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  • Writer's pictureChurch of St. Mark

40 Days For Life: A Sign of Hope

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

By John Shrake, Parishioner

The design of the Planned Parenthood facility on Vandalia and University Ave is like a fortress, surrounded by iron fences. There is only one way in or out for vehicles and the parking lot is behind the facility, far away from those of us who are praying in front. I had been participating in prayer during 40 Days for Life for a while before I saw a woman walk up and enter the facility

through the front door. The sidewalk counselors reached out to try to dissuade her. After she entered, I wept. The enormity of abortion became personal to me at that moment. A single woman and her baby. I wept for her. I wept for her baby. I wept for our society that has so utterly failed her, and all the women who have trod this path.

Fr. Humberto joins parishioners in a prayer vigil at Planned Paretnhood.

I believe all the women who enter Planned Parenthood do so NOT because they want to kill a child. They do so because they feel trapped in their situation. They feel there is no way out. Their world has turned upside down. They are pressured by family or partner. They receive no support. They feel hopeless. When I pray to end abortion through the 40 Days for Life campaign, I pray for a change of hearts. Not only for the women, but for all of us who have been quiet, who have been willfully ignorant of what goes on in an abortion facility and of the enormous tally of broken

hearts and lives.

Shawn Carney, co-founder of the “40 Days” movement, wrote that “Our presence on the sidewalk represents the last sign of hope for the baby and the first sign of mercy for the woman. Our body language, our comforting words, our silence when they expect judgment are things they will remember forever. If we have learned one thing, it is that women never forget the day of their abortion. They will remember it just as they will remember our being there. Our presence may not save the baby, but it can serve as a gateway to healing for that woman...years down the road. I know this because post-abortive women have told me so time and time again.”

G.K. Chesterton said, “It is only ten minutes after all hope seems lost that hope first begins to dawn.” Please consider joining in our participation in the 40 Days campaign on Monday, March 25 and Sunday, March 31. Fr. Humberto will lead prayer on March 31 at 1 PM.

You can learn more and sign up at

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