Where did we go wrong? - Losing Unity
The Man to See at Ground Zero
In the Battle between Satan and the Blessed Mother at Notre Dame
This story begins almost three years ago with a phone call, innuendoes and half - truths. Although I had been involved in the pro-life movement for ten years I did not know Randall Terry. He had moved to the Washington area and was resurfacing in the pro-life movement. Over the course of a year or more, I heard about his various activities, and when asked to participate I was hesitant to get involved. As time went on I even repeated things I had heard which turned out not to be true. Finally, a dear friend said to me, "Missy, you are married to a lawyer and you know there are always two sides to every story." I was a bit embarrassed, knowing she was right, and I had been called out. Somehow that removed the mental block, and after a few starts and stops, Randall asked me to come to his home, meet his wife and family and talk. He candidly admitted his stock was low and asked for my support. I said I would do what I could.
This meeting took place before the January 20, 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. At that time Randall asked me if I would participate in the “First 100 Days Rosary Project”, saying the rosary at 12:30 PM every day in front of the White House, beginning on Inauguration Day and continuing through April 29, 2009. I told him I would, but thought to myself that I had made a big commitment in agreeing to set aside all my projects, go downtown in the traffic, find a parking place and say the rosary every single day and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
January 20, 2009 came, and I found myself at 16th and H streets, giving an interview on Sirius Radio amidst an ocean of excited people screaming, "Yes We Can!" Randall, Joseph Landry, Tui Marie Bombeck, Diana Roccograndi and I went through security and were placed in a "Protest Cage" that had been set up and fenced off at one corner of Lafayette Park directly across the street from St. John's Church, known as the “church of presidents.” As it turned out, we were the only ones in the so called "Protest Cage." We wandered around until we found ourselves in a corner with a bird’s eye view of the church entrance. Reporters from every possible media outlet and a strong police presence were there waiting for the president and his wife to emerge.
Before I knew it, there were Michelle and Barack Obama two hundred feet from us. They looked directly into our eyes and we shouted in unison, "OBAMA, ABORTION IS MURDER!" over and over again. Both of them were startled. It was a moment in time, and they immediately looked down in embarrassment, jumped into their limo and drove off. What a wonderful feeling to have the chance, by God's grace, to give witness to His truth!
It was cold that day and for many days after. I had dreaded my commitment to these 100 days but somehow I felt the Holy Spirit gently urging me to follow through, and everyday I miraculously found a legal parking place near the park. I learned to dress warmly and expect rain and wind. But each day as we gathered, I heard the beautiful meditations from the heart of a true “Warrior for Life.” I witnessed his humility as he asked God for the guidance to fulfill His wishes -- not ours but His. This man, a new Catholic, had such impressive and profound knowledge of the Bible and of our faith and spoke it with such conviction.
Somehow, I could only think of how this was true transparency. Spending time praying with someone day in and day out gives one a true understanding of that person’s heart. As he spoke the meditations before each decade of the rosary, I was ashamed of my own rush to judgment that I had made. At most, six people joined us, and many times just one or two, but every day for 100 days someone was there, as promised, to pray for the new administration, since we all knew the first 100 days of any administration is so important. We met at the General Jackson statue and sometimes walked across Pennsylvania Avenue and standing beside the fence surrounding the White House. We gained an immense sense of peace during and after our recital of the rosary as Mary led us through the life of Jesus. My dread soon turned to joy and anticipation.
During a side trip to Rome, a delegation of nine led by Randall Terry, met with nine Vatican officials. Their visit proved incredibly successful, especially an interview with Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of the Papal Court, who allowed an interview to be videotaped to be used by Randall on his radio show, television show and as a means of encouragement to the increasingly dwindling pro-life movement in America. All focus was on Canon 915 which states Holy Communion must never be given to any public person in a state of grave sin, such as, our Catholic pro-abortion politicians. Archbishop Burke was gracious but firm, stating Canon 915 was not open to interpretation by individual Bishops but stated unequivocally that, in such cases, the Eucharistic Minister must deny Holy Communion. This was clarification of a big controversy going on, with the bishops of the USCCB coming down on different sides of the issue. The head of the Papal Court had spoken for the record, and the message was clear: Holy Communion could not be given to pro-abortion Catholics such as Pelosi, Kennedy, Dowd, Biden, Kerry and Sibelius. This was explosive. On his return Randall called a press conference at the National Press Club and showed the interview with Burke and answered questions from the press. Not many were supportive, and reporting errors appeared in some publications. But the news was out there for the world to see. The angels in heaven were happy, and the pro-lifers on earth were ecstatic. How often were they saddened and demoralized as Catholic legislators came to receive the "greatest gift," as Archbishop Burke called it, Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, while they supported and legalized the slaughter of children. Our bishops did nothing to stop them. What a scandal!
