League holds closing ceremonies for two 40 Days for Life campaigns

Chicago 40 Days closing ceremony

Joe Scheidler talks to pro-lifers at the closing ceremonies at Albany

Forty-five prayer warriors gathered for the final hour of prayer at Albany/Family Planning Associates clinic on Chicago’s northwest side.

The Pro-Life Action League held closing events for the “40 Days for Life” prayer vigils this weekend in Chicago and in Aurora, IL.

Rosary and Church Bells at Albany

Larry and Marge Theriault of the Illinois Knights of Columbus and Margie Hermano, representing Couples for Christ, assisted Joe and Ann Scheidler in leading the rosary and the Day 40 prayer from the 40 Days for Life website.

Participants were invited to share their own experiences and reflections of coming out to pray at the abortion clinic. Among the stories: a woman stopped by to report that ten years ago she had come to that clinic for an abortion. Sidewalk counselors were there and directed her to the Women’s Center. She is grateful for her ten year old daughter.

Chicago 40 Days closing ceremony

The faithful pray the rosary

Another woman came and asked for information about 40 Days and reported that she was scheduled for an abortion at Albany five years ago. Again, by the grace of God, a sidewalk counselor was able to help her choose life.

A man who had never been involved before joined because some co-workers who disliked him because he was a Christian, had circulated his photo with the caption “This is why we need abortion.” That turned him into a pro-life activist.

Several neighbors came out to join the prayer vigil and would love to see the clinic close for good.

As the 7:00 chimes rang out from the Slovak Lutheran Church across the street from the abortion clinic, the group brought to a close 960 hours of continuous prayer at Albany.

Two Events Close Aurora Vigil

Jericho March 2008

A battalion of pro-lifers march and pray

The 40 Days campaign in Aurora ended with two events, the 2nd Annual “Jericho March” on Saturday morning, and a “Do-It-Yourself” pro-life concert on Sunday afternoon.

The Jericho March was one of the most successful events to take place during the dynamic early months of the League’s fight against Planned Parenthood in mid-September 2007.

This year’s Jericho March, led by the League’s Eric Scheidler and Matt Yonke, was held this past Saturday, November 1, “All Saints Day” in many Christian traditions. Some 120 pro-life marchers circled Planned Parenthood’s block in seven “battalions”, echoing the seven circuits of Jericho by the armies of Joshua.

Many of the marchers made the 1.25 mile trek two or three times—especially when word went out that sidewalk counselor Roger Earl was in the midst of counseling an abortion-bound mother and father.

The couple arrived about halfway through the Jericho March, and for about ten minutes, Roger knelt by the side of their vehicle talking to them. Eventually a squad car showed up and told Roger he’d have to move off the roadway.

Jericho March 2008

Eric Scheidler leads the faithful in prayer

The car pulled into Planned Parenthood’s lot and those watching from “home base” down at the corner on Oakhurst felt their hearts sink—until they saw that the couple was only using the parking lot to turn around. They drove into the lot behind Blockbuster, where Roger continued to talk to them.

Eric Scheidler asked those assembling for the next battalion to focus their prayers on Roger and this couple. Two more battalions went out with the same marching orders.

Finally, as the marchers were gathering for a closing prayer, Roger came up and told us that the couple had decided to keep their baby and were on their way to a pregnancy resource center for a free ultrasound. His face was a portrait of joy as he thanked us for the special prayers.

After the sixth battalion joined the other marchers at home base, Eric shared the great news that their prayers had been answered. The faithful sang “Amazing Grace” together—now the traditional final hymn for all Aurora vigils and protests—and then several dozen volunteers joined Eric and Matt in the seventh, final battalion.

Special thanks to Fr. Dong Bui of Ss. Peter and Paul in Naperville and Pastor Jeff Moore of First Presbyterian Church in Aurora for helping to lead the prayers, and to Roger for reaching out to this couple with words of hope and love.

The League Brings Song to Planned Parenthood Aurora

Pro-Lifers sing outside Planned Parenthood Aurora

Eric Scheidler leads pro-lifers in hymns at Planned Parenthood

Sunday, November 2, was the final day of the “40 Days for Life” prayer vigil and it ended in grand fashion.

The closing ceremony was a “Do-It-Yourself Pro-Life Concert”. Pro-lifers gathered in the vacant lot across the street from Planned Parenthood bringing musical instruments and their favorite hymns to thank God for His kindness to us over the course of the vigil and the last year of battling Planned Parenthood in Aurora.

Forty pro-lifers who had given their time and energy during the vigil came out for the concert with guitars, whistles, maracas, a mandolin and all their beautiful voices. Songs ranged from traditional hymns to bluegrass spirituals to modern praise choruses, all glorifying our God for His faithfulness to us.

The concert was another beautiful example of the amazing way God has brought people from a huge array of faith traditions together to share in His work. To see such a diverse group of Christians singing together is a rare and special thing.

The concert closed with the hymn that has come to mean so much to those involved in the fight here Aurora, Amazing Grace.

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