By Rai Rojas
During the course of the last 19 years I have often reported about events happening at the United Nations FROM inside the United Nations, working with Jeanne Head who is National Right to Life’s Representative to the UN. Nothing I’ve ever seen, heard, read or reported on compares to this day.
Sitting in an overly bright room littered with flimsy wooden chairs and faux marble-top tables (pretentiously called the Vienna Café), I was working on the new proposed language for the outcome document to this year’s 57th annual Commission on the Status of Women. This room, always loud, always stale, always crowded is right in the middle and is really the hub of the UN in New York City.
Just a few minutes after 2 PM local New York City time the Associated Press application on my iPhone sent out an “urgent alert” that said: “White smoke signals Catholic church has chosen a new Pop.”
I looked up and inadvertently caught the gaze of Brian Scarnnechia, a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and whispered to him – “we have white smoke.” My voice continued in a natural crescendo as I repeated the phrase “we have white smoke” until most of those sitting near me heard and understood what I was saying.
Students from Ave Maria University and Franciscan University immediately stopped what they were doing and gathered behind me as I pulled up Vatican Television’s live feed on my computer.
For the next hour we sat, kneeled and stood to see who our new Pontiff would be. Many more Catholics came to our corner of the room and stood around various screens, all of us anxiously and prayerfully waiting for the announcement. When it came, Cardinal Bergoglio was not a familiar name to many of us here
As we waited to see him, and hear him, many feverishly turned to Google and the Internet to find out as much as we could about him. With every new discovery and disclosure those of us gathered here at the UN fighting for the rights of unborn children cheered. Then he appeared on the Pope’s Window Balcony and asked us to pray for him – and those of us here did by stretching our hands towards monitors and screens.
He spoke and led us in prayer.
I’ve been coming to the United Nations with some regularity since 1994. During those years the environment here for those of us who truly cherish life, regardless of gender or gestational age, has become increasingly more hostile. This 57th Commission on the Status of Women is no different. We are out-numbered 20 to 1 by a vocal, crass, and loud pro-abortion majority. They mock us, and interrupt our events. We sit on opposite sides of a small room no more than 60 feet across separated by plastic potted plants.
Their late night snacks are catered, we eat cold pizza – and that’s ok.
When they achieve a small advantage they cheer and sneer. When new pro-abortion language is introduced or the Holy See is erroneously excoriated, they cackle – and that’s ok.
It’s ok because we’re right. And it’s ok because every once in a while we have a day like today.
When after nearly an hour of his anointing, Francis I lead the entirety of the Catholic world in prayer, the Catholics gathered here INSIDE the United Nations building on the eastside of Manhattan prayed along with him. Humbly, with solemnity, but loudly and succinctly – we prayed. As the opening lines of the Hail Mary were recited, the noise from the always obtrusive pro-abortion side of the room ceased. They were silenced. Utterly. As tears streamed down many of our faces, the pro-abortionists also succumbed to the presence of God, some scattered and most hushed.
We listened to the end of his comments and afterwards we hugged, shook hands and dried joyful tears from our faces. Then we got back to the business at hand – protecting unsuspecting women from the evils of abortion and trying to make the world a safer place for all of God’s children.
Habemus Papam [We have a Pope] indeed!!!