Catholic diocese to open chapel by clinicFARGO — A Catholic chapel focused on prayers to end abortion will open in an office building neighboring North Dakota’s only abortion clinic. The Catholic Diocese of Fargo will open the Visitation Chapel at 502 1st Ave. N. on June 1. The chapel will offer Mass at 8 a.m. Wednesdays, followed by Eucharistic adoration and recited prayers until 3:45 p.m. It will be locked the rest of the week.
By: By Sherri Richards, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — A Catholic chapel focused on prayers to end abortion will open in an office building neighboring North Dakota’s only abortion clinic.
The Catholic Diocese of Fargo will open the Visitation Chapel at 502 1st Ave. N. on June 1. The chapel will offer Mass at 8 a.m. Wednesdays, followed by Eucharistic adoration and recited prayers until 3:45 p.m. It will be locked the rest of the week.
The Red River Women’s Clinic is at 512 1st Ave. N., and sees patients on Wednesdays.
“We believe prayer is so powerful and what we’re engaged in is a spiritual battle,” said Rachelle Sauvageau, director of the diocese’s Respect Life Office. “It’s a place where we need an intense and focused prayer and that’s why we feel the need to be right there.”
The Visitation Chapel fills the third floor of the Gibb Building with its windows looking out on the clinic. Its name reflects the passage of Biblical Scripture when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth while both are with child.
There is an altar in the chapel, as well as chairs and sacred images, Sauvageau said. The Diocese of Fargo will be responsible for its operation and activities. Priests from across the metro area will be scheduled to offer Mass. The chapel will not be sustained by diocesan funds, but by donations.
Sidewalk counselors and people who pray in front of the clinic are not organized so will likely continue their individual efforts, Sauvageau said.
“There are a lot of people who can’t stand outside, the elderly and other people who don’t feel called to be down there on the sidewalk,” Sauvageau said. “This gives them the opportunity to be there in a real present way.”
In a written statement, Tammi Kromenaker with the Red River Women’s Clinic said the clinic has provided care for women across the region because they need its services.
“It doesn’t matter who moves in next door, across the street or down the block. We are a safe haven for women to consider what they need to do with this pregnancy and for their lives,” she said.
The Gibb building also houses two photography businesses, the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons and the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation.
Cher Hersrud, advancement officer with the foundation, said her office was told by the landlord that a nonprofit related to the anti-abortion cause had rented the space, but she was unaware it was a chapel. She said she can’t imagine the chapel would cause any issues.
“We certainly wouldn’t have any objections to it,” Hersrud said.
Sherri Richards is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.