5 arrested for praying the rosary in Worcester

posted by Mike on March 19th, 2008

This morning at the federal courthouse in Worcester, after attending mass and with about a dozen supporters outside, Mike Benedetti, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, Sandra McSweeney, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, and Roger Stanley entered the pre-lobby, knelt, prayed for an end to the war in Iraq, and said a rosary. People came and went from the courthouse, though additional participants weren’t allowed to enter.

Officers allowed them to complete the prayers, then arrested them.

Praying the rosary in the Worcester federal building

They were charged in federal court with the “petty offenses” of not obeying a federal officer and blocking an entrance. They all plead “not guilty” and said they would represent themselves.

The 2 charges each carry a possible $5,000 fine. A 30-day jail sentence is also possible for each charge, but both the US attorneys and the judge said there was no risk of that.

The defendants will be representing themselves in court. Trial is set for June.

Photo: Worcester Indymedia. Pictured: Tom Lewis and law officers outside the entrance.

The prayers and arrest come as the culmination of a 43-day Lenten prayer, fast, and vigil carried out in conjunction with people in 11 other US cities, including Des Moines, Iowa, Buffalo and Rochester, New York. This campaign was inspired by the example of Franz Jagerstatter, the recently beatified Austrian Catholic who was executed for refusing to participate in an unjust war.

Other reports

Indymedia article

Kevin Ksen video:

Another Indymedia video:

NECN video (which says this was a “sit-in”, though nobody was sitting anywhere)

Photos of the 43-day Lenten prayer, fast, and vigil

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8 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On March 20, 2008 at 10:53 Mike said:

    Wormtown Taxi comments

  2. On March 20, 2008 at 11:40 Cha-Cha Connor said:

    An admirable event. Nice goin’.

    Hope all goes well in June… keep us updated!

  3. On March 20, 2008 at 11:44 Mike said:

    Nice words from atheists at Volcanoboy and Roaster Boy.

  4. On March 20, 2008 at 14:32 dw said:

    Great job, Mike!

  5. On March 20, 2008 at 16:53 Ron Zamora said:

    We must do whatever it takes to stop this illegal, immoral war, perpetrated by the so called “leader of the free world” & all his criminal cronies !! We stopped Vietnam & we can stop this atrocity !!

  6. On March 21, 2008 at 10:00 Pie and Coffee » 508 #27: Lockup said:

    […] Pie and Coffee Worcester, 508 508 #27: Lockup « 5 arrested for praying the rosary in Worcester […]

  7. On March 22, 2008 at 00:33 vincent eirene said:

    greetings from the Pittsburgh CW

    are you sure these folk were arrested, i heard they had retired

    vincent scotti eirene

  8. On March 25, 2008 at 10:09 Rudi Cilibrasi said:

    Thank you for this valiant action.

    If I were in your position now, I would get to the airport about 4 hours early next time. And I would meditate on the reality that it is now perfectly legal for the President of the United States of America to take all of your material possessions because of your ethical opinion peacefully expressed.

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