Venice | Coming soon will be another chance to stand up for life. The 40 Days for Life fall campaign begins Sept. 26 in Fort Myers and Sarasota, and will continue until Nov. 4. Participants often reflect about how rewarding it is to participate when the only requirement is to just show up and pray.
40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. Participants are called to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves: the unborn.
The international campaign puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion. It draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program: prayer and fasting, constant vigil and community outreach.
“Those who are called to stand witness send a powerful message to the community about the tragic reality of abortion,” said Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director.
Since the 40 Days for Life campaign began in 2007, more than 14,643 babies have been spared from abortion through the national prayer vigils and the mothers have avoided a lifetime of regret. During that same time, 177 abortion workers left their jobs and 96 abortion centers have closed. The campaign includes 579 cities in 50 countries with more than 750,000 participants.
The Diocese has been involved with 40 Days for Life since the campaign went nationwide in 2008, with vigils taking place in the fall —encompassing October, Respect Life Month — in Fort Myers and Sarasota, and in the spring during Lent in Naples and Port Charlotte.
“Participating is not something anyone has to do alone,” Berdeaux explained. “Join others from your local Parish to stand in public witness for the sanctity of human life.”
Parishes throughout the Diocese often commit to several days of prayer on the front lines. The prayer vigil in Sarasota takes on the public right-of-way outside the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood at 736 Central Ave., near downtown. The vigil hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. There is a focus to ensure the times are filled when the facility is open, Monday, Tuesday (abortion day), Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The 40 Days vigil in Fort Myers takes place 9 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week on the public right-of-way in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at College Plaza, 8595 College Parkway, at the intersection of Winkler Road and College Parkway.
In support of the 40 Days for Life campaign and in seeking an end to abortion, Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate Mass Oct. 25, 8 a.m., at Resurrection Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers. From there he will participate in the nearby prayer vigil.
People interested in taking part in a local prayer vigil are encouraged to sign up in advance, but all are welcome to come for a few minutes, an hour or all day, whatever people can spare to save a life.
The success of 40 Days for Life has been seen locally when women approach vigil participants and tell their story of how their mind was changed by those praying for their unborn child. Such success stories can have a strong impact on both the mother and child, and the vigil participants.