MADISON — The peaceful pro-life prayer vigil 40 Days for Life will begin anew in Madison on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and run through Sunday, Nov. 6, on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood building on Orin Rd. on Madison’s east side.
A kick-off event will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at nearby St. Peter Church, 5001 N. Sherman Ave., beginning at 6 p.m., sharp. The event will include a potluck dinner, with the main course provided.
Dr. Nancy Fredericks, whistleblower on the Madison Surgery Center abortion plans, will be the guest speaker.
The vigil, which is now in its fifth year in Madison, relies on volunteers for a peaceful, prayerful, and powerful presence outside the abortion clinic, as well as prayerful fasting for the 40 days it runs each fall.
The vigil is part of a larger campaign, now international, that seeks to end abortion through a visible witness of prayer. Madison’s campaign joins with those in six other Wisconsin cities: Milwaukee, Racine, Green Bay, La Crosse, Appleton, and Wausau.
The focused pro-life campaign has generated measurable lifesaving results since its inception. A documented 4,313 lives have been spared from abortion — and these are just the ones reported, as some locations where vigils have taken place have reported as much as a 28 percent drop in abortion numbers. In addition, 14 abortion facilities have closed, 53 abortion workers have quit their jobs, including a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director, and more than 400,000 people have joined to fast and pray for an end to abortion.
The 40 Days for Life campaign is made up of three key components:
- Prayer and fasting: inviting people of faith throughout the diocese to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Fasting can be from certain foods, TV, alcohol, coffee, or anything that helps in this form of physical prayer.
- Peaceful vigil: standing for life through a 40-day peaceful, prayerful public witness outside Planned Parenthood, 3706 Orin Rd., Madison. Contact Laura at 608-445-2064 or
, or visit vigilforlife.org/calendar to sign up.
- Community outreach: taking a positive, upbeat pro-life message to every corner of our country through media efforts, church presentations, and public visibility.
At the past vigils held in Madison, several parishes have gotten involved as their pro-life or social justice committees or groups sign up for a set block of time each week and bringing a rotating group of interested parishioners. Other time slots are filled by individuals who volunteer on a regular basis or by those who can come for an hour this day and, as their calendar allows, another hour a few weeks later.
One parish, St. Francis Xavier in Cross Plains, has already volunteered for a full day of the campaign.
Divine Mercy Parish in Sauk City has traditionally become involved by organizing groups to carpool to the vigil site. They also promote 40 Days for Life locally by hosting special scheduled prayer opportunities at St. Aloysius Church, 115 Madison St. in Sauk City, for all who wish to join together in prayer.
The scheduled dates for events this year include:
- Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
- Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
- Wednesday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
- Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
- Friday, Oct. 21, following the 8:15 a.m. Mass, pro-life Rosary led by St. Aloysius School students/teachers
- Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
- Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., Adoration and pro-life Rosary
Elementary, middle, and high school religious education students at the parish will also be joining in pro-life prayers in their classrooms throughout the 40 days.
Directing the campaign
Laura Karlen, coordinator for Vigil for Life, is overseeing the 40 Days campaign. She is joined in this year’s effort volunteers who took on various roles, such as vigil coordinator, church coordinator, and events coordinator.
Individuals and groups are urged to get involved in the 40 Days for Life effort by signing up themselves or their group for a section of time on the calendar (vigilforlife.org/calendar). Even if currently unsure about a time you can become involved, sign up to be on the e-mail list to become aware of important needs or news during the campaign.
One mother shared her thankfulness for the prayers. “I cannot thank you and others like you enough for standing up for what you believe in, because if it had not been for you, I may have made a horrible decision and terminated my pregnancy. My girl is my entire world. I know it may seem like your messages are falling on deaf ears and blind eyes, but I can assure you that me and my daughter are proof of the power that you all have. Please do not stop what you are doing.”
More information on this power of prayer can be found at www.40daysforlife.com
Contributing to this story was Kay Ringelstetter.