Many people complain to me about the silence, ignorance or cowardice of clergy who refuse to address abortion.
These complaints naturally skyrocket during an election year. I share this frustration, but 40 Days for Life seems to bring out the best in clergy and gives them an opportunity to preach the Gospel of Life in truth and love during difficult times. Clergy who choose to ignore the reality of abortion for whatever reason cannot overshadow the faithful clergy who do speak out.
Recently, I had the joy of being hosted by one such example of a courageous pastor at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Overland Park, Kansas. Archbishop Joseph Naumann has been defending the unborn in word and deed longer than I've been alive. He has inspired so many pastors--Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical alike--by his example as chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Let us encourage clergy to be more bold, so women who have an abortion feel they can seek healing, those who work in the abortion industry can come to know the mercy of Jesus Christ, and those who support or advocate for abortion can see the sinful and barbaric nature of this common surgery. As we encourage clergy to be vocal, we cannot forget to thank those shepherds who lead us by example.
Galloway, New Jersey
Ethel in Galloway said that four different pastors prayed at her vigil on the same day.
Clergy represented on the sidewalk came from different denominations and faith traditions--but share a love for life and for the Lord.
The Christian unity is effective. God used peaceful prayer warriors to save seven babies so far this campaign!
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven leader Tim is Protestant, but he was delighted to welcome a Catholic priest to his vigil.
"I joined him from 1-2 pm and it was a great experience," Tim reflected. "Fr. Ron has always been very pro-life and he was glad to come out and be a part of our fall campaign. This was a big deal."
It's Tim's first campaign, and the priest's appearance was significant. He's the first pastor to join the vigil and pray for an end to abortion...
...but he wasn't the last. Three more members of the clergy joined a rainy closing event with 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Steve Karlen.
Hudson, New York
Steve also visited Hudson, where a local pastor doesn't just participate in the local vigil--he leads it. Pastor Craig moved to Hudson several years ago to shepherd a church...and also leads a diverse group of Protestants, Catholics, and Evangelicals in prayer for an end to abortion.
Planned Parenthood and its supporters don't appreciate the attention. During Steve's visit, somebody called the police, resulting in a visit from two squad cars.
Officers left quickly after they saw a peaceful, law-abiding vigil taking place.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
— 1 Peter 1:6-7
Dear Heavenly Father, we sing to You a new song, for You have done marvelous things. Forgive us when we allow circumstances to defeat us. You give power to the faint and You increase strength in those who have no might. We rest in You dear Lord, and ask You to empower us again for Your service as You work out Your plan for us and through us.