Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 4 - filling the days together

by gwen

Our parish kicked off Day 1 of the Spring 40DFL prayer campaign by covering the time slots from 9 am to 4 pm at the Kensington abortion clinic.  We were very happy when other people joined us and also came later so most of the day there was a visible witness for LIFE in front of the clinic.  There is an instant bond between pro-life people who meet by the clinic.  Some times there were more than four people with the overflow gladly moving into the designated area in the playground to pray, still keeping the clinic in view.  The best witness in defense of LIFE was a dad and a very pregnant mom who prayed while their little boys played in the playground with relatives.  It was the mom's due date.  We can only imagine how painful it was for them to witness mothers walking into the abortion clinic & choosing their babies due (death) date.


  1. i love this idea of a church or parish coming together - what a tender thing to gather together, being a physical presence at the abortion clinic and praying for people - whole families - who are in crisis. This particular parish has signed up for 3 full Wednesdays. Incredible.

    1. Do you think a sign-up sheet at our church would work? Even to cover a morning or something?

    2. i'd love to see that happen, Deborah! i know that what Gwen does (that obviously works) is she has a sheet and a sign in the foyer of her parish & talks to individuals - then she gets them to sign up on for their specific time slot on the vigil website. She has had a lot of success mobilizing people who are hesitant about what it looks like to pray for an hour.

    3. At my parish we had it announced in the bulletin and after Mass, there is a link to the 40 Day blog on the parish website,and our priest endorsed it as well at every Mass over 2 weekends (6 times in all).

      Then we had an information table in the church foyer with a sample sign, maps and vigil instructions, the peace pledge, copies of the devotionals from the official 40 Days website, and a sign up sheet with 40 days marked off. Volunteers marked the days they could attend along with the hours they'd be there.

      Then I put all the info into our online vigil calendar so others could see where we needed more coverage or when they could join others already there (some people don't want to go alone). I did not use people's real names - just prayer volunteer.

      I also have a dedicated 40 days email and cell phone number so they can contact me for more info. There is a home 2 minutes from the hospital where volunteers can pick up signs if they want. Our pro-life society had them made. They are 18 x 24 and have the 40 Day logo and website address. They can be held or hung around the neck (good when you are holding an umbrella or toddlers!)

      I also was allowed to make a brief presentation to our local ministerial association although this garnered little interest from what I can see. However, it made the ministers think about it for a few minutes - we have to start somewhere!

      I am a bit on the fence about notifying the newspaper. I've been interviewed by them before about a totally different topic and when the story was published I was mortified to see what they had written - I came off sounding like a complete moron! So unless I can write the story myself, as I did for our diocesan paper and the BC Catholic, I will wait for the newspaper to contact me instead of vice versa.

      If a little town like Terrace can do 40 Days (mind you, we do not and probably will never, have 24 hour coverage) then Calgary can certainly get the people out! God bless all your efforts!

    4. Those are some excellent suggestions! Thanks for your input! i think your statement about "starting somewhere" is huge. Those one on one conversations make big changes. i do believe that our city of a million should be able to have a 24 hour presence for the whole 40 days of the vigil & i'm believing for it to happen one day soon... for now though, we are sowing the seeds & encouraging believers to come & be changed by prayer. :) There are sure a lot of empty time slots on our calendar...

  2. Paige, two many people are terrified someone might ask them a question and they won't know the answer. All they know is that killing babies is wrong but they don't have the words to make their case. We need workshops that give us the skills to respond to the critics! I heard that there is such a thing in Calgary. Also a lot of people can't handle it when people make rude gestures at us or even shout at us although I've found we receive more negative reactions at Life Chain than 40 Days. Mabye because our signs are more subtle? I don't know.

    The other thing is that Pro-Life has to start at the top - your minister or priest can do so much to not only encourage and endorse but educate the people! Also I hear this (excuse) a lot - "I can't talk to the parish/congregation about abortion because I will hurt someone's feelings." OK, I believe that. HOWEVER, there is a way to do it that is pastoral and caring but gets the message out. Jesus didn't always say things that were easy and nice either but He did make His case about what is right and what is wrong. I suppose there will always be some people who try to find the loopholes.