September 22, 2017


40 Days for Life, Life Chain allow us to follow Mary’s example of discipleship

As Catholic Christians, we have a special relationship with our Blessed Mother.

Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, but she is also the mother of the Church and our mother, a brave, young woman who answered God’s call to live out her vocation by giving birth to the Savior of the world.

Like many of us, her life included joys and sorrows. As Pope Francis said during a Mass on Sept. 15 commemorating the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Mary was a courageous woman who stood by Jesus even when the crowds turned against him and even though she knew he would face a tragic death.

But despite challenges, the pope added, she followed Jesus the whole time, which is why “we say that Mary is the first disciple.”

Because the Church recognizes October as a month dedicated to Mary and also as Respect Life Month, we believe it is also appropriate to mark the fall 40 Days for Life campaign during this time.

This year’s campaign, which runs from Sept. 27-Nov. 5, is an international effort that seeks to end abortion through peaceful prayer vigils at abortion centers, and to raise community awareness of the consequences of abortion. An annual 40 Days for Life campaign also occurs each spring.

As you’ll read on in this week’s issue of The Criterion, during the 40-day campaigns, individuals silently pray during one-hour time slots in front of abortion centers around the world.

According to Sean Carney, president of 40 Days for Life, this year’s fall campaign is the largest ever with people offering their prayerful witness in 375 cities around the world. Talk about the power of prayer!

This six-week period offers each of us a grace-filled opportunity to offer special petitions to end abortion. There are 40 Days for Life sites located in central and southern Indiana and around the surrounding region for those interested in prayerfully standing up for life. All campaigns are in need of volunteers to sign up to pray.

The Central Indiana 40 Days for Life campaign will take place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 8590 Georgetown Road, in Indianapolis.

A kickoff rally will take place at St. John the Evangelist Church, 126 W. Georgia St., in Indianapolis, at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, featuring Father Rick Nagel, the parish’s pastor.

For more information or to sign up to pray, contact Debra Minott at 317-709-1502 or

In Bloomington, the 40 Days for Life campaign will take place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 421 S. College Ave. For more information or to sign up to pray, contact Monica Siefker, 812-330-1535 or 812-345-7988, or

For more information or to sign up at other sites, log onto and click on “Find a Campaign.”

While the 40 Days for Life campaign focuses on ending abortion, we Christians are called to respect all human life, from conception to natural death.

The annual Respect Life Mass and various Life Chain events on Respect Life Sunday—the first Sunday of each October—give us more opportunities to do just that.

The archdiocesan Annual Respect Life Sunday Mass will take place at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 1. Msgr. William F. Stumpf, vicar general, will be the principal celebrant of the Mass.

Later that day, Life Chain events will also take place throughout central and southern Indiana.

Life Chains are peaceful and prayerful public witnesses of individuals standing for 60-90 minutes praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. According to its website, it is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

Several Life Chain gathering are being held throughout central and southern Indiana. See a list here, or go to for more information about locations.

Like Mary, we are called to be disciples of Christ. And as we learn through our Blessed Mother, discipleship does not always offer us an easy path.

As we approach October, we pose this question: What better time is there to follow Mary’s example than during a month when we remember her and honor her faithful commitment?

—Mike Krokos

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