By Anne Marie Amacher
The annual “40 Days for Life” fall campaign begins Sept. 25 and concludes Nov. 3.
The national campaign “is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion,” states the 40 Days website.
Its mission is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity, seeking God’s favor to help turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life and bringing an end to abortion.
Pro-life activists in the Quad-City and Iowa-City areas will have a presence in front of abortion clinic sites during 40 Days for Life.
Jeanne Wonio, organizer for the Quad Cities 40 Days, said a kickoff prayer rally will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 25 on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, 2751 Tech Dr., Bettendorf. The prayer service will be led by Patrick McCauley of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.
Wonio said Quad-City campaigns have been held since 2007. In the past, the Quad-City group partnered with Iowa Right to Life of Des Moines. This year, the Quad-City group is partnering with Quad City Right to Life (QCRTL), which covers the Iowa and Illinois Quad-City area. “We plan to keep people updated through the national website and QCRTL instead of using only the Iowa Right to Life website, although we will be on that one also.” Updates include number of participants needed, reports from other participating sites and more.
People are asked to commit an hour a week during the campaign to pray in their homes, in church or on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, Wonio said. “We have had good coverage in the past, but with many people praying from home. This fall we are encouraging people to come to the sidewalk if at all possible. It is important to bring a prayer partner and to dress appropriately for the weather.”
Each participant will be asked to sign a statement of peace, pledging to behave in a Christ-like manner at all times. “We have never had any trouble during the past campaigns and don’t expect any trouble in the future. Our vigil will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.”
Judee Albert, past executive director of Johnson County Right to Life (JCRTL), said that organization joined the campaign in fall 2009. “We asked people to sign up for an hour to pray, but not on the sidewalk. People could choose to pray from home, to make a holy hour or to participate in whatever way they wanted to observe that hour of prayer.”
By spring 2011, JCRTL committed to a limited number of hours on the sidewalk, but was not considered an official 40 Days site. “In the spring of 2012 we swallowed our fear and submitted our application to become an official 40 Days site, scheduling 12 hours per day, seven days per week, on the sidewalk. We have been an official site ever since and have seen slow and steady growth in participation,” Albert said.
Johnson County Right to Life will participate in the fall 2013 campaign, said Sheryl Schwager, JCRTL executive director.
From Sept. 25-Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. the group plans to be outside the Emma Goldman Clinic, 227 N. Dodge St., Iowa City.
To sign up to pray visit www.40daysforlife.com/bettendorf for the Quad Cities or http://vigilcalendar.com/iowacity for Johnson County. Forms will be on site in Bettendorf as well.
For more Quad-Cities information contact Wonio at email@example.com or (563) 355-4188. For Johnson County information, contact Schwager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 855-8475.
For general information on 40 Days for Life, visit www.40daysforlife.com.
By Anne Marie Amacher