Diocesan News

Lincoln Right to Life Pro-life Center opens

Bishop Conley, priests exorcise Planned Parenthood

LINCOLN (SNR) – Bishop James Conley blessed the new Lincoln Right to Life Pro-Life Center Feb. 13.

The building, at 5632 S. 48th St., is on the east side of 48th Street, facing the Planned Parenthood building. An outdoor-supply business and showroom had been in the building the last two years. Lincoln Right to Life (LRTL) took possession of the building Feb. 1, and has leased it for two years.

“We hope to use the space as a unifying force within Pro-Life Lincoln,” said Matt Tapling, LRTL president. “We will be hosting training and informational events. We welcome pro-life or church organizations to utilize the space for their functions.”

Related item: Photo slideshow of event

Lincoln Right to Life

Lincoln Right to Life is a nonprofit organization representing all faiths. Members believe a person’s right to life begins at conception, and ends with his or her natural death. The group provides education and support for people who take an active role in changing the hearts and minds of those involved in, or considering, abortion.

“I am grateful for the work that members of Lincoln Right to Life do in upholding the dignity of every human life through their witness, their prayers, and their counseling,” said Bishop James Conley. “I pray that the leasing of the new Pro-Life Center will further assist them in their charitable mission.”

Members of LRTL also maintain a legal and peaceful presence near the local abortion facility, by supporting the “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” organization.

Helpers of God’s Precious Infants

The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants is an organization established in New York in 1989, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. An international ministry, the goal of the Helpers is to establish, at every site where the unborn are unjustly killed, a presence of prayer, so that those seeking abortions can hear a compassionate offer of help from a sidewalk counselor.

While the focus is on prayer, designated sidewalk counselors speak gently to women entering the facility, offering literature which contains real help.

Prayers always welcome

The events Feb. 13 also served to kick off the “40 Days for Life” campaign. From Feb. 14 to March 25, the community will take part in 40 Days for Life, a groundbreaking, coordinated international  mobilization to pray for an end to abortion.

Participants pray in shifts outside an abortion facility, such as Planned Parenthood, and more than 20 countries participate around the world. The organization reports that 40 Days for Life efforts have prevented 11,165 abortions globally since 2007.

As Bishop Conley blessed the new pro-life center in Lincoln Feb. 13, Helpers remained on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood, to pray and be present to those needing assistance.

After the blessing, the bishop, priests and attendees joined the volunteers on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood to pray the rosary while abortions were underway in the building. This is a usual practice for many members of LRTL and the Helpers, as well as other volunteers. LRTL reported that Planned Parenthood has averaged 15 or more abortions in Lincoln each week so far in 2018, a significant increase over the weekly averages of eight or nine per week before last year. 

Safety concerns

Those interested in praying outside Planned Parenthood are always welcome. Parking is available in the Cornerstone Christian Church parking lot at the corner of Old Cheney Road and 48th Street.

Members of LRTL repeatedly stressed that, for safety, people should only cross the four-lane 48th Street at the intersection crosswalks. It is imperative for pedestrian safety, and it is the law. The Lincoln Police Department will issue jaywalking tickets with fines as needed.

In an email to the pro-life community, Father Leo Seiker reminded, “Msgr. Philip Reilly, founder of God’s Precious Infants in New York, counsels the Helpers about our conduct and what we do. We should never go outside the law or do anything to create disturbances or distract from our apostolate to help save souls and lives,” he said. 

Rite of exorcism

While volunteers prayed the rosary, Bishop Conley and three other priests walked to the four corners outside Planned Parenthood’s property for special prayers as well – prayers of exorcism.

Exorcism is a specific form of prayer that the Church uses against the power of the devil.

“Evil really does exist in this world,” Bishop Conley said. “Satan and evil spirits are at work in our world, and the prevalence of abortion, the destruction of the life of an innocent child in the womb, is a horrific manifestation of that evil in our midst.  

“However,” the bishop continued, “Christ conquered evil through his saving work, and we must always remember that those who walk in the light of Christ are protected by him against the forces of evil.”

The prayers used Feb. 13, “A Supplication and Exorcism which May be Used in Particular Circumstances of the Church,” are similar to the prayers that Pope Leo XIII appended to the previous rite of exorcism in 1890. The focus of the prayers is to address and remedy any demonic influence on places and things in particular, as well as to remedy attacks against the Church in a more general way.

Prayers of exorcism are either supplicatory – a prayer addressed to God – or imperative, spoken directly to the demon to drive him out. This prayer read, in part, “I charge you, by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God... cease deceiving human creatures and offering them the poison of eternal perdition. Cease doing harm to the Church and seeking to ensnare her freedom.

“Be gone, Satan, Father of Lies, enemy of human salvation,” the prayer continues.

The four priests began the prayers of deliverance at a coordinated time, and concluded with prayers for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Michael the Archangel.

Mass celebrated in pro-life center

At 10 a.m., approximately 70 of those present, praying outside Planned Parenthood, returned to the Lincoln Right to Life Pro-Life Center for the first Mass celebrated in the facility. The Mass was concelebrated by Father Thomas MacLean, Father Christopher Barak and Father Joseph Steele. Members of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, who assisted with the blessing ceremony, were servers for the Mass. Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, who also assisted with the blessing ceremony, provided a color guard for the Mass.

Mass will be celebrated in the building every Tuesday at 10 a.m. After the Mass on Tuesday of Holy Week, Eucharistic adoration will be held in the pro-life center until 1 p.m. At 1 p.m. March 27, Bishop Conley will lead a Eucharistic procession around the property.

Bishop Conley will also lead stations of the cross and prayers outside Planned Parenthood on Good Friday, March 30.

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