Pastor Randy Schoof and Father Ron Hilt lead the vigil [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
For the second year in a row, the Pro-Life Action League held candlelight vigils in Chicago and Aurora, Illinois to mark the beginning of their 40 Days for Life campaigns.
The League’s executive director Eric Scheidler welcomed the crowd of over 70 pro-lifers and encouraged them with a reminder that, even though it is always sad to stand outside a building where babies are killed, we must have joyful hope as followers of Christ.
The vigil in Aurora was led by local clergymen Pastor Randy Schoof of Warehouse Church and Fr. Ron Hilt of St. George Byzantine Catholic Church. Pastor Randy and Fr. Ron led the faithful in an Ecumenical Prayer Service for Life which combines Scripture readings with prayers written by prominent pro-life leaders like Fr. Frank Pavone.
Pro-lifers pray by candlelight outside Planned Parenthood [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
As the candles burned low, Eric led the group in singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Amazing Grace” to close the service.
Chicago Vigil Draws Counter-Protesters
In Chicago, the lights at the Albany Medical/Surgical Center were still on when pro-lifers gathered for the 40 Days for Life Chicago kick-off on Wednesday evening. Near the clinic entrance on Elston Avenue, about eight pro-abortion counter-protesters huddled together holding signs reading “Trust Women“.
Meanwhile, along the parkway on Carmen Avenue, 100 pro-lifers, including several priests and a Knights of Columbus honor guard, gathered to begin the candlelight vigil.
Monsignor Robert Dempsey led the group in prayer as they offered the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary for an end to abortion. A band from Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life led the faithul in the hymn, “The Glory of These Forty Days”, after which everyone spread out to surround the clinic with their candles.
The faithful hold candles and pray in Chicago [Photo by Raymund Pingoy]
Although the pro-abortion opposition tried to disrupt the group’s praying with shouts and chants, the pro-lifers around the clinic were undeterred.
The vigil concluded with “Amazing Grace”, after which League national director Joe Scheidler asked the group to add a refrain of “Praise God” 14 times to the same tune to remind themselves that the purpose of 40 Days for Life—and, indeed, of life itself—is is to give praise to Our Lord. League vice president Ann Scheidler encouraged everyone to come back often throughout the next following 39 days, whether for a few minutes or a few hours.
The group slowly dispersed, but several remained to keep vigil, as hundreds of others will through November 1.