It was a bright morning when I stepped off the subway accompanied by my brother-in-law Philip Moore on our way to the Witness for Life held every first Saturday by the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants of Manhattan. Mass is offered at 8:00 AM at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Nolita (north of Little Italy), usually by Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, leader of the Helpers in Manhattan. Fr. Fidelis was not able to offer Mass that morning as he had just been incarcerated for participating in a Red Rose Rescue in Westchester County.
When Philip and I arrived, protestors from Abortion Rights for NYC were already outside the church and we came in through the back door of the church. We could hear the protestors while Mass was being celebrated by Bishop Peter Byrne, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Following Mass, one of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal told us that the rosary procession to Planned Parenthood would not be able to take place as the police had informed him that the protestors were too numerous for the police to guarantee our safety. Father told us that we could pray the rosary in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, or if anyone wished, they could walk to Planned Parenthood in twos and threes to pray there. Phil and I, being a bit long in the tooth, decided to stay in the church. Most of the younger people there went to pray at the abortion facility.
The yelling and screaming from the pro-abortion protestors got louder and louder as we continued to pray, led by Bishop Byrne. When we finished praying the rosary, Benediction was held, and we were then invited for coffee and bagels at the nearby Youth Center of Old St. Patrick’s. As Phil and I left the church the protestors were yelling epithets vociferously, calling us Nazis and other unlovely names. We did not venture out on the sidewalk but cut through the cemetery on the grounds of Old St. Patrick’s, as the only thing separating us from the protestors were a few police officers and an iron gate.
As we enjoyed a bite to eat and some coffee, we could still hear the protestors outside. One of the sidewalk counselors got up to speak and informed us that two women had turned around and decided to keep their babies while we were praying in church. We were all elated by this news. We later found out that five of the protestors had been arrested by the police, and one of the Friars was accosted by protestors while he was trying to get into his car. When Phil and I left, the protestors were still outside the Youth Center, and we were advised to us the side streets to get to our subway to head for home.
The Friars have asked us to invite others to come to these first Saturday vigils for life, as the more pro-lifers there are the easier it will be for the police to escort us. I would like to invite everyone reading this blog to come to the next vigil on September 3, 2022, beginning with Mass at 8:00AM.
Kevin Moore is the Treasurer of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants.