April 5, 2013

40 Days for Life spring campaign opened eyes, saved lives

40 Days for Life participants rally in front of the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th St. and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis on March 3 to mark the spring campaign’s midpoint. (Submitted photo)

40 Days for Life participants rally in front of the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th St. and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis on March 3 to mark the spring campaign’s midpoint. (Submitted photo)

By Natalie Hoefer

Greg Breese shivered outside the abortion center in the minus 2 degree wind chill.

“The cold wind often forced me to turn my head away or close my eyes,” he said.

In retrospect, he realized this reaction was precisely how “so many of us in society have acted in regard to abortion,” turning heads or closing eyes.

Breese—and more than 800 people of various faiths—participated in the 40 Days for Life spring campaign during Lent. The purpose of the effort was to fast and pray—privately or in front of an abortion center—for an end to abortion. Through these efforts, 12 lives were known to have been saved from abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th St. and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis.

“There’s a real tragedy in what is happening—‘tragedy’ isn’t strong enough, maybe ‘holocaust,’ ” said Carol Feick, a 40 Days for Life participant and teacher at Lumen Christi Catholic School in Indianapolis. “When mothers kill life in the womb, there’s something desperately wrong, and we need to address it. Once God opens your eyes, you can’t resist the call to do something.”

Breese heard his call to act by listening to Catholic radio programs—but not before a time of conversion.

“I was pretty much a pew warmer most of my adult life,” said the member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. But after attending a Christ Renews His Parish renewal weekend at his parish in 2010, Breese felt called to learn more about the Catholic faith that he professed in 1989.

“I began listening to EWTN [Eternal Word Television Network] on Catholic radio,” he said. “Largely through their programs, I became aware that I could no longer remain silent on the holocaust being waged against innocent life.”

Like Breese, Feick grew in her understanding of the abortion tragedy through Catholic radio.

“Having truthful Catholic media is so important because we’re surrounded by the other,” she said. “It’s easy to get lost by what the other is saying.”

Breese, Feick and many others chose to witness by praying at the Planned Parenthood center during the 40 Days for Life spring campaign.

“Standing in front of Planned Parenthood is not something most Catholics are willing to do. I didn’t want to do it,” Breese admitted. “However if I do nothing, I believe I’m complicit in this evil affront to the sanctity of life which is a gift from God.”

Lisa Martin, a member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, also participated in the campaign by praying outside the Planned Parenthood facility.

“It’s completely non-confrontational. You can just stand there and pray. I like to hold a sign that says, ‘HONK if you are Pro-Life.’ Truck drivers who go by there usually honk, and I’m pretty sure they can hear it inside the center,” said Martin. “Just a little reminder that we are out there, and we are witnessing to what is going on inside.”

Members of the Pro-Life Club at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis came by bus several times during the campaign to pray at the Planned Parenthood center.

“At first, my sister dragged me into it,” admitted Chris Doak, a member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. “But before long I realized how much it helps, how people driving by see what we’re doing and know that we’re not condemning but urging for a correction.”

Chris is a senior at Cardinal Ritter and co-president of the school’s Pro-Life Club.

Abigail Ivers is also a Cardinal Ritter senior and co-president of the club. The member of St. Christopher Parish in Indianapolis sees joy in the pro-life movement.

“Every time that we go to something like this, every time we have those positive people honking,” she said, “it reopens my life to the happiness that is the pro-life movement.”

For Martin, the experience feels more somber.

“I truly believe that I am standing at the foot of the cross when I go there. I am witnessing to the culture of death—that it needs to stop.”
 

(For more information on the national 40 Days for Life campaign, go to www.40daysforlife.com.)

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