The devil was busy on each corner, trying to discredit our leader, the one with the courage and the wisdom to go after the shepherds who had abandoned their sheep. No matter, Randall would carry on despite the lies, fighting the good fight for the babies and our Catholic faith.
In the midst of the excitement about the Burke interview, we received word that Notre Dame, Our Lady's most prestigious Catholic university, had invited President Obama to speak at the commencement exercises and to receive an honorary degree. The faithful Catholic world was horrified.
Randall Terry had found the battlefront he was looking for. The pro-life movement was dying and had suffered crushing blows at the hands of the new president. Something had to jump-start it. This most recent affront presented a focal point to re-energize prolife Catholics and to mobilize them to fight for their faith and against the “culture of death” and its standard bearer, President Obama. This treachery could be the very thing that could bring national attention to the evil that was at every corner surrounding us. President Obama lifted the Mexico City Policy barely forty-eight hours after his inauguration, giving our tax dollars to countries around the world and to the organization funding China’s barbaric one-child policy resulting in forced child killing. Former President Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research were lifted. Cabinet members were being appointed each and every one with a heavy child killing agenda. Some with strong ties to the abortion industry, and some claiming to be Catholic. Parts of FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) were being implemented daily.
Randall Terry, his wife Andrea and their four little boys left for South Bend, Indiana in their RV to assess the situation. He asked me to continue the daily rosary at Lafayette Park in front of the White House while he was gone. With the steady help of Dick Retta and others, we continued our daily vigilance.
Before long, Randall had been given commercial space for his office at Notre Dame to process mailings and continue his weekly radio show. Soon he rented a house two blocks from the entrance to Notre Dame which would house many and serve as a central meeting place. He was on the ground in South Bend, and the StopObamaNotreDame.com project had a life of its own. The “general” was making things happen, behind the scenes, as only he could. He continued his daily radio show and he and his beautiful, faithful wife would make the eleven-hour trip to and from South Bend numerous times to make sure things were progressing. His energy was astounding, and, yet, every day he was in Washington, he was in front of the White House, saying the rosary over and over again, begging God's help and direction. I was humbled by what I witnessed.
My loyalty and respect for the “general” was deepening everyday. But we worried. We still didn't have the traction we needed and we were only seventeen days out from the graduation speech. The next day Randall's assistant, Tui, went on campus with a stroller carrying a baby doll covered with stage blood. She wheeled it around campus and through the cafeteria as students gasped and said, "Did you see that?" She made it to Father Jenkins' office before the campus police caught up with her and gave her a warning. This was it! The following day Randall and Bill Kee went on campus with strollers and baby dolls covered with stage blood. They were arrested and put in jail. As Randall prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, he begged God to intervene and help jump start this project. That night I heard Greta Van Susteren headline Randall's arrest over and over again. After his release from jail on bond, I called Randall and told him he was on Fox TV. We stayed on the phone and I gave him a blow-by-blow. Greta kept it up for a long time, saying "Someone we know has been arrested!" while showing a clip of a policeman carrying the confiscated baby stroller with one hand and holding Randall with the other.
It wasn't long after Randall and Bill were released on bond, that an idea was born. Soon the many, many rosaries would be answered. Something so big, only God could have ordained it to happen.
Ambassador Alan Keyes heard about Randall’s arrest. He wrote a letter stating he "feels bound in conscience to make a commitment and call to all who labor in defense of the God-given and unalienable right to life. [In]The arrest of pro-life servant Randall Terry, Father Jenkins and the University Administration at Notre Dame take their adulation of evil to a new level of spiritual atrocity. Instead of cringing inwardly at Randall Terry's bold willingness to be arrested for bearing witness to God's truth, those who understand the gift of Christ's words and example must be moved to imitate his boldness.
