By ARTHUR J. BREW
Fargo, N.D. Bishop James S. Sullivan led nearly 1,200 persons on a peaceful
prayer vigil to North Dakota's only abortion mill recently, and he promised the
assistance of the Catholic Church to any woman who finds herself in a crisis
The "Walk With Christ for Life" coincided with the observance of the
Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, the patroness of the Fargo Diocese.
Vested priests and deacons, along with men, women and children from all
sectors of the state, accompanied Bishop Sullivan as he carried the Blessed
Sacrament to the abortion facility. A temporary altar was set up in front of the
mill for prayer and benediction. Police were on hand to maintain order, but
there were no disturbances or arrests.
Clinic administrator Jane Bovard asserted that it was "incredibly
irresponsible" to stage the walk after the recent killings in Pensacola, Fla.
Bishop Sullivan said the event had been planned for months and "I look at all
my friends out there and I don't think that any of us are very violent. However,
I will say that there is violence. and that violence is within the
"We had a similar walk two years ago," Bishop Sullivan told The Wanderer.
"One thousand participated at that time, but we had none in 1993 because of the
Holy Father's visit. We hope to do more walks in the future.
"It was such a rewarding experience. After the walk, we offered Mass at the
Carmel of Mary which is 50 miles from Fargo and about 700 persons attended
Bishop Sullivan said the Catholic Church stands ready to assist any expectant
mother in need and "this includes whatever assistance she requires." He added
that the diocese has published a listing of all crisis pregnancy centers in the
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, flew in from New
York for the occasion. He stated that by coming to North Dakota, he wanted to
show the solidarity of Priests for Life with what Bishop Sullivan is doing, and
express the gratitude priests have for the leadership that bishops like him
demonstrate in the fight against abortion.
In a talk to Fargo pro-lifers the following day, Fr. Pavone said that
abortion supporters will increasingly try to keep pro-lifers off the streets by
making them feel guilty for "inciting a climate that leads to violence." He
pointed out that pro-lifers need to be on the streets more than ever before, to
save babies and to educate the public.
"Abortion continues," he added, "not because peaceful means don't work, but
because not enough people use them. Direct, peaceful action does save lives. Our
top priority is to recruit people to do it."
The march began outside St. Mary's Cathedral and continued for 16 blocks to
the Fargo Women's Health Organization on 14th Street. Two federal marshals
stationed at the clinic since the Florida killings sat in their cars behind the