Posted by Matt Yonke on Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Though the fall 40 Days for Life campaign kicked off yesterday nationwide, we got an early start here in Aurora, Illinois with an early opening ceremony last Saturday.
It was a beautiful morning as over 100 pro-lifers gathered on the vacant lot across from Planned Parenthood's mega-center, and Fr. Matt Lamoureux of St. Patrick Church in nearby Yorkville, Illinois opened the service in prayer.
Coordinators Kathleen Dietz and Karen Moore introduced themselves and welcomed local musician Karl Miles performed an original pro-life song.
40 Days for Life's Steve Karlan Shares His Story
40 Days for Life national representative Steve Karlen shared his story of getting involved in the campaign in Wisconsin, but his involvement had its roots right here in Aurora.
When Planned Parenthood entered Aurora under a cloud of controversy and deception back in 2007, the public outcry was explosive, and thousands came out to pray and protest. In the days before Planned Parenthood opened, Aurora activists took part in the very first 40 Days for Life campaign, which extended to 52 days when the clinic was kept shut nearly two weeks past their scheduled opening date due to pro-life opposition.
Steve was in the middle of moving his family to Wisconsin at the time and couldn't take part, but remembered being greatly inspired by the effort. When he settled in Madison, he took charge of the 40 Days campaign there, which thwarted plans to open a late-term abortion facility on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.
Post-Abortion Testimony and Sidewalk Counselors Inspire the Crowd
Silent No More Awareness Campaign representative Carol Rybacki shared her testimony of the hurt abortion had brought into her life and sidewalk counselors Connie Betz and Marie Sulita inspired the crowd to support counselors with their prayers and presence.
Sidewalk counselor Connie Betz inspires the crowd at Planned Parenthood Aurora. [Photo by Matt Yonke]
Sheryl Finn from Waterleaf Women's Center, our local pregnancy resource center, shared about the services they have to offer and the success they've had helping abortion minded women, and I was privileged to speak to the crowd, encouraging them go beyond signing up for an hour to pray, but also inviting one friend to take an hour as well, effectively doubling the impact of the opening ceremony.
Karl Miles closed the vigil with another song and Fr. Matt offered a final blessing.
Sign Up for YOUR Time to Pray During 40 Days for Life!
I was greatly encouraged to see a host of new faces among the stalwart friends who have been dedicated to prayer at Planned Parenthood Aurora. It's great to see God drawing new blood into the ranks, bringing with them the excitement and freshness of those just responding to the call.
If you're in the area, sign up for an hour to pray during the 40 Days for Life at Planned Parenthood Aurora. If you're somewhere else, find a location near you to take part, and wherever you are, and make prayer at your local clinic an ongoing part of your pro-life commitment!