremy ~ the post is up. Feel free to send me any updates you'd like me to post for you.

Brittany ~ thanks! They have thawed out nicely. I feel bad for the guys in the surplices...they had to be FROZEN by the time we were done. God bless THEM!

Cathy ~ I'm still awed, too. What a blessed event. I sent an email to Fr. Baer asking that he let us know the next time he's going to send a contingent; we wanna know so others can join!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

I sent a thank-you email to SJV as well.

Anonymous said...

What a marvellous witness! God bless you for your courage. That play sounds like blasphemous poppycock -- sad that people would pay money to see it, and sad to see it was written by a Nobel laureate. You're right -- Catholics would never riot, burn the theatre down, etc. We have the most powerful weapon ever -- prayer -- and that will bring about true change more than any programs or "initiatives" or committee meetings! Keep up the good fight! Warm regards from Canada, Patricia Gonzalez

Our Word said...

Congrats on the coverage you're getting, Adoro. And a terrific job being a witness to the faith, and to truth. I'm proud of you!

Mitchelkl

Melissa said...

Great job! Thank you for witnessing for us all around the country (and the world!).

Fidei Defensor said...

Wow, I thought I had the market cornered on College Catholic blogging in the upper-midwest! What a inspiration story, keep fighting the good fight, some of your posts here have a hint of St. Thomas More in them! Rest assured us Catholics accross the border in Eau Claire will be praying along with y'all!

Adoro te Devote said...

Thanks, everyone! We know that people were there in spirit....now just imagine what it would have been like if all who wanted to be there were there! We'd have flooded the U with prayers for reparation!

Fidei - the market cornered!? Your last post was from December, or are you blogging elsewhere now and I've missed it?

Keep praying over there, especially for the seminarians.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

don't you know there is a war going on - I think that is more important than this stupid play.

Adoro te Devote said...

anon ~ Yes, because we should all stop everything we're doing and talk about the war. I have to ask -to what do you dedicate your time during all hours of the day or night? The war? If not, then how come? How can you eat? How can you sleep? How can you do ANYTHING when there's a war going on?

Any further posts with such irrelevant garbage will be summarily deleted.

Anonymous said...

That the catholics plead to be heard, and even funded with tax dollars in the case of the Milwaukee public schools case is quite funny because right now your asking for the defunding of a university based on intellectual discourse. This seeems more like the tactics of a hard-right muslim group upon hearing an "Allah" joke than a catholic group upon hearing about (but not seeing) a play about the church. Kinda lame and anti-intellectual if you ask me - and this is coming from a catholic kid who went to u of m.

Tabloid-esque fringe groups like you guys are not why I pay church and diocese dues.

Adoro te Devote said...

Oh so brave Anonymous.

You have indeed proven yourself to be a product of the U of M's school of human dignity through your personal attach in which you both identify yourself as "Catholic" and yet call real practicing Catholics a "fringe group." And you likely don't even understand that such derision is in fact a personal attack.

The scary thing is that your dignity is undermined far more than those of us you so malign as a "fringe group."

Go back to that school and get your money back; you don't know the meaning of "intellectual discourse".

WHERE, exactly, is the intellectual discourse in this play? Anyone versed in civil conversation, debate, and discussion knows that you do not open a topic by ridiculing that which is so clearly not understood.


My friend, right-hand Muslims would not sing praises and pray; they would blow up the U using dirty bombs.

It is not easy to be a real, practicing Catholic in our time; in fact, it has never been easy to live this life. Although your snide comment that we are a "fringe group" is meant from the bottom of your heart to be cruel, I take it as a compliment on behalf of all of us; Jesus and his disciples were a fringe group, too.

Go back and study your catechism and why don't you go read some of what Pope John Paul II said about Faith, Reason, and the Redeemer of Man.

Then maybe you can actually see what real discourse is all about.

Anonymous said...

If only your schools were as equal and open as the University of Minnesota you might actually have a case. Yet your elementary schools do not admit the disabled (yet you clamor for money in Milwaukee - like the welfare whores your conservative henchmen deride) Your universities like Notre Dame shirk discussion when confronted with alternative faith ideas. Where is the dialouge on a catholic campus? I don't see it. As a former student of a catholic college in the midwest I found it uniquely oppressive and more of a mommy-state than a liberal-arts institution. This appears to be what you think the legacy of PJPII is. Thats really sad. I don't know much about him, but I do know that to use one man as an excuse for your oppressive ideas, let alone a dead guy is pretty low... hey, at least you didn't use Jesus (that would be really ironic).

Adoro te Devote said...

Oh, another brave anonymous poster. Clearly you didn't get much of an education, but that's likely more your own fault than that of the school you chose given your propensity of making claims without backing them up. Are you the same brave anon that posted to Jeremy Stanbury's blog?

Given your chosen terminology and claims of "my" schools, then I'm guessing you and that anon are one and the same.

So I'll refer you back to Jeremy's comments to you. Please learn to support your opinions as I did in the post that followed this one.

You would learn a great deal by reading John Paul II's writings - further, you'd learn that the teachings of the Catholic Church actually utilize both faith AND reason, neither of which, it appears through your ignorant comment, that you have.

If you're interested in true dialogue, then stop posting such tripe, get a backbone, identify yourself, and back up your claims with solid facts rather than just "I'm a whiner and I don't like you" types of comments.

Get a life anon, or at least get a backbone.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Anonymous: You have completely lost me. What are you talking about? None of your comments make any sense or appear to have the slightest basis in fact.