The 6th World Congress of Life continued in Vienna on Saturday 6th of October with Mass and a planned vigil outside the city’s biggest abortion mill. The atmosphere around the church Maria vom Siege before Mass was tense as the organisers were expecting some form of protest there.
At the Mass Monseigneur James Reilly, founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, said that witnessing to life at modern day Calvary was always effective even when there are no turnarounds. He reminded the large congregation of the witness of Mary, St. John and the women at the foot of the cross and to never give up hope even in the face of great opposition.
Little did the ten ITI students present realise how important these words would be as the morning unfolded. After Mass the congregation was directed to the underground and asked to reconvene at the Congress centre before beginning the procession of prayer to the abortion site. The ITI students decided to travel by van directly to the abortion site and re-join the rest of the congregation there. After parking nearby they arrived at the site which was already encamped by at least fifty young opposition protesters under the watchful eyes of four policemen. In the meantime at the Congress centre the organisers decided to cancel the procession and vigil to the abortion site for some reason.
With the words of that morning’s homily fresh in their minds the students decided to huddle in a circle and pray the Rosary against a backround of whistles and jeers. They were joined in prayer by a member of the public. As they walked away afterwards the students were followed through Vienna’s central streets by all the protesters still jeering and shouting. In what seemed a bizarre sequence of events the students eventually took refuge at the cathedral St. Stephen in the city centre as the protests continued outside before being more closely monitored by police.
Monseigneur Reilly’s words seemed certainly true—that, no matter what the opposition, all prayerful witnesses against the Culture of death is effective.