Cleansing Fire

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500+ in Canandaigua Legacy Procession

March 24th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The on-line report  Friday afternoon from MPN NOW and Mike Murphy of the Canandaigua Messenger stated:  “All of the estimated 500 people who marched in a silent procession on Friday carried a message: A proposed federal health-care law provision requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to employees violates their freedom of religion.” 

See also the YNN report and video by Mike Hadeen, and Channel 8 coverage here[Added the rest of this paragraph text after original posting:]   While I think we can all be grateful for the coverage, it is really unfortunate when even respected News Anchors and reporters call it a “Birth Control Mandate Protest.”  It means they understood nothing of the issue, but are accidentally (or deliberately) demeaning support for Religious Freedom under the First Amendment as if it were a protest against Birth Control.  But if we needs must discuss the particular areas at the moment which are violations of First Amendment rights, those would be birth control, abortion (pill) and sterilization — all 3.   And it wouldn’t be a protest against any of these sins, but rather against a government trying to engage us in, or force us to commit, those sins by procuring the sins for others.  At the end of the Channel 8 report, there is again the misspeaking by the media as if Obama had actually offered a compromise.  He addressed money; we address conscience.  There is no recognition by the current administration, or the news media,  that money doesn’t substitute for conscience.  Now, back to the silent procession!

The silent 2 block procession from St. Mary Canandaigua to the Ontario County Courthouse took place with church bells pealing in the background from most of the Canandaigua churches.  Deacon Claude Lester had brought together a wide community concerned with loss of Religious Freedom and there was solidarity in our message, even without speaking.  Signage at St. Mary’s reinforced the message with many historical quotes.  (More than 20 of those quotations were in my prior post).

We milled about waiting for the procession to begin, reading more than 100 quotations, sharing our concerns, and signing the Legacy Tower.   The picture to the left shows one of the three panels that was signed. 

The children present were not only from St. Mary’s School, but parents had also brought their children with them.

I met people from Clyde, Seneca Falls, Waterloo, Syracuse,  etc., who had no event in their communities, and so were looking for the opportunity to be with others to proclaim the message.   One person carried a menorah, another a statue, and many crosses and rosaries were seen.

The processional line wrapped around most of the courthouse, and we stood about 10 minutes in silent prayer, reading quietly to ourselves the prayer which united us:

“To our great God, creator of the universe and all it holds.  THANK YOU for this day to renew our legacy.  May our silence of this day speak boldly to the world that no more words are needed.  Over the years, our fore-bearers of faith and freedom have spoken most eloquently.  Today we stand in silent resolve of their legacy and we pledge to not forget, compromise or change their testimony.”

 

I am taking this picture above from about 3/4 of the way through the processional line.  The front of the line shown above continued more than twice the length shown, then turned a corner to cover the same distance from where I’m standing to the front of the line, then back along Main Street to where I’m standing, and then  back to the end of the block.  Since we were several wide on the sidewalk, but strung out in a procession, it’s hard to convey the numbers.  But the distance says something too.

 

 

 

We returned in silence to St. Mary’s and about 50 people stayed for Mass and Stations of the  Cross with Fr. Mull.

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8 Responses to “500+ in Canandaigua Legacy Procession”

  1. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thank you, Diane, for reporting on this. Great work.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    “the estimated 500 people”

    Excellent!

  3. avatar Nerina says:

    I was there, too, and took some pictures. I’ll see how they look and post them when I get a chance. I loved all the church bells ringing. It is always so powerful to see people of like-mind join together for a cause. Loved having all the Saint Mary’s kids with us.

    Most interesting is how respectful this protest was. First, it was silent. And I mean silent. There was no mess to clean up. No whining. No disrespect shown toward others or property. Just a simple statement that our faith will not be made private. It belongs in the public square and symbolically that was represented in the shape taken by the protesters as we surrounded the courthouse. Well done, Deacon Claude!

  4. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Diane:

    As you are aware, I was at the silent protest and watched the wonderful people of God (500) march along in silence. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think I saw a single Catholic priest in attendance although other denominations were represented. Their absence was a truly sad situation and demands some discussion on our diocese’s involvment in truly Catholic activities and its pernicious spiritual anemia which is affecting us all!!

    Ray

  5. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Well, obviously, there were a lot of individuals I didn’t get to see in a crowd of 500. And maybe a lot I wouldn’t recognize either. There was a seminarian there, and of course Mass was beginning, but I did meet a number of Protestant pastors. I was very impressed with their solidarity with us. They seemed to really understand it being an issue of religious freedom, not contraception. I thought it had great ecumenical cooperation. I was looking at the Rochester rally pictures too, but couldn’t tell if priests were there or not, or maybe I just don’t recognize the individuals. Didn’t see anyone wearing a mitre though.

    On another note, we had a perfect weather-week, right up and through the processional with only a slight increase in wind after most had dispersed. On a counterpoint, I’d like to note that the atheists’ Reason Rally in DC on the Mall was a wet and soggy affair, with umbrellas more visible than people. They should have prayed for good weather. It’s nice to know that not only does our God “reign”, but also that He has a sense of humor.

  6. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Diane:

    I saw the D and C and there was a picture of Father John Reif in it. I did not see a picture of Father Tony Mugavero who is usually at the rallies.

    Raymond

  7. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Father Tony Mugavero was one of the speakers. I also recognized fr carpenter by sight.

  8. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    Fr. Joe Catanise, pastor of St. Leo’s in Hilton, was at the rally in Rochester, also.


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