North Dakota bishop leads procession at abortion clinic amid protests
Fargo, N.D., Sep 29, 2010 / 12:51 am (CNA).- In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Saturday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.
The Diocese of Fargo estimated that on Saturday, 700 to 800 people from St. Mary’s Cathedral processed to the local Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility in downtown Fargo. Director of Communications for the diocese Tanya R. Watterud told CNA that Bishop Aquila led the procession several blocks, carrying a monstrance with Blessed Sacrament and also sprinkling the clinic with holy water amidst pro-abortion demonstrators.
During his homily at the Mass preceding the procession, Bishop Aquila stated that the purpose of the event was “to give witness to the gift of life and particularly the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”
“Even reason and science would point to the truth that life begins at the moment of conception,” he noted. “For those who are unbelievers, they can come to know the truth of the dignity of human life through both reason and science.”
“We must also, when speaking of abortion, speak the truth about it,” and refrain from using terms such as “interruption of pregnancy” or “only a mass of cells.”
“Every time a child is aborted it is murder and it is important for us to call it by its proper name.” Individuals, he added, should not use the “politically correct language” of the media but “speak the truth and to speak it clearly.”
He then encouraged those present to pray for the gift of fortitude “to be those people who constantly remind our society and remind others that life is a gift…that every human being created is created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of conception…that every human being has the right to life.”
The bishop also explained that the holy water that would be used to sprinkle the facility showed “prayers for purification…in terms of reparation for what happens there because, ultimately, it is the murder of unborn that takes place there.”
Watterud told CNA that later at the procession following the sprinkling, Bishop Aquila again took the monstrance into his hands and continued back to the Cathedral, while parishioners in attendance prayed the Rosary while walking.