Don't engage protesters, D.C. advisory says
A tweet by Twitter user Matt Gorman shows that St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., is preparing for protesters to disrupt Masses this weekend.
“All are welcome to join us for Mass at St. Peter’s,” a photo of an alleged announcement from St. Peter’s says. “Even though the disruption of the Holy Mass is a grave offense to every person of faith, we will strive to continue worship of God and exercise fraternal charity in any case.”
The statement instructs parishioners that if Mass is interrupted, to pray in a “prayerful posture,” to stay in the church and follow the pastor’s directions, and to not engage protesters.
Reporter Mary Margaret Olohan of The Daily Wire reported that another church in Washington, D.C. — St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill — also alerted parishioners.
St. Joseph’s pastor, Father William Gurnee, wrote in a letter that he received information from the Archdiocese of Washington’s police chaplain.
“They believe the protesters at the Supreme Court might seek to disrupt Mass this weekend. We have asked for the police to intervene,” he wrote. “I pray that you will not change your plans to attend Mass because this weekend we will celebrate the confirmation of three young men and Mother’s Day.”
The largest Roman Catholic Church in North America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., expressed no concern to CNA in a statement.
“The Basilica exists to provide a respectful, distraction-free place of prayer, pilgrimage and worship,” a screenshot of the statement read. “The Basilica and its grounds are Private Property and, according to its longstanding policy, no activity shall take place upon the Basilica’s property other than those sponsored by the Basilica.”
In January, activists projected pro-choice images on the exterior of the basilica.
New York City police on alert
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The New York Police Department will be sending extra patrols at Catholic churches in the city between midnight on Friday and midnight on Sunday, the New York Post reported. The Post reported that the information came from an internal police memo, which told officers that violent protests and chaos could ensue.
The Post reported that the memo says, “Special attention must be paid in the vicinity of the Catholic church especially during Sunday morning Mass.”
A New York Archdiocese spokesman told The Post that the archdiocese is planning to increase security over the weekend and “will work with law enforcement and take appropriate steps as needed.”
“We are aware of the call for some kind of protest, and without going into specifics, will work with law enforcement and take appropriate steps as needed,” he said.
Elsewhere, a woman named Samantha Mednik in Palm Coast Florida, said in a Facebook post that she is organizing a “women's rights protest” in front of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Augustine on Mother’s Day. Mednik said that the church is “known for their anti-abortion signs aimed towards women (and others with a uterus).”
Mednik continued, “Our voices will be heard - bring posters, signs, limited supply of water might be provided, wear comfortable clothing and most importantly, bring your VOICE! Share this event to your story and repost to spread the word.”