The St. Mother Theodore Guerin Traditional Latin Mass Community was honored to be part of the first Mass offered at the newly constructed Divine Mercy Chapel at the Life Center in South Bend on Saturday, May 4th.
Fr. Roberto Cano, F.S.S.P., offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according the liturgical books of 1962 with the assistance of Mr. Austin Werling who assisted at the altar, and Mr. Tom Policinski of the Life Center who coordinated and made all the necessary preparations for the Mass. Both Tom and Austin are members of the St. Mother Theodore Guerin Traditional Latin Mass Community at St. Patrick Catholic Church in South Bend. No doubt this was only the first of many collaborative efforts between the Life Center and the Traditional Latin Mass Community in South Bend.
The Life Center and the chapel are integral parts of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy in Service of Human Life. This new Apostolate, recently approved by Bishop Kevin Rhoades, is a very exciting initiative designed to promote a culture of life, and organize, coordinate and promote anti-abortion efforts in the Michiana area.
The Apostolate of Divine Mercy in Service of Human Life acquired the building which has now become the Life Center on All Saints Day, November 1st, 2012. Situated right next to the only abortuary in South Bend (2018 Ironwood Circle, South Bend IN 46635), the Life Center building will house various organizations that further the culture of life in the Michiana area. Currently these are St. Joseph County Right to Life, 40 Days for Life South Bend, Silent No More, and Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency. The Apostolate also operates the diocesan approved Chapel of Divine Mercy at the Life Center, and is also continuing the sidewalk ministry program. The building is also within easy walking distance of the Women’s Care Center.
The Life Center building and the chapel are still under construction, but by the grace of God, and the hard work, dedication and support of the staff and donors, the Life Center should be complete and fully operational very soon.
Even though the chapel was still under construction, the first Mass offered there was very beautiful, and gives particular insight into the beauty and piety that this chapel will inspire in the Pro-Life work of the Center.
|Through the window the abortuary is clearly visible.|
The altar pictured is a temporary altar, but the permanent altar and tabernacle will be affixed against the wall as is the temporary one. This arrangement was enthusiastically approved by the diocesan liturgy committee, so all Masses at the Chapel will be offered ad orientem. However, this also is intended to focus the attention of all present to the Center’s purpose. A distinctive feature of the chapel is the window above the altar that looks out on the abortion mill, which is only about 20 feet away. This was part of the original design of the chapel so that, during prayer, there is a constant reminder of the horrors that take place inside that adjacent facility.
The folding chairs pictured are temporary as well. A number of beautiful pews were donated by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka. These pews are currently in the process of being refinished, and will be installed soon along with the permanent altar.
|Construction begins on the permanent altar.|
The permanent altar is already being assembled, work beginning the day after the first Mass was offered. No doubt the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the graces granted thereby, are speeding the work along. The construction of the altar will accent the tile mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was installed in the floor. This beautiful tile was brought to the United States from Tepeyac, Mexico, the site of Our Lady’s apparition to St. Juan Diego. This tile mosaic remained in storage for many years until finding its place in the Center’s chapel, to be used in the service of Life.
Another extraordinary feature of the altar will be the enshrinement of a verified first-class relic of St. George. After searching and searching for a relic of St. Gianna Beretta Molla for the Life Center, a search that seemed frustrated from the very beginning, by what must be attributed to divine providence, a generous donor offered the Center this relic of St. George instead. There is much providential symbolism to acquiring this relic, as the abortionist’s first name is George, and at one time he used a website that sported a rather demonic looking dragon symbol. As we all know, in the legend of St. George the hero-saint slays the dragon, a symbol of victory over evil.
There is no doubt that the prayers and sacrifices offered in the Life Center Chapel will bring innumerable graces to the various works of the Apostolate. Indeed, there has already been an abundant outpouring of graces since the building was purchased on All Saints Day, 2012. Since that day, there have been eleven women convinced by the grace of God to choose life. This is an incredible number, given that the average number of “saves” per year is four or five.
One of the blessed consequences of the Life Center being situated next to the abortuary is that on occasion nervous and disoriented young ladies seeking an abortion fail to notice the abortuary’s entrance, and wonder unthinkingly over to the Life Center’s front door. Indeed, the Life Center looks much cleaner and more welcoming than brown and drab abortion mill next door. These anguished and conflicted women, once at the front door of the Life Center, give a unique opportunity for the staff at the Life Center to provide the resources and information to help them choose life.
On one such occasion a nervous young lady came to the Life Center entrance by mistake and was immediately approached by Shawn Sullivan. Shawn, knowing what she was seeking, asked her simply: “Did you come here for your appointment?”
“Yes,” the young lady replied.
Shawn smiled broadly, gently took her by the arm, and accompanied her, not to the abortuary, but to the Women’s Care Center a short distance away. He chatted with her pleasantly as they went.
Once at the Women’s Care Center, Shawn and the woman went up to the receptionist’s desk and Shawn announced: “This young lady is here for her counseling appointment!”
Without missing a beat, the staff at the Women’s Care Center greeted the young lady, and she was able to sit down with one of the trained professionals. Having been put at ease, and given all the resources and options available to her, this young lady was empowered to make the right choice—the life of her baby and a new start for herself.
There have been so many other miracles just like this one at the Life Center since it was established. As Shawn told me, with only five seconds or less to engage those leaving their cars and entering the abortion mill, this sidewalk ministry depends on miracles. Every “save” is a miracle. But the miracles don’t stop with just the sidewalk ministry.
There are many opportunities for miracles to take place at the Life Center. Unlike other abortuary-side ministries, the Life Center offers more than sidewalk counseling. Not only can the option to choose adoption instead of abortion be mentioned, but the Life Center, because it will house the Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency, can initiate that process on the spot. A young lady can literally walk from the abortuary's parking lot to an adoption counselor in a matter of minutes. Not only will the Apostolate engage in sidewalk ministry, but will also have the resources to engage in post-abortive services as well. Silent No More will have a prominent and important role to play at the Life Center.
|The "Prayer Peninsula" and the "Prayer Patio" flank the abortuary's entrance.|
Almost everything necessary to wage the war against the culture of death will be housed in this one facility. The “Prayer Peninsula” and the “Prayer Patio”, both of which flank the entrance to the abortion mill, are the front lines in the battle, and those engaged in sidewalk ministry are the infantry in the trenches. But the Life Center, unlike anything of its kind, provides everything else necessary for their mission—strategic planning, logistics, after action review, and, most importantly, prayer-support.
There is still one thing more that the Life Center and the Apostolate of Divine Mercy in Service of Human Life are desperately in need of, and that is you! Please consider generously giving from your talents. Whatever gift you can bring to the table, the Life Center needs it, from receptionist skills to fund raising, from marketing to grounds keeping, from getting involved with the sidewalk ministry, to providing baby-sitting services for those doing the ministry. There’s really no limit to what you can give that will support the Life Center in its battle to end abortion and promote a culture of life.
The Life Center especially needs you to pray. Please consider visiting the Life Center chapel, especially on those days that the abortion mill plies its murderous trade, to pray and weep and make reparation. That is the violence that bears away the kingdom of heaven, and is pleasing in the sight of God!
And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.
-St. Matthew, 11. 12
For more information about the Life Center and the Apostolate of Divine Mercy in Service of Human Life, and to find out how you can help, please call (574) 233-7860 or (574) 286-7860 or email Shawn at Shawn.Sullivan@DivineMercyForLife.com.
More pictures of the first Traditional Latin Mass offered at the Life Center Chapel.