WARR ACRES, Okla. — Catholic pro-life advocates in Oklahoma plan to open a perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapel and counseling offices next to an abortion business in hopes of serving women in need and ending abortion through prayer.
“We are 20 feet from the abortionist,” Father M. Price Oswalt, a leader of the project, said Oct. 25. “We’re going to have some signs in our windows that say: ‘Pregnant? Need help? Come here.’ That will draw people in.”
Father Price hopes the adoration chapel will “end abortion through prayerful reflection and prayerful means.”
“It’s the ultimate good right next to the ultimate evil,” he said. “Good will triumph.”
The priest, who is rector of the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague in Prague, Okla., helped plan the chapel and an attached counseling office with the support of the Holy Innocents Foundation. The chapel’s building is next door to the Warr Acres, Okla., abortion facility, Outpatient Services for Women.
The business is one of the three main abortion providers in the state.
Father Price emphasized that women considering abortion need help.
“Most of the time those women are in crisis mode,” he said. “They don’t really know what they want. They’ve been talked into an abortion most of the time. If they come to us, we can say, ‘We can help you; we can help you find options; we can talk to you; we can be your friend.’”
He said the chapel and the foundation’s counseling staff aim to be “compassionate and loving” and not “in their face.” The center will refer women to the pregnancy-center network Birth Choice, which has an office with an ultrasound machine a mile away from the facility.
The chapel will seat about 50 people. It will have statues of the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of pregnancy, St. Gerard, and St. Gianna Molla, a physician and mother, whom Father Price called “the martyr of modern-day motherhood.”
The back of the chapel will have a memorial to the unborn where people can write their names and the names of their children in a book.
Father Price rejected one critic’s claim that the chapel will make women feel guilty.
“A chapel can only help the subconscious and the conscience come to life,” he said. “When you’re in the presence of God, then the Holy Spirit works on you. He helps convict you of whatever you need to be convicted of.
“Going in front of a building that has a chapel in it may call you in, and then God can work as God works,” he said. “But the guilt is from the act that’s been performed. That’s the reality.”
Anyone feeling guilty, he said, should remember “that there’s hope and that there’s reconciliation with God.”
Confession and Mass will be available at the chapel when a priest is available. Organizers hope to have a continuous prayer presence at the chapel, whose tabernacle is a gift from the Sisters of St. Joseph in LaGrange, Ill.
The priest found inspiration in a similar project by Father Stephen Imbarrato in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M. In North Dakota, the Diocese of Fargo approved a Catholic chapel across the street from an abortion business as well.
The chapel in Warr Acres is not funded by the archdiocese, but operates with the permission of Archbishop Paul Coakley, who will celebrate a Mass to dedicate the chapel.
Father Price has appealed for prayer partners and financial partners to help meet the chapel’s monthly operating expenses and its $365,000 mortgage.
Said Father Price of the chapel's purpose: “Many will be reconciled to the Lord, especially if they’ve already committed abortion, they have one in their past or are contemplating it.”