October 19, 2012

‘40 Days for Life’ campaign aims to convert hearts, end abortion

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary parishioners Tamara Richards, left, and her father, Kevin Richards, of Indianapolis hold a pro-life sign as they pray in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Indianapolis on Sept. 26 as part of the fall rally for the “40 Days for Life” campaign. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary parishioners Tamara Richards, left, and her father, Kevin Richards, of Indianapolis hold a pro-life sign as they pray in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Indianapolis on Sept. 26 as part of the fall rally for the “40 Days for Life” campaign. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Mary Ann Garber

Trust in the Lord to strengthen our pro-life efforts in the battle against the forces of darkness, Evangelical Orthodox Bishop Joshua Beecham of Greenwood told “40 Days for Life” participants during a Sept. 26 rally in front of Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion center.

“The enemy works primarily through deception, through the perpetuation of lies,” said Bishop Beecham, senior pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Evangelical Orthodox Church in Greenwood.

He was the keynote speaker for the opening rally of the fall “40 Days for Life” campaign in Indianapolis, which brought people of many faith communities together to pray for an end to abortion.

Nationally, about 200 unborn babies’ lives have been saved in recent weeks by “40 Days for Life” volunteers who convinced mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies to choose life for their children.

The national fall prayer vigil outside abortion centers in 440 cities continues through Nov. 4.

Roncalli High School football team members were among the teenagers who gathered for a youth rally on Oct. 13 outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 8590 N. Georgetown Road.

During the opening rally, Bishop Beecham reminded the large gathering of pro-life supporters that, “Our job is to destroy the lies by boldly speaking the truth [about abortion] with hearts of mercy and love.

“Some of us do that as a last-ditch effort [as pro-life sidewalk counselors] outside abortion clinics,” he said. “Not all of us are called to that [ministry]. Some do it through mass educational efforts. Some through lobbying for changes in public policies. Some by [helping] abortion-minded women and those who have changed their minds, and providing them with assistance. Some through helping to heal those who have had abortions, who then become advocates for life themselves.”

These positive changes take place at the grassroots level, Bishop Beecham said, when pro-life supporters lovingly communicate the Gospel of Life to abortion-minded people who need conversion of mind and heart.

“All of us must be willing in casual conversations to lovingly and unashamedly challenge our friends, co-workers, neighbors and family members,” he said. “Most importantly, the greatest work we do in all of this is the work that we do on our knees—or in this case on our feet—in intercession before God.”

The best way to honor the lives of the 55 million unborn babies who have died in legalized abortions is to remain steadfast in our prayers, Bishop Beecham said, and continue our pro-life efforts against the culture of death.

“We must not be shaken by the enormity of the task or by any temporary victories of the evil one,” he said, because our unwavering resolve is “what the enemy fears the most.”

St. John Vianney parishioner Timothy O’Donnell of Fishers, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, a coordinator for the fall “40 Days for Life” prayer campaign in Indianapolis, reminded the gathering that they are saving lives and souls by their prayerful presence in front of the abortion center.

“We’re here because we love,” O’Donnell said. “We love the babies. We love the mothers. We love the fathers.”

Because of the national ecumenical prayer vigil twice a year, he said, “there have been over 23 abortion facilities closed, and we’ve had more [pro-life] news coverage than ever before.

“Every person who is here is responding to a particular call that God has placed in your hearts,” O’Donnell said. “It’s not an accident that you’re here. God wanted you to be here now to make a difference in the lives of others. We prove our love for Christ by doing his will. … During this campaign, we can expect to save dozens and dozens of lives that would otherwise be lost if not for you being here.”
 

(For information about ways to participate in the fall “40 Days for Life” campaign in Indianapolis, log on to www.40daysforlife.com/Indianapolis.)

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