Rome Photos: Day 4 (1 of 2)


We all wrote emergency contact numbers on our arms in ink so we’d have the numbers of our Italian contact and attorney in the event of arrest.

We walked from the hotel to St. Peter’s in small groups in case the police tried to stop us from arriving for our vigil. Mike carried one of our two banners under his shirt so it wouldn’t be seen as we walked.

Each of us carried a photo of ourselves with a message on the back. These photos were held up for blessing in the event a priest came to bless them. They will be delivered to Cardinal Ratzinger, with our message on each one.

Two Soulforcers, including Bill Carpenter, co-chair of the vigil at the Vatican, were detained by police for three hours at St. Peter’s Square, during the papal Mass in the morning preceding the Soulforce/Dignity USA vigil, apparently over the unjustified concern that they would disrupt the papal Mass. They were released just in time to join the vigil.

We arrive at St. Peter’s and kneel in vigil. Rev. Mel White holds a photo of Alfredo Ormando, a gay Roman Catholic who set himself on fire on Jnuary 8, 1998, out of despondency over the policies of the church against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Members of Soulforce and Dignity/USA hold pictures of themselves as they pray, asking the church to send a priest to bless each of them.

The Soulforce banners are unfurled at the Vatican in front of the basilica of St. Peter’s Church in St. Peter’s Square.

Soulforcers pray over their pictures, which have been laid in St. Peter’s Square.

We stand vigil in front of St. Peter’s, at the Vatican.

We stand vigil in front of St. Peter’s, at the Vatican.

We stand vigil in front of St. Peter’s, at the Vatican.

We stand vigil in front of St. Peter’s, at the Vatican.

We stand vigil in front of St. Peter’s, at the Vatican.

We passed out rolled "Why We Vigil" pamphlets, written in both Italian and English, explaining the reason for our vigil to the thousands who circled our vigil.

We distributed ceramic Rainbow Crosses and Hearts, hand made and hand painted by Jeanine, a member of Soulforce from Seattle, who has made Soulforce crosses for each of our actions during 1999, 2000, and now 2001.

We sing "Oh Lord, Hear our Prayer", a Taize worship song, as Rome/Vatican police look on.

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