Bishop Frank J. Dewane is seen at the Spring 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Naples March 6, 2019, with students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School. (FC FILE PHOTO)

40 Days for Life fall campaign begins Sept. 25

Sarasota  |  Since the 40 Days for Life prayer campaigns to end abortion began in 2007, more than 16,004 babies have been spared from abortion through the national prayer vigils and those mothers have avoided a lifetime of regret. During that same time, 191 abortion workers left their jobs and 104 abortion centers have closed. The campaign includes hundreds of cities in 61 countries with more than 1 million participants.

The 40 Days for Life fall campaign begins Sept. 25 with prayer vigils each day until Nov. 3 all to call for an end to abortion in the U.S. In addition to 505 cities across the U.S. and abroad, vigils here in the Diocese of Venice will take place in Fort Myers, Naples and Sarasota

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.

Diocese of Venice Respect Life Coordinator Jeanne Berdeaux said participation in 40 Days for Life in recent years has increased, reflecting the groundswell of support for human life. Berdeaux cited several factors for this growth in support. In the past year, several states have passed laws that would allow an abortion until birth; the uncovering of unethical practices by abortionists; and the early 2019 release of the movie “Unplanned,” about a former Planned Parenthood manager whose life was changed when she witnessed a live abortion.

As the national debate about abortion continues, one way to stand public witness for the sanctity of human life is during 40 Days for Life.

“Those who are called to stand witness send a powerful message to the community about the tragic reality of abortion,” Berdeaux said. “It has been well documented that their presence creates a powerful impact.” 

The Diocese of Venice has been involved with 40 Days for Life since the campaign went nationwide in 2008 with vigils taking place in the fall – to coincide with October, Respect Life Month — and in the spring during Lent. During the past 10 years the lives of more than 100 babies have been … saved locally during 40 Days for Life as well as during the year-round vigils taking place at abortion facilities in the Diocese.

More can be saved with the help of those willing to stand up as witnesses for life. Participants in the prayer vigil will be joining other like-minded individuals. Some commit to taking part for a few minutes, an hour, or all day. Check with your Parish to learn what hours they have committed to 40 Days for Life, as many parishes often commit to several days of prayer on the front lines.

The prayer vigil in Sarasota is held on the public right-of-way outside of the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood abortion facility 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. An opening prayer service will be held at 11 a.m., Sept. 25, with the expectation of Bishop Frank J. Dewane participating.

 The 40 Days Vigil in Fort Myers is 9 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week is held on the public right-of-way in front of the Planned Parenthood at College Plaza, 8595 College Parkway, at the intersection of Winkler Road and College Parkway. Abortions take place each morning, Tuesday through Saturday. The opening prayer service will be at 7 p.m., Sept. 25.

 In Naples, the prayer vigil will be in the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood at 1425 Creech Road, at the intersection of Goodlette-Frank Road. The vigil hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Abortions are normally scheduled on Mondays. An opening prayer service will be held at 8:45 a.m., Sept. 25. 

People interested in taking part in a local prayer vigil are encouraged to sign up in advance at www.40daysforlife.com and search for the closest vigil site. While registration is encouraged, all are welcome to come for any amount of time they can to help save the life of the unborn.

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 present who were there to pray for their unborn child. Such success stories can have a strong impact on both the mother and child as well as the vigil participants. 

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