Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 23, 2009
Edmontonians keep vigil for 40 Days for Life
WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Greg and Monica Williams and their family take part in the 40 Days for Life campaign.
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — People on fire for an important cause have not been driven away by freezing temperatures.
“We decided to just bundle up,” said Monica Williams, red-faced and shivering in the cold as she paced the pavement across from an Edmonton abortion clinic.
As part of the 40 Days for Life campaign, she and her husband Greg, along with their family, committed an hour March 11 to praying and fasting for an end to abortion.
“We just wanted to come and pray for mothers considering abortion, and praying God will heal them,” said Williams.
RIGHT TO LIFE
The campaign is a grassroots method of awakening the city to the idea that everyone, including the unborn, has the right to life. From Feb. 25 to April 5, 12 hours a day, people like the Williams family have been keeping peaceful vigil at Women’s Health Options abortion clinic (12409-109A Ave.).
This was the first time the Williams family had ever taken part in a pro-life vigil. She was both surprised and saddened to see how many women were entering the clinic, adjacent to the Back Porch, home of the Alberta Life Issues Educational Society.
“We wanted to show our kids: We hear about abortion, but that it’s real people it’s affecting,” said Williams, noting that she saw sadness in the faces of the women exiting the clinic.
Edmonton is one of five Canadian cities taking part in this pro-life mobilization. Originating in the United States four years ago, 40 Days for Life now has 135 communities around the world hosting events. This is the first year ever in Western Canada.
Pol Swart said that he has been involved with the pro-life movement for about 40 years, and intends to give talks on the subject through Edmonton Pro-Life, organizers of the 40-day campaign.
“I have a lot of experience in what is called pro-life. I began to listen to pro-life in 1969 when it was called the Voice for the Unborn, which is a more appropriate name,” said Swart, who devoted a couple of hours to the vigil.
He was confident that the prayerful vigil makes a positive difference.
“Under the circumstances, unfortunately, this is all we can do,” said Swart. “They bring great honour to people who promote abortion, just as they have done to Henry Morgentaler.”
Women’s Health Options was formerly known as the Morgentaler Clinic.
“I have four children, one born in Asia, one in Africa, one in Europe and one in North America. It wasn’t always easy to have children,” said Swart, grateful for God’s gift of life. “I was very privileged to be born myself.”
Karen Richert, Edmonton Pro-Life’s office director, is the local organizer of the inaugural Lenten event. She has been receiving heartfelt email messages about the campaign.
Through the coordinated campaigns of the past 18 months, she knows of at least 13 people who quit their jobs in the abortion business. This happened because people brought the love of Christ to the abortion facilities, she said.
God is amazing and continues to shower blessing after blessing upon the 40 Days for Life campaign, she said, noting that the number of confirmed reports of lives saved from abortion across North America has climbed to 92.
Coinciding with Lent, fasting is also an important component of the event, sacrificing food, TV, alcohol or anything else that separates us from God, in an effort to reach beyond our limitations.
A special wrap-up of the campaign is planned for Palm Sunday at the site of the vigil.