600 Traditional Catholics Defend Our Lady in New York
In reparation for the blasphemies

Diane Ferrara
Guest Columnist

(www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Editor’s Note: A couple of weeks ago, www.dallasbroadwayworld.com noted that over 600 Catholic traditionalists had descended upon Manhattan to make reparation for a play in which a homosexual man dressed up like Our Lady, sang outrageous rock songs and spewed every manner of blasphemous filth at his unfortunate audience.  In the publicity for the play, Our Lady is referred to as “God’s girlfriend.”  Need we say more? 

The following eye-witness account of the event, which was published in the May 15, 2006 issue of The Remnant, sparked such a favorable reaction around the world that we have decided to post it here on our site for the benefit of those visitors to this web site who are not subscribers to The Remnant. It should rekindle within our ranks the firm conviction to never surrender this holy Cause and to take our fight—the Catholic fight—for Christ’s kingship into the streets of the whole world.  MJM

I had just arrived at the office and the red light on my phone was signaling that I had a message.  I knew as I listened to it, that I would have to go.  The message turned out to be from a friend who called to say that there was a demonstration being organized to protest the obscene off-Broadway play in Manhattan about Our Lady entitled “Mary: Like a Virgin.” 

I knew very little about the content of the play except that some fellow Catholics had reported it was so obscene that they were not willing to describe the sacrilegious nature of its theme, which was a direct assault on the purity, the sanctity and incomparable dignity of the Mother of God.   Saint Paul says that there are certain sins that should not even be named among us, so that was enough for me; I didn’t need to know, nor did I want to know, the blasphemous “details”. 

It seems that the moral pollution and the almost universal decadence of those who defy God is becoming so prevalent and so all-pervasive that the abominations are filling our nostrils and defiling our memories, which should be filled only with the pure and holy memory of God.  “How long, O Lord, how long….?”  Often my thoughts and my heart cry out this way…wondering when God will save us from the tidal depths of sin that threaten to drown us and our children.  Surely He will not delay much longer, lest the pure, fragile, innocent souls of children be lost altogether.  For their sakes, surely He will not delay much more the critical moment of His Divine intervention.

In any event, my family, friends and I were so deeply gratified to know there would be a demonstration protesting this terrible sin against Our Lady’s honor –  we just knew we had to go.  How could we not be there to defend our Mother?  How much we owe Her!  How could we fail Her now?  The priests of the Society of Saint Pius X had decided to mobilize as many Catholics as they could from all corners of the tri-state area on very short notice.  A bus would come down from Connecticut, and all those who knew about it were to contact as many as they could to turn out in large numbers for a solemn act of reparation.

The demonstration was scheduled to commence at 8:30 PM on Thursday evening, May 4, outside of Dillon’s Lounge, where the play was scheduled to take place just off Broadway and Times Square in the heart of downtown Manhattan.

Most of us had worked all day, so the prospect of driving into the heart of Manhattan after a long day’s work was not a very warming thought to human nature – however, the fire of love – especially the quickening love of the heart for one’s Mother – was enough to inspire the will to trample underfoot any human consideration so as to be there for…Her.

We arrived shortly before 8:30 PM and there was already a large crowd gathering outside Dillon’s Lounge on 54th Street.  Many carried signs which said “SHAME!” and others unfurled a huge banner about 20 feet long with one word on it in enormous letters:  “Sacrilege!”  This banner was strung up on the police barriers that had been erected facing the street.  All the cars that streamed by saw this one word “Sacrilege” and they immediately knew something serious was about to take place as they saw the gathering crowd.

We knew that a large contingent was about to arrive from Connecticut led by Father Zendejas, so we prepared by praying the Rosary aloud as we waited for their arrival.  A little before 8:30 PM, Father Timothy Pfeiffer arrived dressed in cassock, surplice, stole and berretta.  No human respect here.  As a friend of mine later commented, these priests – fully garbed as they were in priestly attire – could as easily have been found standing in a Cathedral preparing to commence devotions as they were dressed there on the streets of Manhattan.  It was a magnificent testimony of our Catholic Faith to all the passersby who were staring at us with unabashed curiosity.