“Tragically, ironically, a supposedly Catholic university and its administration have stepped forward to be the Bull Connor of this era's most clear and pressing battle for God-given human rights. They have declared it an offense peacefully to demonstrate the evil of abortion. They have declared it an offense, prayerfully to bear witness to the truth on a campus supposedly guided by and subordinate to that truth. Though it is an offense to them, it is a duty to truth, and to Christ and to God. Whenever there are faithful hearts drawn to do this duty, they must feel now the vocation to join Randall Terry in defiance of this intimidation. I have prayed and labored for the unborn to join us. I know you are there. I have broken bread with you at dinners for crisis pregnancy centers and right-to- life groups. I have marched with you to proclaim the sanctity of innocent life, and decry the laws that sanction its destruction”.
“I will go to South Bend. I will step foot on the Notre Dame campus to lift up the standard that protects the life of the innocent children of this and every generation. I will do it all day and every day until, if it be God's will, shame and the Love of Christ overcome the university administration's vain craving for iniquitous "honor." I will do it though it means I shall be housed every day in the prison house of lies and injustice that Obama, Jenkins and their minions now mean to construct for those who will never be still and silent in the face of their mockery of God and justice, their celebration of evil."
These words were embedded in an e-mail from Randall and immediately jumped into my heart. I called Randall, and he said to come right away. I spoke with my husband, and he gave permission but asked that I not get arrested! I then had to explain getting arrested was the purpose. He nodded his approval and understanding. Before the end of the day I was in Chicago and heading toward South Bend. That was May 6th. May 7th was filled with a press conference in Fort Wayne in front of the cathedral where we had hoped to have an appointment with Bishop D'Arcy. It didn't take place, but the press conference did. Then we traveled to Rome City to the Shrine where Our Lady of America appeared to Sister Mildred, then back to South Bend for another press conference in front of Notre Dame where Dr. Keyes was warned he would be arrested if he stepped on campus.
The next day we processed with 22 strollers with baby dolls covered with stage blood from the Frances Street house. There were many participants. Twenty-two of us were determined to be arrested. As we headed onto the campus we could see The Notre Dame police waiting for us. We held our heads high and continued with the rosary.
It wasn't long before Dr. Keyes was in handcuffs, along with me and eighteen other protestors. We were taken to St. Joseph's County Jail, booked and placed in holding cells. The news got out that Dr. Keyes had been arrested, and someone called in and paid his bond. Ten hours later we were all released on bond. The story hit the papers, and pictures were everywhere on the Internet.
The following week the drill was the same except this time we had beautiful banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the precious "Jesus Christ Crucified in the Womb" on the bottom of the banner. This time twenty-one of us were arrested. Some of us, having been arrested a second time, including myself and Dr. Allen Keyes, were eventually put into solitary confinement with the admonition we would not be released until Monday when we would go before the judge.
All the while Randall was working feverishly to get this in front of the American people. There was amazing coverage twenty-four hours a day on Fox TV of the arrests of all of us, and now a newcomer to the scene was the 80-year-old priest, Father Norman Weslin, who had been arrested 90 times for standing up for the babies. The TV cameras zeroed in on Father Weslin as the police hand cuffed him and carried him away. He was heard around the world saying, "You are arresting a Catholic priest for standing up for the babies.” Wow! Every heart in America was touched when they saw this over and over again.
STOPOBAMANOTREDAME dominated the news from Friday, May 15, at 11:45 through May 18. This was accomplished with a handful of committed, dedicated pro-lifers all giving of their time and effort, led by one man, who was on the ground for seven weeks, praying, planning and setting this battle into motion, our leader, Randall Terry.
Approximately 4,200 faithful Catholics protested and made reparation to Our Lady for the scandal at the University of Notre Dame. Members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and students of the Saint Louis de Montfort Academy joined thousands of protesters outside the gates of the university Sunday morning. The Center for Bioethical Reform was at South Bend, for days, showing their graphics in the air and on the ground. Joe Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League came on Sunday and brought 400 pro-lifers holding graphic photographs. The pro-life “saint”, Joan Andrews Bell, who had previously been sentenced to 5 years in jail in defense of the unborn, came to speak and get arrested. Our dear friend Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, who never did have an abortion, came and made the news coast to coast with her arrest. Father Pavone from Priests For Life came and gave a beautiful alternative graduation ceremony for those students that decided not to participate in the “Obama graduation.”
So many wonderful people gave of their time and effort to be there. As with many, we spent eleven hours on the road, sleeping in sleeping bags and then back on the road for another eleven hours. From the Washington area, Jack Ames of Defend Life, Albert Stecklein our “Sign Man” who travels with the graphic signs in his truck, Joan McKee, Jordan Mooney, Grace Sims, Dick Retta and Jim Fritz, the Editor of “The Defender” newsletter and one of the founders of The Defenders of the Faith, Inc.
