A Franciscan Friar of the Renewal maintains a calm presence amid angry demonstrators protesting at the abortion clinic. Jeff Bruno photo
A Franciscan Friar of the Renewal maintains a calm presence amid angry demonstrators protesting at the abortion clinic. Jeff Bruno photo
Monitor freelance photographer Jeff Bruno recently posted these images he captured at St. Paul Church, Brooklyn, July 12, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Facebook where they were quickly shared by almost 400 users.The following is his personal narrative behind those images.

At 8:06 a.m. what began as a peaceful Saturday morning ended abruptly as a crowd assembled before the doors of St. Paul’s Church in Brooklyn, chanting “This church harasses women! This church harasses women!”

PHOTO GALLERY: 2021 Witness for Life in Brooklyn

As the church bell rang and the faithful rose from the pews of the oldest continuously operating church in the Diocese of Brooklyn, those gathered inside the church began to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and to offer prayers for all of those affected by abortion.

A cacophonous symphony of opposing notes and points of view echoed against the frescoed walls as songs of praise were pitted against the angry chanting beyond the church doors.

As Mass concluded, the faithful stepped from the peace of the church and entered the gauntlet.

Rage-filled screams, taunts and attempts to prevent them from peacefully praying as they walked to a nearby abortion clinic ensued.

It took an hour to walk six blocks.

Undeterred, a priest from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn led the group down Court Street in a procession that resembled the walk to Calvary, complete with falls, spitting and hate. They prayed and they brought the invitation of Christ’s divine mercy and love.

They say that to be truly heroic there needs to be a challenge to rise above. To be truly heroic means to place the well-being of others above that of your own. And to be heroically faithful means to steadfastly witness to Christ in the face of resistance and attack.

And today, on the dirty streets of Brooklyn, two priests and a group of faithful brought it.

What heroic faith looks like was clear for the world to see.