40 Days for Life campaign to begin 11th year of
bringing hope to end the scourge of abortion

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Since 2001, the month of September has conjured up memories of the evils that man can perpetrate against fellow human beings, with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that year.

But in 2008 a group of faithful diocesan Catholics began taking part in a world-wide movement known as “40 Days for Life” ; a mobilization of human beings with the purpose of praying and fasting to end the scourge of abortion. It’s become a ray of sunshine, hope and encouragement, not meant to overshadow the horrors of 2001, but to give witness to the good mankind can do to and for its brothers and sisters.

On September 26, 40 Days for Life Attleboro will begin its 11th year of joining countless other Pro-Life advocates across the world to end the senseless killing of infants in the womb everywhere, including in Attleboro, which is home to the only remaining facility in the Diocese of Fall River that performs abortion: Four Women Clinic at 150 Emory Street.

“40 Days for Life is a peaceful, highly-focused, non-denominational initiative that focuses on 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach,” said Ron Larose, coordinator of the local campaign. “The 40-day time frame is drawn from examples throughout Biblical history. We pray that these efforts will help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in Attleboro.”

“40 Days for Life has generated proven life-saving results since its beginning in 2004 in Bryan/College Station, Texas,” said Shawn Carney, national president of 40 Days for Life. “During 22 previous coordinated campaigns, 769 communities have participated in this effort. More than 750,000 people — representing some 19,000 churches — have committed to pray and fast. And we know of at least 14,643 unborn children whose lives were spared from abortion during 40 Days for Life campaigns.”

Locally, the prayers and fasting efforts have made a mark on the abortion killing machine. “We know 40 Days for Life has made a difference in our local area,” Larose told The Anchor. “Our volunteers have made extraordinary sacrifices to expose the abortion industry and to protect children and their mothers from abortion. Here are just a few of the positive results of previous Attleboro campaigns:

— 12 babies saved from abortion;

— more than 30 churches and other faith-based organizations participate, and;

— more than 200 volunteers have contributed 500 hours of service to the community.”

Larose also told The Anchor that the local campaign is seeking individuals to volunteer. “Please take the time to sign up for vigil time in the public right-of-way outside the clinic in Attleboro, on our website at www.40daysforlife.com/attleboro,” he said. “All prayer vigil participants are asked to sign a statement of peace, pledging to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner at all times.” Vigil hours during the 40 days, ending on November 4, are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Participants are asked to gather in the public Angell Park across the street from the clinic complex entrance. Parking is available on any of the side streets abutting the park and the clinic complex.

The national 40 Days for Life website (40daysforlife.com) explains how the campaign began: 

“In 1998, Planned Parenthood opened an abortion center in Bryan/College Station. People of faith rallied against it, but in time the office was built and Planned Parenthood opened.

“Each year, the goal of ending abortion in the Brazos Valley seemed to slip further away. But four members of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life realized they needed to ask God how He would have them end abortion in their community. So in 2004, they gathered around an old wooden table for an hour of prayer.

“During that hour of prayer, they found themselves drawn to the time-frame of 40 days — a time-frame God consistently uses throughout Salvation history to transform His people. 

“As that hour of prayer progressed, the four individuals felt themselves called to launch a 40-day campaign of prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a constant peaceful vigil to end abortion. They also vowed that even if no one else would join them, together they would cover the entire 40-day, 960-hour, around-the-clock vigil.

“Finally, they gave their new project a name: 40 Days for Life.

“The campaign results exceeded all expectations. In less than six weeks, more than 1,000 new volunteers helped ensure all 960 hours of the vigil were covered. A grassroots, door-to-door effort reached more than 25,000 households. The campaign made local, state and national news. And the local abortion rate dropped by 28 percent.”

“Since the inaugural 40 Days for Life campaign began in Texas, volunteers have taken part in 5,605 local campaigns  encompassing 50 countries. In addition, 177 abortion workers have quit their jobs and 96 abortion centers have closed.”

The results have been astounding, and the website continues: “By the grace of God, 40 Days for Life has achieved a stunning track record of life-saving results since launching in 2007 and rapidly becoming a worldwide movement.”

Larose also told The Anchor of several Pro-Life activities occurring in or near the Diocese of Fall River, and strongly urged folks to attend any or all if they are able.

On September 23 there will be a kick-off prayer service hosted by the Boston campaign at the Betania II Center, 154 Summer Street in Medway. The event begins at 4 p.m. with a Mass celebrated by Father Michael McNamara. The guest speaker at 5 p.m. is 40 Days for Life president and CEO, Shawn Carney. There is no charge for the event. Refreshments will follow.

The Attleboro 40 Days for Life will kick off with a prayer service on September 28 at Angell Park at 8 a.m. followed by a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 71 Linden Street, Attleboro.

The annual Abundant Hope Celebrate Life Fund-raising Dinner will take place on September 27 at 6 p.m. at Lake Pearl Luciano’s in Wrentham. Visit www.ahprc.org for more information.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts