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Witness for Life marches face pro-abortion protestors outside the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, New York CityJames Tiedemann/LifeSiteNews

NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life march through the streets of New York City was interrupted on Saturday after a group of pro-abortion activists blocked the route normally taken by marchers during the monthly event.

On Saturday, February 4, the “Witness for Life: Manhattan event,” which occurs every first Saturday of the month, encountered resistance the entire length of the procession – from its beginning at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral all the way to the Planned Parenthood located on the corner of Mott and Bleecker Street, about a five-minute walk away from the cathedral doors.

“It was a very difficult procession because the pro-abortion people were blocking us the whole way,” said Father Fidelis Moscinski, a pro-life activist and member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. “The police were completely passive even though we had a permit that was approved by the police department for our procession.”

Fr. Fidelis observes the procession while praying the Rosary. (James Tiedemann/LifeSiteNews)

The route typically takes five minutes by foot; however, the Saturday morning procession took nearly an hour to reach the Planned Parenthood premises due to the disruption.

The delay was the result of a group of pro-abortion counter-protestors blocking the sidewalk the procession usually takes. The group, referred to as “the opposition” by Moscinski and other members of the Witness for Life, would only slowly step backwards after repeated warnings from an automated recording from the New York Police Department.

The warnings, which included the possibility of arrest for unlawfully obstructing pedestrian traffic, were issued within the first ten minutes of the procession and continued throughout.

According to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner the NYPD provided no additional comments or had any records of arrests made during the procession.

“We continually object to the fact that our procession is being blocked, and we are in dialogue with the Community Affairs department. We are receiving legal counsel so that our Constitutional Rights are being respected,” said Moscinski. In addition to the protestors attempting to interfere with the procession, a blast of arctic air dropped temperatures to below zero, with wind gusts exacerbating the cold.

This especially concerned Bernadette Patel, a Sidewalk Advocate who gives resources to abortion-minded women in front of clinics like the Planned Parenthood at the end of the processional route. She credits The Holy Ghost for her ability to stand, mainly alone, directly in front of the clinic alongside abortion supporters.

The procession was blocked by pro-abortion activists. (James Tiedemann/LifeSiteNews)

“It was really peaceful compared to other days. It was just really cold,” said Patel.

This concern was heightened when she heard the pro-abortion protest beginning to chant outside while the 8:00 a.m. Mass that preceded the procession was ongoing. “I was kind of worried for them because they looked really cold. They came at 8:00 a.m. They were in the cold for 30 more minutes than us. I felt really bad for them,” she said.

Despite the difficulties of the day, Moscinski recognized the positives in the unfolding of the event, noting that “we did complete our procession. We went to the Planned Parenthood, prayed, and we came back to the church. We vindicated our right to have a public expression of our faith. Of course, we were praying for the mother, father, and children the whole time.”

With this in mind, he highlighted two aspects that give hope to both himself and the entire movement.

“Natural law is written in every human heart,” Moscinski reflected. “On some level, unless a person has totally distorted their conscience they know killing children is wrong, but then even more hopeful is that Christ is offering his grace to all of us every day. Once we say yes to him then so much can change in a short amount of time.”

Last month, Moscinski was found guilty on federal charges relating to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) for blocking the entrance of a Planned Parenthood in New York last July in an attempt to save the lives of unborn children.

He now faces up to six months in a federal prison and will be sentenced on April 24.