KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, D.C., January 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Saturday, one abortion clinic in Knoxville experienced the power of prayer, as hundreds of pro-life activists spent an hour asking God for His intercession.
Led by Cardinal Justin Regali, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, protestors gathered for the fourth annual Rosary for Life, which was held in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic for the first time. From 2010 to 2012, participants had prayed in front of Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic. That clinic closed in 2012 after the state passed laws requiring that doctors at abortion clinics have hospital admission privileges.
“The brilliance of the light of Christ is reflected in every human life, and in a most magnificent way from the womb. Painfully and tragically, the law of the land has failed to recognize the light of this truth for the past 41 years," Cardinal Rigali told the assembled pro-lifers. "But on this street corner across from where so much darkness lies behind closed doors, the light of Christ has gathered. How resplendent is the radiance of the light of Jesus Christ!”
Rosary for Life organizer and Knoxville diocese Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Director of the Office of Justice and Peace Paul Simoneau told LifeSiteNews.com that 250 activists prayed together and received “good coverage [from] local media.”
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“With forecasts of heavy rain, I contacted the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, a cloistered community of women religious to pray for good weather,” he said. “Members kept their vigil through the night. The rain fell hard, through the early morning, [but] as Cardinal Rigali approached to begin the Rosary, the rain stopped!”
Attendees gathered on public sidewalks and on the grounds of New Trinity Church of God in Christ, which is across the Planned Parenthood clinic.
Simoneau said despite a lower than normal attendance – “in past years we have had over 400 people show up for the Rosary for Life,” he said – he was optimistic for the spring 40 Days for Life Campaign. “Because our Lenten 40 Days for Life will be conducted in front of Planned Parenthood for the first time, our Rosary for Life served to introduce 250 people who joined Cardinal Rigali to the site of our coming campaign. We already have 22 of the 40 Days covered, and [it's] still almost two months away!”
Organizers, including Simoneau, have noted the Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic closed on day that Catholics celebrate as the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Rosary did not take place in 2013 because of the closure of Volunteer Women's Medical Clinic.