February 22, 2013

40 Days for Life spring campaign begins in Indianapolis

Pro-life advocates process and pray from the Movie Buff Theater at 86th Street and Michigan Road to the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis to launch the 40 Days for Life spring campaign on Feb. 10. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Pro-life advocates process and pray from the Movie Buff Theater at 86th Street and Michigan Road to the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis to launch the 40 Days for Life spring campaign on Feb. 10. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Scott Cunningham’s voice remained mostly steady as he told the story of a young woman, a junior at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, who became pregnant.

His voice held as he told how, with the support of her family, a couple was found to adopt the baby. The baby, a boy, was born on July 4, 1969.

At that point, Cunningham paused. His voice choked as he continued.

“He is the man speaking before you now. And I would not be speaking before you and praying with you if that woman and her family had not believed in the sanctity of life.”

Cunningham, state secretary for the Indiana Knights of Columbus, spoke before more than 200 people gathered at the Movie Buff Theater in Indianapolis on Feb. 10. They were there to watch October Baby, a film that tells the story of a young woman who discovers she is the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.

The showing of the movie was sponsored by St. Monica Knights of Columbus Council #11927 as part of the 40 Days for Life spring campaign kickoff. The actual campaign runs from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, through Palm Sunday, March 24.

Timothy O’Donnell, a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Fishers, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, is a member of the 40 Days for Life leadership team. He explained the 40 Days for Life spring campaign. “We’re coordinating efforts around prayer, fasting and community outreach . . . about abortion, trying to activate people, to engage people and parishes for this prayer vigil for the next 40 days.”

Praying—not protesting—at an abortion center is one of the key elements of the campaign.

“I think some people think we come out here to protest, and that’s not correct,” said Jane Pollom, 40 Days for Life coordinator at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis. “We are here to pray, to be a loving presence, to change hearts.”

Todd Kowinski, grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council #11927, agreed. “We’re not going to stop the abortion industry at home by ourselves. We can only do that as a community. When we speak as a community, people take us seriously.”

The need for a community to present a prayerful presence is made obvious by statistics cited by 40 Days for Life volunteer Jim Recasner before the film.

According to Recasner, the Center for Disease Control lists the highest cause of death as heart disease, taking about 600,000 lives a year. However, the loss of life to abortion in one year in the U.S. is more than double that number—1.3 million unborn babies.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in Indiana. The Planned Parenthood facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis is the focal point of the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil. Many people who watched the film joined a prayer procession from the theater to the abortion center. A short prayer and song service at Planned Parenthood followed the march.

Among the marchers were Zach, Owen and Lauren Duckett, members of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis and the children of Jackie and Zach Williams. They are participating for the third year in the 40 Days for Life spring kickoff and campaign. The children attend Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis.

Zach, a high school junior, summarizes the importance of his involvement in the pro-life movement.

“I think life is a very important thing to defend, from conception to death,” he said. “Without life, nothing else matters.”
 

(For more information about the 40 Days for Life spring prayer vigil in central Indiana, log on to the campaign’s website at www.40daysforlife.com/indianapolis.)

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