Pro-lifers pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Chicago [Photo by Raymund Pingoy]
For the second year in a row, the Pro-Life Action League hosted two 40 Days for Life Campaigns in northeastern Illinois: one at Albany Medical Surgical Center on Chicago’s northwest side and one at Planned Parenthood Aurora, one of the nation’s largest abortuaries.
Both 40 Days campaigns began September 23 with candlelight vigils led by pro-life clergy. In Aurora, Pastor Randy Schoof of Warehouse Church and Fr. Ron Hilt of St. George Byzantine Catholic Church led 80 pro-life faithful in an “Ecumenical Prayer Service for Life.” In Chicago, Msgr. Robert Dempsey led a group of 100—including a Knights of Columbus honor guard—in praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and surrounding the abortuary with their candles. A small a group of eight pro-abortion protestors huddled near the entrance holding signs reading “Trust Women.”
Two 40 Days Stategies
Different strategies were used for the two 40 Days for Life campaigns. For the Chicago campaign, the League worked with the Archdiocese of Chicago Respect Life Office and Illinois Right to Life to man a round-the-clock vigil for all 40 days. The Aurora campaign concentrated on covering the hours that Planned Parenthood was open with a strong prayer presence and sidewalk counselors.
Both campaigns were a tremendous success. Despite rain on nearly 30 of the 40 days, the Chicago campaign maintained a constant vigil, supplemented by the League’s new Life Witness Prayer Book, a major revision and expansion of the earlier Helper’s of God’s Precious Infants Prayer book. In Aurora, several new churches joined the prayer effort and the sidewalk counseling corps was increased. Many new faces were seen at both vigils.
Vigils’ End Also a Beginning
Aurora pro-lifers take part in the 3rd annual Jericho March [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
The Aurora campaign closed with a “Do-It Yourself” Pro-Life Concert with favorite hymns of praise and thanksgiving led by the League’s Eric Scheidler and Matt Yonke. The group dedicated the song “Spirit of the Living God” to stalwart activist John Thorne, who has been too critically ill to be involved in pro-life activities for the past year.
The Chicago campaign ended with a solemn Rosary led by Fr. Paul Kalchik of Resurrection Parish in Chicago. Of the small group of pro-abortion activists who had occasionally protested the Chicago campaign, only one remained at the finale.
We look forward to seeing many of the new faces from both 40 Days for Life vigils on the front lines with us throughout the year.