By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
A peaceful presence for 40 days, with a goal of ending abortion, began across the United States and the world Sept. 23 — including in Bettendorf, Iowa City and Fairfield in the Diocese of Davenport.
According to its website, 40 Days for Life is a “focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion.” The campaign’s mission is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity for the 40-day campaign. Participants seek repentance and God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life.
During a kickoff event in Bettendorf, a group gathered to pray and to encourage people to sign up for the campaign. Through Nov. 1, people are asked to pray where and when they are able: in front of an abortion clinic or at church, home, work or in the car.
A daily prayer intention has been designated for each day of the campaign. The Sept. 24 prayer intention was for pastors to not be distracted from their priority of caring for human lives. The intention for Oct. 2 was to pray for your local pregnancy help center.
Katherine Sabin oversaw the Bettendorf kickoff. She encouraged those in attendance to sign the statement of peace and to commit to prayer hours. Someone might choose, for example, to pray every Tuesday for an hour in front of Planned Parenthood. Hours and days can vary. She encouraged participants at the Bettendorf event to spread the word.
Sheryl Schwager, director of Johnson County Right to Life, oversees 40 Days in the Iowa City area. People are encouraged to pray in front of the Emma Goldman clinic there.
Both Sabin and Schwager remind people who pray in front of the clinics to not obstruct the driveways and sidewalks, to stay in the public right-of-way, to pursue peaceful solutions to the violence of abortion and to show compassion and reflect Christ’s love to all.
Those praying in Iowa City are encouraged to stop at the Newman Catholic Student Center, a block from Emma Goldman. People can pick up map cards, brochures and signs for the pro-life Informed Choices Medical Clinic.
In Fairfield, Jefferson County Right to Life supporters placed crosses outside Immanuel Lutheran Church to mark the 40 days.
For more information on 40 Days for Life, visit www.40daysforlife.com. To sign up for prayer times for any location, visit the website and click on the city nearest to you.