Be a pray-er these 40 days

It is a bit ironic that pro-life pregnancy centers in Baltimore City are being forced by a new law to put signs in their facilities stating they do not perform or refer for abortions – under the guise of truth-in-advertising – yet abortion clinics continue making outrageous claims seemingly to no one’s chagrin.

Is it that pregnancy centers are the ones misleading pregnant women, as NARAL claims, but abortion factories are truthful about the murderous procedures they are about to perform on women? Could it be that our legislators believe abortion clinics are more honest than pregnancy centers? One removes a fetus from the womb of its mother and the other provides pregnant women in need with support such as baby supplies, parenting classes and maternity clothes. It should be obvious, one would think, as to which of these facilities poses the greatest risk to a woman (and her unborn child) should they not provide sufficient or accurate information.

Perhaps our elected officials and others truly believe the women who go to abortion clinics really do receive “kindness, care and concern,” as one clinic promises in their advertisements, and that the true focus of an abortion provider is not on the deadly procedure they are about to perform, but “…on the whole woman – her head, her heart and her body.”

Whatever the reason, abortion clinics exist, and there are approximately 100 women in our state who enter one every day, only to leave without their unborn child.

It is for these women and others like them throughout the country, as well as for their unborn babies, that we will pray these next 38 days as part of a nationwide campaign called 40 Days for Life. Thousands of Christians in 163 American cities and at least four countries will join in prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil on behalf of women and their babies who are in danger of abortion, as well as for those men and women who carry the pain of a past abortion, for workers at abortion clinics, and for the local, state and national leaders who support abortion.

The beauty and power of the 40 Days for Life campaign is its central focus: prayer.

This Lenten season, I ask you to pray continuously, but in particular, to pray peacefully at an abortion facility in your area. Our Archdiocese will focus its peaceful vigil at Hillcrest Clinic in Catonsville for 12 hours each day, beginning February 17. Similar vigils are planned at clinics in Hagerstown ( Participants will pray in groups of two or more, mindful of Christ’s words: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). We will not trespass, and no laws will be broken. Rather, we will stand peacefully and prayerfully in a spirit of humility, seeking God’s mercy on our broken nation.

Please consider joining in this effort by giving an hour each day – or for as many as you are able – at Hillcrest or an abortion clinic near you. For more information or to sign up, please visit To date, more than 40 people and five parishes have already committed their time to pray for an end to the culture of death that has enveloped our nation.

At last month’s March for Life, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, shared a message of support for the pro-life movement in our nation from Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father, he relayed, encouraged the faithful to rise to “this urgent moral challenge” of promoting and protecting God’s gift of life. I join the Pope in expressing my gratitude to those who so selflessly stand up in defense of life both in public witness and in fervent prayer, and assure you that my prayers will join with yours throughout these next 40 days.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.