“Rosary arrest” trial will be Sept 23

posted by Mike on June 3rd, 2008

Update: here’s the verdict.

On Tuesday, June 17th at 9 a.m., September 23, 2008 at 9am, at the Donahue Federal Building in Worcester, there will be a trial for 5 Roman Catholics who were arrested March 19 after entering the federal building, kneeling to one side of the entrance, and praying for an immediate end to the Iraq War, and for forgiveness for the sin of the war.

All are encouraged to attend the trial. You need 2 pieces of ID to enter the building; please avoid bringing a cell phone if you can, as the security guards will take them (and store them for you) and if many people are there this could take a long time.

Photos of the Lenten vigil and arrest.

At least five U.S. marshals and several Worcester police officers were called to the scene, but none of them interrupted the anti-war activists, allowing them to pray a litany, an entire rosary, a hymn to the Virgin Mary in Latin, and the same prayer in English, as people entered and exited the federal building and supporters joined the prayers outside.

After finishing their prayers, the five were arrested and were charged with the “petty offenses” of refusing a lawful order of a U.S. marshal and with obstructing the entrance to a U.S. courthouse. If convicted on both charges, they fact a maximum of $15,000 in fines.

They have all plead “not guilty” and will represent themselves.

Fasting at the Federal Building

Praying the rosary in the Worcester federal building, Holy Week 2008


They will begin the trial day with 7:15am mass at St. Paul’s cathedral. They hope supporters will join them for mass, vigil outside the courthouse, or come inside to watch part of the trial.

Raw footage of the events.

The defendants

mike2Mike Benedetti, 35, is a web designer and graduate of the California Institute of Technology. He was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, and is an Eagle Scout. He lives in Worcester.

Ken Hannaford-Ricardi Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, 61, is a member of the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has five children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Religion from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. As an active member of the human rights organization Voices in the Wilderness since 1998, Mr. Hannaford-Ricardi traveled three times to Iraq. He lives in Worcester.

Sandra McSweeney, 61, is an acupuncturist at the New England School of Acupuncture. She lives in Mendon.

Scott Schaeffer-DuffyScott Schaeffer-Duffy, 48, is a founding member of the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is married to the award-winning journalist Claire Schaeffer-Duffy. They have four children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has participated in peace campaigns in Nicaragua, Bosnia, India, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Darfur, and Iraq.

Roger Stanley is a husband, grandfather, and veteran.

The March 19th prayer/protest of the Worcester 5 was the culmination of a national Lenten Campaign to End the Iraq War. Inspired by Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian Catholic who was executed in 1943 for refusing to serve in the German military, Roman Catholics around the United States, fasted, prayed, and vigiled for an end to the Iraq War. For the 43 days, they attended midday Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Chatham in Worcester where they vigiled afterwards before doing so at the Donohue Federal Building on Main Street. They carried a banner with a depiction of Jagerstatter and a quote from Pope John Paul II who called the Iraq War, “Unjust, Immoral, and Illegal.”

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9 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On June 4, 2008 at 10:04 Tracy said:

    Oooh, an Eagle Scout, Mike!
    Do they take that away if you have an arrest record?

  2. On June 4, 2008 at 10:11 Mike said:

    I’ve never heard of them taking anyone’s Eagle away; Wikipedia has no mention of such a thing.

    (NB: The Eagle is the only rank that the Boy Scouts recognize after you’ve become an adult.)

  3. On June 4, 2008 at 16:18 Tracy said:

    I know. Either you’re an Eagle…or you’re not.

    It definitely sounds good in court, though. Can you also say that you were an altar boy?

  4. On June 4, 2008 at 20:23 Christine said:

    Petty comment- the video says April 19th- that’s the anniversary of a different national disaster. That’s all!

  5. On June 13, 2008 at 11:52 Mike said:

    Christine–good catch! I can’t believe I got the month wrong when editing it. I’ll try and post a corrected version sometime.

  6. On June 16, 2008 at 10:58 Mike said:

    I removed the old video and put a corrected version here:

    YouTube won’t let you just replace the old one, alas.

  7. On September 22, 2008 at 12:56 Glory said:

    Congrats. Hey,I went to the Smoky Mountains (Newfound Gap) a few months ago, and there right by the garbage cans they had a sign designating a first amendment right excercising area. So apparently you can only protest there in the park now. It doesn’t surprise me when I have no right to protest, say, in Washington DC but the national parks were something I believed in still so it was kind of sickening. Anyway, hope they don’t charge you maximum penalty.

  8. On September 22, 2008 at 13:57 Mike said:

    I wonder what kinds of protests they have in Newfound Gap? If I ever do the AT again I’ll have to bring a sign with me in the Smokies :)

  9. On September 23, 2008 at 01:44 Edna said:

    Good luck with the trial! May it go well for you, and may the court be moved by your faith.

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