When pro-life advocates gather for weekly prayer outside an abortion business in Robbinsdale, Minn., this fall, they’ll have a powerful spiritual aide at their side — Jesus, in the Eucharist.
Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has given permission to Pro-Life Action Ministries to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in a home that sits next door to the abortion business.
Pro-Life Action Ministries has owned the two-bedroom residence for nearly nine years. It has been used for meetings and prayer. The back yard of the home overlooks the front doors of the Robbinsdale Clinic.
The Robbinsdale Clinic is one of about seven abortion businesses in the state. According to State Department of Health statistics, the business performs, on average, approximately 2,000 abortions annually.
Late last fall, Pro-Life Action Ministries sought and received permission from Archbishop Flynn to reserve the Eucharist at the home.
“This is a culmination of what our desires have been,” says Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, which was founded by Franciscan Brothers of Peace Michael Gaworski and Paul O’Donnell in 1981. Gibson sent a letter to Archbishop Flynn last October requesting permission to have the Blessed Sacrament at the site. “I don’t know of any other pro-life property that has the Eucharist reserved so close by.”
Father Thomas Dufner of Holy Family Catholic Church has been leading the Rosary at the site every Saturday morning since 1992. He is joined by between 35 and 50 people, who gather in the front yard of the home to pray 15 decades of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet. The group — known as Rosaries for Life — has been praying here since 1991, when Peggy Powell gathered more than 150 people for prayer.
Powell founded the group to gather people for peaceful, non-confrontational prayer outside half a dozen abortion businesses in the Twin Cities.
“The first time I went to an abortion business to pray, I was afraid,” says Powell. “But once we prayed the Rosary, there was such peace. I realized that the Rosary was the greatest weapon against this evil. I’ve never seen anything as powerful in my whole life as the power of the Rosary at the abortion clinic.”
Powell is hopeful that Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist will bring about change at the abortion facility.
“There is no greater prayer than praying in the presence of Our Lord,” says Powell, who now helps set up Eucharistic adoration at local parishes. At least 40 parishes in the Twin Cities have some form of regular Eucharistic adoration. Another 38 have asked for her help in getting adoration started. “I think it will have a tremendous effect on this abortion business.”
While the home has occasionally been used for prayer, most praying has been done outside, on the lawn, where Rosaries for Life has placed a tall crucifix and a statue of the Mother of Christ.
Before the Blessed Sacrament arrives, the home is undergoing a much-needed renovation, which Gibson hopes will be complete by the end of the summer.
“We want the building to be aesthetically correct for the reservation of the Eucharist,” says Gibson. Pro-Life Action Ministries is trying to raise money to finish the renovations. At present, the home’s former garage has been transformed into a place of prayer. It contains artwork, kneelers and a Scripture verse from Proverbs painted on one wall.
Organizers are not certain how plans for the Eucharist will be realized. While it is certain that the Eucharist will be kept in a tabernacle, they do not yet know whether perpetual Eucharistic adoration will be available at the site or not. That depends, in part, on local parish involvement.
Father Dufner sees great benefit to the possibility of having people coming and going around the clock for prayer. He says that he has witnessed enormous blessings in his own life as a result of praying at the site.
“The graces I brought home from the abortion mill were enormous,” says Father Dufner. “It began with the conversion of a shirt-tail relative of mine who had cancer who I would visit now and again after praying at the clinic. That assured me of the graces I was bringing home from that location.”
The priest hopes to utilize the Blessed Sacrament during those times when he leads the Rosary outside the home.
“We might have exposition while we are at prayer,” says Father Dufner. “I would hope that a large monstrance could be placed in the window near the crucifix so that, when we are praying, we would have the monstrance before us.”
Gibson hopes that Archbishop Flynn could be present for a blessing and Mass when the Body of Christ is first placed in the home.
“He is placing a lot of trust in our organization by graciously allowing this,” says Gibson. “Hopefully, bringing Our Lord there, in the presence of the people of God, will close that abortion business.”
Tim Drake is the Register’s