40 Days for Life campaign to include prayer, witness

By Anne Marie Amacher

Members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf were among more than 125 people who took part in a Life Chain Oct. 2, 2011, along Middle Road in Bettendorf.

Three sites in the Diocese of Davenport will participate in the biannual 40 Days for Life, a pro-life effort that includes prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach.
According to the national 40 Days for Life website (www.40daysforlife.com), the campaign “takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families.” The ultimate goal is to bring about an end to abortion.
Pro-life groups in Bettendorf, Fairfield and Iowa City have planned 40 Days for Life activities this fall. The pro-life campaign is “a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion,” says Jeanne Wonio, coordinator for the Quad-City area 40 Days for Life. “We ask for God’s forgiveness and seek his favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life.”
The Quad-City campaign opens Sept. 26 with prayer at the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf from 3:30-4:30 p.m. During the campaign, supporters are asked to pray on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood’s clinic across the street from the Women’s Choice Center.
Hours that need to be covered in prayer are Mondays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and the third Saturday of October from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The campaign closes Nov. 3 with prayer.
“Please commit to spending an hour a week, at home or on the sidewalk,” Wonio asks pro-life supporters. To sign up, contact her by email at wonio jeanne@gmail.com or call her at (563) 355-4188.
Also, the Women’s Choice Center will sponsor the annual Life Chain along Middle Road on Oct. 7 from 1:30-3 p.m.
Jefferson County Right to Life will kick off its campaign Sept. 26 by placing 135 white crosses in Immanuel Lutheran Church’s yard, said Karen Crossland of the pro-life group. “This number represents the approximate number of lives lost to abortion every hour in the United States.” Following the placement of cross will be a walking taco supper. Sarah Lindley, co-director of Ottumwa’s Heartland Pregnancy Center will speak, and a history of 40 Days for Life will be shared.
St. Mary Parish in Fairfield will recite the rosary before all daily Masses from Oct. 1-7. Adoration will be held Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The intention of the 10 a.m. Mass on Oct. 7 will be for an end to abortion and healing for anyone involved with abortion. The Knights of Columbus has reinstalled the Memorial Stone for the Unborn on St. Mary Church grounds.
Also Oct. 7, the annual Life Chain will be held from 2-3 p.m. in downtown Fairfield. From Oct. 8-12, the basement meeting room of the First National Bank will be available for public use from noon to 1 p.m. for silent prayer. Foursquare Church will host events in support of 40 Days for Life from Oct. 14-20. The Friends Church will host events from Oct. 21-27. Word of Life Lutheran Church will host events from Oct. 28-Nov. 4. That church also will hold the closing program Nov. 4. The crosses will be taken down at Immanuel Lutheran.
“We hope by having various churches ‘owning’ a week of the 40 Days we will get more people involved and aware of what 40 Days is all about,” Crossland said.  “I know that truly great results come from people standing on the front lines and engaging the women entering the abortion facilities, but thank God, we don’t have a Planned Parenthood or abortion-performing facility in town. We truly believe in the power of prayer, and know that by adding our prayer and fasting to that of everyone participating in the fall 40 Days, God will hear and bless all our efforts.”
Johnson County Right to Life will undertake a dramatic increase in its vigil presence during the 40 Days campaign, said Judee Albert of the pro-life group.
“It became an issue of relinquishing our illusion of ‘control’ by keeping the vigil schedule to a number of hours we felt we could definitely fill, fearing that not filling the schedule would equate failure. I kept feeling that God was asking, ‘Why are you boxing me in? Why would you limit your success because of fear of failure? Can doing my will ever be considered a failure?’  So, I held my breath and ran it past my board of directors, and with some trepidation we decided to go for it,” she said.
Prayers will be in front of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week during the Sept. 26-Nov. 4 campaign. “So now it’s time to rally the troops!  We need to pray and fast like never before. We need to put ourselves out there like never before.”
Anyone interested in signing up can do so on the Johnson County Right to Life page of the 40 Days website http://vigilcalendar.com/iowacity/login/login_page. For more information, contact Albert at (319) 325-4026 or judee-albert@jcrtl.org.

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