David Bereit, the national leader of 40 Days for Life, has explained that there are three vital components to this pro-life effort. They are, quite simply, prayer and fasting, constant vigil outside abortion mills and public outreach. This three-pronged approach has impressed many, including Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota.
Bishop Aquila recently wrote a beautiful letter to his priests imploring them to spend just one hour outside an abortion clinic and to encourage their parishioners to join them. Bishop Aquila wrote,
The 40 Days for Life North Dakota campaign will soon begin again, running from Sept. 22 through Oct. 31. I know what a busy time this is for you in the parishes, yet I ask that you schedule one more very important thing on your calendar: your hour of prayer outside the abortion facility. I encourage you to tell your parishioners when that hour will be so that they may join you, or pray in union with you from wherever they may be at that time. You can sign up for your hour of prayer by calling (701) 356-7979 in Fargo or (701) 284-6601 in Park River, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by going online at www.40daysforlifend.com.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, I will lead our annual Eucharistic procession to the abortion facility, the Walk with Christ for Life. Because the Walk begins at a later time of day this year (at 4:30 p.m., following a 3:30 p.m. Mass) and precedes Presbyterate Days, I hope that you will be able to join me. Then, near the end of the 40 Days for Life campaign, on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., I will again pray outside of the abortion facility. This time of prayer will follow our Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting; thus I will invite representatives from your deaneries who attend the meeting to join me in prayer, if they are able.
Please make every effort to encourage your parishioners to pray and fast during the 40 Days for Life North Dakota campaign. Youth groups, men’s and women’s groups, and many individuals have been blessed by the sacrifices they have made as witnesses to the dignity of all human life.
May God bless you in the weeks ahead and may the Holy Spirit help you and the faithful persevere in prayer and fasting for the conversion of those who choose to deny the truth of the dignity of the unborn.
The Bishop’s letter resounds with the love and charity of a good shepherd who is inspiring his priests by his own works to do likewise—not only in the hope of saving lives but, more importantly, perhaps saving souls. Conversions often take place, according to the many testimonies we have heard and seen, thanks to the dedication of so many during these special 40 days.
There are many who may need a conversion of heart but, because of a recent statement, one public figure especially comes to mind. Speaking of the decriminalization of abortion brought about by Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience a few months ago, “Over a generation of young women have grown up, understanding they can control their own reproductive capacity, and in fact their life’s destiny. We will never go back to the way it once was.”
Ginsburg, like so many others, has not yet recognized the power of prayer, fasting and commitment to charity and justice for one and all, born and preborn. We will add Justice Ginsburg to our prayer and fasting list and, when 40 Days for Life begins next week, we will kneel and ask the Lord to bless her with conversion of heart for, indeed, the power of God defies man’s insolence over and over again.
Join us, won’t you! We know there’s a 40 Days for Life event where you live. To learn more and to find where you can participate, go to http://40daysforlife.com/about.cfm.