A candlelight prayer vigil concluded the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion in Sarasota. (COURTESY)

Candlelight vigils close 40 Days for Life

Sarasota  |  Bringing light to darkness, the spring 40 Days for Life peaceful prayer campaign came to end in spectacular fashion April 13, with candlelight vigils at three Diocese of Venice prayer sites.

Groups gathered for candlelight vigils in front of abortion facilities in Sarasota, Port Charlotte and Naples where people have been praying for an end to abortion since the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. This was the first spring that the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign took place in four locations simultaneously, with Fort Myers also participating.

In Sarasota, the closing ceremony and vigil draw more than 200 people united in prayer to end the scourge on this nation that is abortion. The location was in front of the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood Parenthood abortion facility near downtown.

James Kurt, who helped organize the Sarasota evening, said four times the number of people expected came out to “pray and sing in the darkness of a night that reflected the darkness of a world that has lost its respect for life,” he said. “It was a beautiful night of harmonious union for the cause of life.”

Intermixed with the prayers and singing were moments of silence in prayer for the unborn who will never know the joy of life in this world.

The candlelight vigil in Port Charlotte was organized by the Knights of Columbus from St. Paul Parish in Arcadia and took place in front of the offices of an abortionist. The Naples vigil took place in front of a local Planned Parenthood abortion facility. For the first time, four prisons within the Diocese of Venice also participated in the 40 Days for Life.

Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux noted there was an increase in participation this year at each of the four Diocesan 40 Days for Life sites. Some of that can be attributed to the recent release of the movie “Unplanned,” which tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planner Parenthood facility director who converted to become a renowned pro-life activist. A pivotal scene in the movie included a candlelight vigil at the first ever 40 Days for Life.

Each spring and fall the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign takes place in cities across the United States and in 44 countries. The Diocese of Venice has participated since 2007, the year of the first national campaign. To date, 15,256 babies have been saved and 99 abortion centers have been closed. 

While the spring 40 Days for Life prayer campaign is concluded, Berdeaux said that there are weekly year-round opportunities to pray for life at each of the four Diocesan locations. For those interested in participating in the ongoing prayer vigils, take an hour or two at the following days and locations: Tuesdays, 736 Central Ave., Sarasota; each Thursday (the day abortions are done), 8595 College Parkway, Fort Myers, and prayer vigils taking place 9-11 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday; Mondays, 1425 Creech Road, Naples; and in front of 21186 Olean Blvd., Port Charlotte, 2-4 p.m., Tuesday-Wednesday, and 9-11 a.m., Thursday-Saturday.