Shortly after arriving, Father Pfeiffer went to the head of the crowd that was already present and intoned the beautiful traditional Catholic hymn “Come Holy Ghost”.  All the faithful present joined in.  How consoled and assured I was as we sang this hymn.  What wisdom do we have in our puny, dark and deficient minds for such combat with the infernal enemies of God?  How appropriate, just and right it was to begin this demonstration by invoking the saving grace and light of God through the presence of the Holy Ghost. This hymn brought peace and assurance that we would have with us the help of God to guide and protect us during this demonstration in His Mother’s honor.

This hymn concluded, the vigil then “officially” began with the most beautiful priestly exhortation from Father Timothy Pfeiffer, who stood up on one of the police barriers so we could see him, and in order to project his voice out over the crowds so we would all be able to hear him.  He was certainly heard by all who passed by as well, and it was glorious to be there in the center of Manhattan listening to this priestly exhortation as though we were about to begin a spiritual exercise on a retreat.

At this point, people employed by Dillon’s Lounge were all outside observing the growing crowd and listening to what was being said.  Yet Father proceeded completely oblivious to the profane gazes of non-believers and chortling passersby.  It seemed as though he was completely unaware of anyone else but the “flock” in need of some priestly counsel on the matter of the solemn reparation we were about to begin.

Father Pfeiffer reminded us that we were there as “weak miserable, puny sinners” and that without Our Lady we could do nothing.  He also said that while we were there to make reparation for sin, it was also true that – had we been better Catholics – perhaps the sins being committed tonight by this play would never have happened. 

Father went on to say that although – most likely – we would not die that night for our Lord, we might at least have a chance to suffer for Him, to endure ridicule and contempt in silence as He did; that we might have occasion, by being there, to unite our reparation with the sufferings of His Passion, which He endured with such humility, love and silence.

Father said our presence was not a “protest”; rather, it was a public act of worship and prayer and solemn reparation to God and His Most Holy Mother, and that perhaps our prayers, our presence, would touch even just one soul who was in that lounge, and that this soul might receive a grace of conversion.

So Father Pfeiffer prepared us well…not only was this an act of reparation for the sins taking place in theaters such as this one, but it became for us an occasion to make reparation for our own sins.  Our hearts were humbled by this exhortation – and though his priestly words stilled in our souls any bitterness and self-righteous anger, they even more ignited in us a fire of repentance and greater love.

The pedestrians looked on stupefied at this gathering crowd and at this priest standing above the heads of those gathered there to give them an exhortation, fully garbed in priestly attire.  Several stopped to inquire what was happening and some from our group explained the reason for our presence and what we were about to do.

After a short wait longer, Father mounted his “pulpit” again and directed our attention across the street.  Unbeknownst to us, the “contingent” from Connecticut had arrived!  To our astonishment, there they were on the other side of the street in full “formation”.  At their head was a huge, magnificent, nearly life-size Crucifix held up high on a beautiful carrier which was draped in a rich fabric and borne aloft by four men.  Behind them a train of 6 acolytes, two of whom were carrying the American and Papal Flags, as well as four candle bearers, followed by another carrier holding a beautiful statue of Our Lady, as though preceded by Her Honor Guard.

So this was our “army”!  Those of us who had been waiting thrilled at the sight of this marvel and immediately crossed over to join ranks with them, rallying with new courage behind the standard of the Cross and the statue of Mary, Mother and Queen!  At a signal given by one of the priests, the procession began!  And there – in the heart and throng of the night life of Manhattan, this Catholic “battalion” launched its witness of prayer and reparation.

As this large procession made its way through the city crowds and past outdoor cafes and open doorways of stores and apartments, praying the Rosary aloud in chorus under the lead of priests using megaphones emblazoned with the words “Ave Maria”, mouths dropped open and astonished gazes turned our way on all sides. 

Some just stood there as though riveted in disbelief.  The expressions on many faces attested to the totally unprecedented nature of a Catholic procession in full “regalia” making its way through the streets of Manhattan under the night sky headed by the crucified Christ and His Holy Mother.  We ended each decade in Latin, singing “Gloria Patri et Filii et Spiritui Sancti” and then several verses from the Fatima and Lourdes hymns:  “Ave, Ave, Ave Maria; Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!”

Our Catholic battalion circled the block beginning directly across from Dillon’s Lounge, turning the corner onto Broadway near Times Square, then turning into Schubert’s Alley, then processing up 8th Avenue again until we turned once more onto 54th Street to pass, yet another time, the open doors of Dillon’s Lounge. 

