Candlelight prayer vigil closes 40 Days for Life in Madison Print E-mail
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Written by Mary Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
 Bishop Robert C. Morlino offers reflections at the closing candlelight prayer vigil for 40 Days for Life outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison’s east side. (Catholic Herald photo by Joe Ptak)

Last updated on November 7, 2008, 1:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. — Red roses were strewn on the sidewalks outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic on Madison’s east side.

They symbolize life and beauty. For Catholics they are a reminder of Mary, the mother of God.

As people gathered at twilight on Sunday, Nov. 2, for the closing prayer vigil for 40 Days for Life in Madison, they walked carefully around the roses. For them, life — even in these roses — is precious.

Prayerful presence at clinics

As the sunlight began to fade, people lit candles and flashlights as they stood quietly in prayer. Many of them had been coming to the abortion clinic for the past 40 days. They came at all hours of the day, around the clock — providing a peaceful, prayerful presence.

The Madison volunteers joined thousands of others in more than 175 communities in 47 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and two Canadian provinces as part of 40 Days for Life vigils at abortion facilities.

Celebration of life

Will Goodman, a member of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Diocese of La Crosse, emceed the closing prayer vigil in Madison. He called it a “celebration,” saying prayer has the power to protect lives. “God works through us. Lives have been touched,” said Goodman.

A video clip of the 40 Days for Life event, produced by Joe Ptak, can be viewed at:


Goodman introduced Bishop Robert C. Morlino as a “courageous defender of life.” Bishop Morlino noted that the Catholic Church observes All Souls Day on November 2. “We pray for the souls of all the faithful departed, especially the unborn babies. We pray for them in a special way,” said the bishop.

With the election coming on November 4, Bishop Morlino reminded the people that “God is in control of the universe.” He said people should “focus on what we can do and ask, ‘What did you do to help to build justice and love for every human being from conception to natural death? What did you do to build a culture of life? How did you vote?’ We have to do our part,” he emphasized.

Bishop Morlino gave his blessing and began leading the Rosary, followed by Deacon Jack Fernan as the leader.

Shining a light

Pastor Jeff Solwold of Calvary Chapel told the volunteers that they gathered “to shine a light in the city of Madison in a dark place.” He quoted from the passage in Isaiah. Just as a woman cannot forget her child, so God will not forget you. “I’ve ministered to post-abortive women and know the guilt they carry,” said Pastor Solwold. But, he reminded them, “There is forgiveness through the cross of Christ.”

At the prayer vigil, a man named Jeff gave a testimony about his own troubled life. He admitted to having a relationship with a women who had four abortions. He encouraged the 40 Days for Life volunteers to pray for the men and women who come to the clinic and witness to the love of Jesus Christ, which he himself has now received.

A Victory Rally for 40 Days for Life will be held Saturday, Nov. 8, at St. Peter Church in Madison. Mass will be celebrated at 7 a.m. by Msgr. Daniel Ganshert, Vicar General of the Diocese of Madison, followed by a hot breakfast at 8 a.m. Starting at 9 a.m. there will be reflections, testimonies, music by Oremus, and fellowship. For more information, go to

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