[New York, NY Saturday, June 12, 2021 — The Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.]
At 8:06am, what began as a peaceful Saturday morning ended abruptly as a crowd assembled before the doors St. Paul’s Church in Brooklyn chanting “This church harasses women! This church harasses women!”
As the altar bell rang and the faithful rose from the pews of the diocese oldest continuously operating church, the reason everyone inside…and outside the church, albeit for different reasons, began; to Celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to offer prayers for all of those affected by abortion.
As voices rose in song against the chanting beyond the doors, a cacophonous symphony of opposing notes and points of view echoed against the frescoed walls.
As Mass concluded the faithful stepped from the peace of the church and entered the gauntlet.
Rage filled screams, taunts and attempts to prevent them from peacefully praying as they walked to a nearby abortion clinic ensued.
It took an hour to walk 6 blocks.
Undeterred, a priest from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and a priest the Diocese of Brooklyn led the group down Court Street in a procession that resembled Jesus’ walk to Calvary. Complete with falls, spit and hate.
They prayed and bore the weight of a hatred that existed since Jesus’ time.
And they brought the invitation of Christ’s Mercy and Love.
“But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him as well” Matthew 5:29
They say that to be heroic there needs to be a challenge to rise above.
To be truly heroic means to place the well being of others above that of your own.
And to be heroically faithful means to steadfastly witness to Christ in the face of resistance and attack.
It’s to love in the face of hate, to have courage in the face of fear, and offer mercy in spite of the hurt.
And today, on the dirty streets of Brooklyn, two priests and a group of faithful reminded a world at war with itself that heroic faith still exists, and in the end, will save the day.