Lent, Florida Catholic

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is seen at the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Naples March 6 with students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School.

40 Days for Life gets off to rousing beginning

Naples  |  Four spring 40 Days for Life peaceful prayer campaigns kicked off Ash Wednesday uniting the faithful during Lent to seek an end to abortion.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was joined by about 150 people at the 40 Days for Life opening in front of the Planned Parenthood on Goodlette-Frank Road in Naples. There were young and old as well as a contingent from nearby St. John Neumann Catholic High School and another from the Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

Pam and Wayne Fawcett of St. Peter the Apostle Parish said they were out praying because a battle for life is going on every day with the pro-life side cherishing life from conception while the other treats the treats the unborn as something that can be easily discarded, as if the unborn child was trash.

“We have to end abortion,” Pam said. “We have to end the killing.”

Molly O’Brien, a freshman at St. John Neumann, said she felt it was right for her to be out in public praying for life. “I support life because the unborn do not have the ability to advocate for themselves.”

Marguerite Estes, a junior at the Donahue Academy, said she is a staunch supporter of life. “It is important for others to see someone who is young and yet caring for life from conception to natural death.” 

Dominic DiMercurio, a junior at St. John Neumann , said he is proud to be out protecting life, even if it is in a small way. “There are a lot of people my age truly care about life. I don’t think that message gets out.”

The message was loud and clear as the young people from the two schools held signs and cheered each time someone passed by and gave a thumbs up or honk of the horn in support.

Father Jonathan Romanoski, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, led a praying of the rosary with faithful from Corpus Christi Chapel in Naples, where he is the chaplain. The spring 40 Days for Life is also taking place in front of the Planned Parenthoods in downtown Sarasota on Central Avenue and in Fort Myers at the intersection of Winkler Road and College Parkway. 

The fourth campaign took place in front of an abortion clinic on Olean Boulevard near St. Charles Borromeo Parish. It was there that Bishop Dewane celebrated the Mass and joined middle school students from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, and a large number of parishioners, for a walk to the abortion clinic to pray.

Escorted by troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol, the nearly 200 participants walked about a half-mile before standing united in prayer in front of the abortion doctor’s office.

The abortion doctor was present and video-taped the students leading everyone in the praying of the rosary. The Bishop approached and spoke to the doctor briefly, seeking understanding behind his motivation for the killing of the unborn and tried to encourage him to stop. It is unlikely this will happen, but everyone will continue to pray for this outcome.