40 Days bus rolling into Iowa
By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — The national 40 Days for Life campaign is traveling 18,500 miles by bus this year to help communities across the country pray for an end to abortion.
In its inaugural journey, the campaign planned rally stops in all 50 states. The Iowa rally will take place in Iowa City on Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in St. Mary Parish’s parking lot. Additionally, the bus will stop at selected prayer vigil locations during its Sept. 28-Nov. 6 tour, hitting 128 cities in all.
“We hope the bus tour will inspire more people to come out and pray peacefully for life than ever have before,” said Steve Karlen, director of North American campaigns for 40 Days for Life. He said the organization was inspired to organize the tour based on the current political climate which does not necessarily support the rights of families and the unborn.
“But we’ve also seen abortion centers closing at record rates, the abortion rate dropping every year, and public opinion being more pro-life than ever before.” He said 40 Days for Life wanted to mobilize pro-life individuals and encourage them in their efforts. The 40 Days for Life campaign as a whole encourages prayer and fasting, community outreach and constant peaceful vigils outside abortion centers.
Each rally stop will last about an hour and include testimonies from two speakers. In Iowa City, Rachel Owens of Informed Choices-Iowa City and Roxie Richard from Silent No More awareness campaign are set to speak.
The campaign has been met with a few obstacles so far, including bad weather and pro-choice protesters. But Karlen said the response to the campaign has been tremendous. Four abortion clinics in Delaware and New Jersey closed for the day when they found out the campaign was stopping for a prayer vigil, he said.
“There’s just enthusiasm everywhere. We have people signing the side of the bus to show support. In the middle of driving rain and storm sirens, we didn’t think people would show up, but they have and it is wonderful,” Karlen said.
Vigil participants peacefully pray for life
By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — 40 Days for Life offered up prayers Sept. 28 for women and their partners facing an unplanned pregnancy, for those working in the abortion industry, for those working at pro-life facilities and others impacted by abortion.
The kickoff prayer service for 40 Days for Life was held in the front parking lot of Women’s Choice Center. 40 Days for Life is held twice a year; the fall campaign continues through Nov. 6 in the United States and around the world. The event focuses on prayer for an end to abortion and to unite Christians.
John and Tracey Jacobsen of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport opened the vigil in Bettendorf. They prayed for fathers of the unborn and for women who have had an abortion to seek a conversion of heart. The gathering of about 40 people sang “I Love You Lord.” After a scriptural reading, several women, mainly from various Heritage Church locations in the Quad-Cities area, continued prayers for post-abortive women and men, redemption, healing, for church outreach and more.
Katherine Sabin, organizer of the Bettendorf event, prayed for Planned Parenthood workers in Bettendorf, in Iowa and throughout the country. She wore a shirt that stated, “We Care for You Too.” Vicki Tyler, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center, said the center was built in response to Planned Parenthood’s arrival in the Quad Cities years ago.
“There will be a day when there will be a ‘for sale’ sign over there,” she said, pointing to Planned Parenthood across the street. “I’m not sure how we will do it, but we will buy that building and make it into a center.” She envisions offering daycare and instruction for women to earn their general education degree (GED) and to acquire other skills to help them provide for their families. “We would redeem that property as a center for life.”
The Rev. Charlie Farrell, pastor of Community Hope, Prince of Peace Church in Davenport, prayed over Tyler and Liz Ryan of Pregnancy Resources Center in Davenport and Moline, Ill. The two pro-life organizations work and pray with each other. He prayed for the women, staff and volunteers who keep the facilities open and for continued support for both organizations. He also prayed for their two mobile medical units which travel in the community to women who cannot come to the centers. “Miracles happen,” Rev. Farrell said.
Attendees were encouraged to sign up for prayer times for 40 Days for Life. Prayer can be done at home, in front of Planned Parenthood or at the Women’s Choice Center. Sign up at www.40daysforlife.com/bettendorf.
Johnson County Right to Life also is sponsoring 40 Days for Life. Prayers are held at home and along the public sidewalk outside the Emma Goldman facility in Iowa City. Sign up through www.40daysforlife.com/iowacity.