On this year's Lenten Forty Days for Life
The springtime Forty Days for Life vigil was ended unexpectedly this year, for the same reason that the churches closed their doors and the country went into an almost complete lock-down. It's hard to destroy the spirit, however, and the volunteers have continued their work of prayer and maintained lines of communication using the internet. The following is a series of testimonials from volunteers to the work that they do on behalf of mothers and babies.
Marie speaks about her personal experience:
"I have always been pro life but somehow missed the start of the 40 days for life first campaign in 2016. I wasn’t really aware of it until I was actually at the QMC for an appointment one day in April 2016 and, recognising someone there, decided to go over and see what was happening.
"I discovered that 40 days for life was an international movement which involved people signing up for an hour or more to pray outside the centre where abortion is being carried out. The prayer was both a vigil for the babies who had lost their life there and their wounded mothers, and petition prayer for an end to abortion. It took place annually, generally during lent for 12 hours a day for a period of 40 days in view of the biblical significance of this time.
"It took me a while to overcome a natural reticence to pray in public whilst wearing a sign saying “Pray to end abortion” but I gradually became convinced that this was something God was calling me to do.
"By 2019 I had joined the small band of prayer warriors who signed up to pray at the vigil site for an hour or two most days. sometimes I would be on my own but usually there would be two or three of us wearing our placards and praying the rosary or stations of the cross or other prayers We all had to sign the statement of peace and we agreed not to approach anyone or engage in conversation unless initiated by someone else.
"We had to be quite emotionally strong (the prayer definitely helped with that) as we did get some abuse, especially early in each campaign. As time went on however people became more positive and seemed to want to talk to us about abortion rather than just insult us. One interaction that particularly stands out for me occurred on the final Saturday of the 2019 vigil. A gentleman, possibly in his 60s saw our signs and said “yes. I support you 100% “ He made as if to go on then came back and told us his story. He said that he and his wife had followed the advice of doctors some years ago and done something they have regretted ever since and he dreaded meeting his maker. I reassured him that God is a loving and forgiving God.
"Other team members also reported some sad exchanges with men whose partners had had abortions in the past and they (the men) were still deeply affected by this. During the 2019 campaign we had some wonderful news. We discovered that the QMC and treatment Centre no longer carried out abortions. We don’t know why but believe in the power of prayer. After prayer and careful thought we decided that for 2020 we should move our campaign to Stapleford Care Centre where BPAS are carrying out abortions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have received a lot of opposition but also support and to be honest neither really affect me any more. I have drawn such strength from the prayer and a deep conviction that what we are doing is God’s will and that it really matters."
"This is my fifth year taking part in Forty Days for Life and now we have moved to Stapleford clinic because the abortion clinic at Queens Medical Centre has closed. Miracles do happen, Thank God.
"On one particular day, I happened to be alone at the vigil when a young lady approached me. Her first words were “well done you” to show her support. She then confided – she had an abortion at sixteen years and how she had wished we had been around to show her that there Is another way. No one had ever indicated there was. As she was sharing her sad experience with us, another lady came along and very angrily, told both us, “you shouldn’t be here, you are upsetting people.’ She proceeded to be rude and abusive. The first lady said, “Excuse me! I’m not with this group; I’m thanking the lady for what she is standing for here.’ The young lady said “you are the aggressive one here”. With this the pro- choice lady stomped off. The lady who approached me in the first place continued on her way, and I thought to myself that was another good day."
If you would like to know more about this global movement for ending abortion though the power of prayer and peaceful witness, please go to www.40daysforlife.com, where you can read about the amazing things that have been achieved through this simple witness.
Should you wish to know more about the activities of 40 Days for Life in our diocese, please send e-mail. The unborn are voiceless. We must be their voice.
'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.' (Matt. 25)
“ And one day when you enter heaven, these children who you witnessed for will be present to welcome you.”