This procession of prayer in repeated crescendos continued around the block for a whole hour; through the city crowds, past theaters emblazoned with profane themes and into the glare of Broadway, led by the enormous figure of Christ Crucified on the Cross of ignominy that would precede His glorious triumph. 

In some ways, it seemed that Christ was once again on Calvary, and the crowds were still there at His feet, wagging their heads, mocking, laughing and gambling as He suffered; oblivious to His salvific agony.  His silence and humiliation during His Passion seemed present once more – His silent immolation being renewed, as it were, in the midst of a world altogether unmindful of the price He paid for our redemption.  What a glorious thing it seemed to be as we processed – following Christ Crucified, covered as He was with shame; and feeling somewhat as though we were covered – at least for a moment – with His same ignominy, the object of derision as some turned gazes of obvious ridicule in our direction. 

Yet even among those gazes of ridicule, one could see in some a respect they could not help but feel – try as they might to bury it, and loathe as they were to admit it.  For even the greatest sinners cannot kill altogether the law of God engraved on the human heart; and some of the greatest sinners experience – at times – the greatest nostalgia for a goodness they no longer seem to find within themselves, secretly yearning for the effects of grace which they perceive in those who strive to serve God. 

There were some consoling surprises, as well.  At one point in our procession, we were approaching two men standing at the side, watching.  As I caught a glimpse of them, I thought of the Black Panthers; earrings and all.  But as I looked more closely, I saw a member of our procession standing and speaking with them.  He had given each of them a candle and was lighting the candles for them.  By then I was within earshot, and I heard him explaining: “They are putting on a play that blasphemes the Mother of God……”  It suddenly became clear that they were favorably impressed by what they saw, began to ask questions and wanted to join us, taking in hand their candles with all the simplicity of a child. 

One particularly amusing occurrence happened as we passed a corner pharmacy that was on our course around the block.  Each time we passed, the automatic doors would spring open.  The pharmacy was filled with people busily engaged in conversation and commerce.  As we passed by and the doors sprang open, the loud cadence and refrain of our Rosary burst into the pharmacy through the open doors.  Expressions of the customers changed into stupefaction as they heard our Hail Mary’s tumble full force into the pharmacy.  It was written all over their faces, now turned in our direction, some of them stopping mid-sentence:  “What in the world is going on….?” 

Another time on one of our turns around the back of an Opera House whose stage door opens onto Schubert’s Alley, one of the opera singers in full costume was at the back door for a bit of fresh air. With utter astonishment she looked on: ”Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee…..”  Oh how beautiful it was!  Never have I witnessed something that better illustrated the stark contrast between the poor and crucified Christ and the mighty and worldly-minded of this world – Christ in all the ignominy of His Passion borne aloft in the glare of the lights and theaters of Broadway.  And there, close at hand, as though at the foot of the Cross on Calvary, was Mary, His Mother.

People stared from their tables in the crowded sidewalk cafes, cocktails at hand, as we passed directly beside them praying in unison: “Holy Mary, Mother of God…..”; they spilled out of stores to see what was happening; stage hands and technicians popped their heads out as we passed stage access doorways; many were looking down from windows far above the street in the surrounding buildings; all were amazed and puzzled at this spectacle of prayer taking place right in the middle of their Manhattan night life: a procession led by five priests in cassocks, stoles and surplices, in the midst of the Broadway theater district, circling an entire city block praying 15 decades of the Rosary in chorus. 

During the whole time, the New York City Police treated us with complete respect and courtesy, ceding more and more space to our demonstration as the crowd swelled far beyond the numbers originally anticipated.  The police provided full access for the procession and gave the priests full liberty to guide the proceedings, allowing them to process through the crowds and along the sidewalks and around the block. 

Finally, we ended our first hour by taking up our “strategic” position directly across from the front doors of Dillon’s Lounge on 54th Street, in order to finish with prayers and hymns in Latin and English.  The doors of the lounge were opened wide, facing out onto the street, so that anyone inside the lounge could easily see what was happening. 

