John Wojnowski for Washingtonian

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.

The portrait on the right is John in front of his home.  He would not let me or the reporter inside, saying only that it was a mess.

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.

He showed me a very worn picture of himself protesting that he keeps with his wallet.

He is passed by dozens of joggers and cyclists every day as well as thousands of cars.

The Vatican Embassy, seen here in the background,  is not a fan of his.

He assembles his signs, two vinyl banners which he puts back-to-back and flips periodically to show two different messages.

He always tries to make sure he points his sign in the direction of passing tour buses.  He may be a familiar sight to many Washingtonians, but he tries to get his message out to tourists as well.

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.

Wojnowski protests into the evening, making sure to catch the end of rush hour.