Little did anyone know that “the man behind the curtain” was Randall except for: his assistant Tui Marie Bombeck, who did not sleep more than a few hours a night those last weeks; Joseph Landry, who was constantly updating the websites, creating more graphics; Jeanne and Bill Kee, and Sue Cyr who were organizing those of us who were determined to be arrested, and, of course, his wife Andrea, who was totally aware of the time and effort he was setting forth as she was keeping up with the four most precious little boys. One can only imagine!
Ambassador Alan Keyes, Norma McCorvey, Father Norman Weslin, Joan Andrews Bell and all of us would not have been there and we would not have dominated the news for over four days had it not been for our “David” against this “Goliath;” and, the whole world would have believed erroneously that this treachery by Notre Dame was all right with the Catholic world.
Although, criticized, maligned and lied about, Randall Terry is the 'Man to See' in this most decisive battle for man's soul, and certainly he was “The Man To See at Ground Zero” in the battle between Satan and the Blessed Mother at Notre Dame University, Spring 2009! God bless Randall Terry!
Missy Smith is founder and president of WAKEUP, Women against the Killing and Exploitation of Unprotected Persons, and lives in Washington D.C.
Where Did We Go Wrong?
By Juan Rodriguez
Unity is hard to come by these days. When I came back to the Church, I recall having a hunger to be with people like me – people who really wanted to give themselves to Jesus and to find others who wanted to do the same. We had respect for each other’s goals and vocations; sometimes we found that sticking together creates mission. Do you think that is still true today? At some point it seems we lost ourselves. Where did the words of Jesus go? Flowing through St. Paul, telling us we are the Body of Christ, one in being with him. Where and when did we lose our passion for one another?
We have to admit the world seems to be changing for the worse, and we aren’t getting any younger. Where do we fit in as Catholic youth and young adults?
St. Paul reminds us, that “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’” (1st Corinthians 12:18-21). Friends in Christ, I need you just as much as you need me. We cannot deny our purpose together; it would be saying our Baptism in the Trinity was all in vain, AND IT’S NOT! The Most Holy Trinity has united us to build the Kingdom of God – the Civilization of Love. I refuse to think I have no purpose in your life or your ministry. At the same time, I refuse to let any of my friends think they have no place in my ministry. We are friends, first of Christ, and second of one another. The only way New York will see that Christ is real and alive is if we show them we love each other and are willing to work together.
St. Paul continues in his letter to the people of Corinth, “Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.” (1st Corinthians 12:22-24) Corinth is no different than New York, than any other city, state or country - it is no different than your parish, suffering and struggling to bring many to Christ. And it’s no different than our ministries which struggle to keep the message alive and real so members can commit to Christ. Where there is weakness in our body, the Church, we need to act quickly to strengthen that member, give that member an infusion of love, a chance to see renewal, blessings, hope and future.
St. Paul ends by saying, “God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1st Corinthians 12:24-26). Can we do this? Can we be this Body again? I think all of us have this urge; the Spirit is moving us to find our purpose again. Our Church in America is suffering. We’re feeling her pain, because it’s our own. If we are Christ’s body, we join in His suffering; when we harm ourselves by hurting one another we hurt Christ.
This message goes out to the members of every group, ministry, apostolate and organization that has committed themselves to Christ and His people – Can we work as one?
We don’t have to lose our identity, our characteristics, our charisma, even our e-mail list, but we can become a powerful force strengthening the Church we love in America so others may do the same. We start small, we make sure our bases are covered, our friends are helped and our people are cared for, we pour all we have into this Church that needs fixing, and we recommit ourselves to Christ. If it means correcting one another to stay committed to Christ and to one another, then be humbled by the correction. The Devil wants us to hurt one another, and we can’t give that vile deceiver the joy of our destruction. Accept all correction as from family because in the end, when we do not listen, the ones who suffer are our youth and young adults in America.
We should all recommit ourselves to service of our people. We should ask for forgiveness for ever hurting our brothers and sisters who have also been called to serve Christ and His Church. We want to be a part of building this Civilization of Love!
Unity is hard to come by these days – and if it seems all has failed, know that we have God on our side. Quitting is not an option, “Not while we still have strength left.” (Aragorn, Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring)
Praise to the Most Holy Trinity – May God reign in our hearts forever.
Juan Rodriguez "Arthanius" Defenders of the Holy Trinity
St. Mary's Church
28 Attorney St, NYC 10002
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