There we stood with Christ Crucified and the Blessed Mother, face to face with that den of iniquity. Five priests began chanting the Litany of Saints in Latin: “Kyrie, Eleison. Christe, Eleison. Kyrie, Eleison…..Sancte Maria, Ora pro nobis!.....Sancte Michael, ora pro nobis!.....Ab omni pecato, Libera nos Domine……”

How consoled our hearts were to sing with our priests the Salve Regina and O Sanctissima: “Et macula non est in te”…”and there is no stain in Thee”.  Here, before this very place in which Her most Immaculate Virginity was being impugned, we sang those words with all our hearts.

Consoled and proud were we also to sing with full voices under that night sky, with the lights and the glitz of Broadway right nearby, “Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat” and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.”  As we sang out those words in the midst of a city that seems to personify the nigh apocalyptic battle between good and evil, between light and darkness, all of us, I am sure, were filled with desire and great longing to see God reigning supreme once again through His Holy Catholic Church.

But nothing, nothing of that whole evening gratified us so much as when the priests led us in the cry “Viva Christo Rey!” and we volleyed back with an explosive cry: “VIVA!” over and over and over again.

The cry echoed powerfully off the high brick walls in that city canyon with buildings on all sides, resounding like a battle cry filled with love....for there wasn’t a trace of bitterness or anger in the entire crowd.  It was sweet to taste such words in our mouths being proclaimed before the whole city, to declare the Sovereign Kingship of Christ before the “mighty” of this world with all the fervor of our hearts.

One elderly man of 82 who had accompanied us said it was one of the best things that has happened in the last ten years of history, and that he shall remember it for as long as he lives.    He said the best moment of all – the moment that will be burned into his memory until his last days – is when we cried out repeatedly: “Viva Cristo Rey!  VIVA!”, so consoled was he to witness this public proclamation of the Social Kingship of Christ.

At length, having completed our prayers and hymns, Father Zendejas and the other priests indicated they would now give us their priestly blessing.  And so, there on the streets of Manhattan, hundreds knelt on the concrete pavement beneath the strange hues cast by the neon lights on all sides, to receive God’s Benediction.

With heads bowed and in hushed silence, we heard those sweet words which wondrously had inaugurated the life of grace in us at our Baptism, have mercifully followed us ever after to bless and absolve us, and – please God – will one day grace our deaths, sealing our souls eternally with the sign of Christ’s Holy and Redeeming Cross: “In nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritu Sancti…” 

In the midst of that concrete and neon maze, those Divine words seemed to impart all stillness, calm and peace.  Amid the mayhem of the chaotic, cosmopolitan fury, swirling all about us, this Divine Benediction nevertheless transcended all with full dominion, breathing life and grace and salvation.

And thus concluded our vigil.  As we rose to our feet again, every possibility of fatigue, even at that late hour, had fled.  The blood was coursing through our veins with fresh vigor and zeal.  Every one of us was exhilarated by this splendid display of Catholic resistance.  Oh! how glorious the night seemed for having been filled with the prayers, the hymns and the unabashed profession of our beautiful Catholic Faith, and with the joy of having come forward to defend Our Lady’s Virginal honor.

How many souls on the streets of Manhattan that night were hearkened to higher realities, to the consideration of their sins and to eternal exigencies.  How many will have that Catholic spectacle of prayer and reparation burned upon their memories for months and even years to come.  We can feel certain that God, Who uses every opportunity to touch hearts, will use this public act of Faith to speak to them in their inmost, secret thoughts. 

And we can hope, that through the intercession of Mary, the chastisement that would surely be meted out for this profanation of Her honor, will be changed instead, into an occasion of grace and conversion for all who witnessed our battalion of prayer coursing through the city streets of Manhattan that night.

 “Where sin abounds, there will grace even more abound.”  “God does not will the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live.”  And so, in all our littleness, we were privileged to participate in this urgently needed act of public reparation for the terrible sins of blasphemy which are heaping higher and higher each day.  May it win, not only for others, but for ourselves, a deeper conversion of life and correspondence with the grace and the Will of God, Who “is already so offended”, as Our Lady warned us at Fatima. 

As Catholics, militancy is ours by vocation and by the grace of Confirmation.  May we never fail to rise valiantly to the occasion when it is a question of defending the honor and glory of God and of His Most Holy Mother.  Indeed, we live in a time when it appears we may soon have more and more occasions for such reparation, and for the mounting of a true Catholic Resistance.

May Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, strengthen us in that witness and in heroic fidelity, come what may, until the end.  “Viva Cristo Rey! VIVA!”