40 Days for Life campaign to begin Sept. 25
By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
According to Justin Frato, assistant director of adult catechesis and family life, the 40 Days for Life campaign’s purpose is to pray and fast for an end to abortion in the city and nation.
To gear up for the campaign, a kickoff will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Mary’s Choice parking lot that is located next to Planned Parenthood. The rally will feature prayers by Bishop Walker Nickless, music by Chris Pariseau and a talk by Dr. Paul Matthews of Emmetsburg who will share about the recent pro-life victory over webcam abortions in Iowa. The doctor will also discuss his thoughts about what it means to be a pro-life physician.
“Through the rally, we want to get people prepared and fired up for going into the 40 days – to give them the vision and energy to persevere through it,” said Frato, who added that it is important for people to see that others also support the cause. “During the campaign they might be praying on their own, but this is an element that can help them feel supported.”
Given the victory over webcam abortions, he said it may help momentum with pro-life efforts.
The campaign will officially start a couple of hours after the rally – at midnight on Sept. 25.
The three components of the 40 Days for Life campaign are:
1. PRAYER AND FASTING: Join together with other believers for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.
2. PEACEFUL VIGIL: Stand for life during a 40-day peaceful public witness outside the local Planned Parenthood (4409 Stone Ave., Sioux City).
3. COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Bring a positive pro-life message to every corner of our city through media efforts, advocacy and public visibility.
Frato said ideally at least two people will be on hand at any given time. While the goal is to have 24-hour coverage, he stressed that they do want people to be safe. For that reason, younger men are encouraged to take the hours from midnight to 5 a.m.
40 Days for Life is believed to be the largest pro-life mobilization in history. Organizers of the movement say that more than half a million people worldwide have participated. They estimate 7,536 lives have been saved from abortion, 83 abortion workers have gone through a conversion and 39 abortion facilities have closed as a result of 40 Days for Life campaigns.
“We do notice that abortion rates go down during the campaign,” Frato said. “Having that presence there is key.”
He pointed out that in past campaigns several Catholic schools such as Le Mars Gehlen, Remsen St. Mary’s and Granville Spalding had brought groups of students to pray outside of the abortion clinic. This year, in mid-October, Bishop Heelan High School students will participate.
“This is an issue that concerns all ages and sometimes people who were born after 1973 take the most offense against it because they could have been aborted,” said Frato, who noted that people of all ages can participate including young families.
Often, he noted, individuals will sign up for one hour a week. And sometimes organizations will sign up for a particular hour per week.
“If they are part of the movement, we ask them to abide by the rules – that they remain peaceful and there is nothing political attached to it,” Frato said.
For those who cannot commit to a specific hour, he said they could drop by at anytime during the campaign and prayers from those who are homebound are also encouraged.
You can sign up at www.40daysforlife.com/siouxcity. For more information contact Frato, campaign coordinator, by phone at (712) 233-7561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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