Group Will Not Protest This Weekend
By Christina Hall
New Britain Hearold [Southington CT]
January 24, 2003
SOUTHINGTON -- A church group from Topeka, Kan. has set its sights against St. Dominic’s Church and the Rev. Henry Frascadore.
Pastor Fred Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, is the leader of an anti-homosexual group that had planned a protest at the Catholic church’s 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. The protest has since been canceled, but will be rescheduled.
According to Frascadore, Phelps’ group sent fliers to St. Dominic’s and called several times about a month ago to notify the church of their protest.
A news release posted on the church’s Web site also says the group planned to protest at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford and on the steps of the state Capitol to issue "an Holy ultimatum to Connecticut."
Although the group’s Web site currently lists the Sunday protests as upcoming events, a source from the group say plans have been changed.
Shirley Phelps, daughter to the pastor and attorney for the church, said that the group does not plan to visit Connecticut this weekend.
"There is no question," Phelps said during a phone interview Thursday afternoon. "We are not going to be anywhere in Connecticut this weekend."
Phelps said other events have occurred that changed the protest plans, but the group would be rescheduling.
"I just don’t have a date yet," she said.
According to Sgt. Lowell DePalma of the Southington police, the Kansas church group had contacted the department asking for police presence at the Sunday protest.
DePalma added that a man who claimed to be Phelps called the department to say the protest had been canceled.
"We have every assurance from the church that they’re not coming," DePalma said.
Lt. Jose Lopez, public information officer for the Hartford police department, also said Thursday night that the group had canceled their protests.
Frascadore attributed gaining the group’s attention to a cover story featuring the priest in The Fairfield County Weekly from Dec. 19.
The article describes Frascadore’s choice not to read during Mass a letter written by Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin that condemns same-sex marriage. The letter accompanied a petition for parishioners to sign in order to stop legalization of same-sex marriages or civil unions.
Frascadore said Thursday that he has no opinion on the issue, but did not feel comfortable speaking in a discriminatory manner. He said he did understand that his choice not to read the letter might have garnered some attention.
"I suppose anytime you take a stand, you are going to get some reaction," he said.
Overall, Frascadore seemed to be taking the attention in stride.
"If people want to protest, that is their right," he said. "However, I don’t believe it’s their right to interrupt people’s religious observances."
Christina Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (860) 225-4601, ext. 225.
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