Saturday, March 03, 2007
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!