October 23, 2015


Yes, prayers are helping build a culture of life

Sometimes we need evidence that our prayers are making a difference in someone’s life.

And when it comes to the pro-life movement, Respect Life Month seems like an appropriate time to learn firsthand how those petitions have moved hearts and changed minds.

For those of us who have spent time praying outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility or know someone who has, we recently heard of one such story in central and southern Indiana thanks to the national website for the 40 Days for Life campaign (40daysforlife.com).

As we have noted over the past several years, 40 Days for Life is an international campaign that takes place twice a year—in the spring and the fall—that seeks to end abortion through peaceful prayer vigils at abortion centers, and to raise community awareness of the consequences of abortion.

As reported on Day 20 (Oct. 12) of the current 40-day fall campaign which runs through Nov. 1, the national website shared the following vignette from outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Indianapolis at 8590 N. Georgetown Road:

“A man walked up to the volunteers praying outside Planned Parenthood in Indianapolis. ‘We thought he was coming to pray,’ said one of the vigil participants, ‘but tears were streaming down his face.’

“He told the group that he and his wife have a 3-month-old daughter. They were inside the abortion center last year at this time, saw people praying outside … and they left!

“The man explained that he works close by and had driven by the center many times, never thinking he would be in that situation. ‘What a blessing to see him come and tell us about his daughter,’ the vigil participant said.”

We also know that more than two dozen doctors attended a “Doctors for Life” rally in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 421 S. College Ave. in Bloomington on Sept. 26.

Nearly 200 people were at the event, including “28 local physicians who put their names out there as being pro-life, and committed to the protection of the unborn child. What an inspiration these doctors were to all of us!” reported local 40 Days for Life chairperson Monica Siefker, a member of St. John the Apostle Parish in Bloomington, on the national website.

Some of the doctors were photographed near a mobile help center that offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.

“As fruit from our 40 Days for Life campaigns, we announced that we are getting our own unit, paid for by a generous donor,” Siefker said. “We can’t wait to have it there regularly to help the women going in!”

Such affirming stories should energize us all, and give us a much-needed boost when we wonder if our pro-life efforts are shining a light on hearts that are being darkened by the prospect of abortion. They also help us understand how God’s providence works—in his time, not ours.

Volunteers are still welcome to sign up and pray at either the Indianapolis or Bloomington 40 Days for Life locations through Nov. 1.

At 9 a.m. on Oct. 24, Bloomington 40 Days for Life will host a march for life and a youth rally. The gathering begins at the Indiana University (IU) Arboretum with prayer. For more information on local 40 Days for Life campaigns, log onto 40daysforlife.com and click on “Locations.”

We know that 2014 marked the sixth consecutive year that the number of abortions declined in the United States. We agree with what Mark Tuttle, president of Right of Indianapolis, shared during the Sept. 29 “Celebrate Life” dinner in Indianapolis:

“I think it’s undeniable at this point that the momentum is on the side of the pro-life movement,” he told the nearly 1,000 people in attendance at the annual gathering.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, reminded us at the beginning of the month that we are called “to embrace each life for as long as it is given—our own lives and the lives of those [God] has placed in our path.”

May we always remember, as Cardinal O’Malley also noted in this year’s theme for Respect Life Month, that “every life is worth living.”

—Mike Krokos

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