I spent two days photographing John Wojnowski, a man who has protested corruption and pedophilia within the Catholic Church on one street corner for 14 years. He himself is the victim of abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, an incident which he kept secret for years and which impacted his life so profoundly that when he finally opened up about it, he decided to take a stand. He holds a lonely vigil in front of the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC every day, rain or shine. Some call him a hero, others, a nuisance and a lunatic. Fundamentally, his is a tragic story of loss- loss of innocence, of a normal life, of normal relationships with his wife and children. He shares a similar fate with so many other victims of pedophilia, his 14-year-long crusade being one of the few things that sets him apart. I highly recommend reading writer Ariel Sabar’s moving story.
He starts his day at the public library, where he scours the internet for news of corruption and pedophilia within the Church. He prints relevant articles and adds them to his vast archives of research at his home.
His journey to the Vatican Embassy is long and involved. He walks and takes public transportation from his home in Maryland. He carries his sign in a pink sack and any other supplies he might need for the day.
Before he was forced to hand-hold his signs, he rigged a contraption that distributed the weight between a light post and a pole he brought with him. He wore a groove in the sidewalk where he used to move the pole.