RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – Edmonton pro-lifers want support from the larger community to help end abortion in the city.

Pro-life supporters are getting ready to start a 40-day prayer vigil but fear they lack the numbers to make an impact.

The peaceful prayer vigil, appropriately called 40 Days for Life, will be held across from the Women’s Health Options at 12409-109A Ave. from Sept. 22 to Oct. 31. Edmonton is one of many communities across Canada and the United States taking part in the effort.

The idea is to have people praying every hour of the day for the full 40 days but Edmonton organizers doubt it will be possible unless faith communities join in.

“This is a huge undertaking and to be quite honest we don’t have the manpower needed to really organize this,” said Karen Richert of Edmonton Pro-Life. “So what we need is a commitment from every faith community.”

Other communities have a night watch, where the Knights of Columbus commits to doing all the night hours because they realize that’s a difficult time to fill.

“(But) we are not blessed like that here yet,” lamented Richert. “We haven’t got there yet. We have various people who have signed up and will take an hour here, an hour there but we are spotty at best.”

But Richert doesn’t want to discourage people from participating. “There is something about strength in numbers but we know that where one or two gather God’s will will be done.”

The goal of the campaign, which also includes fasting, is to raise awareness and to change hearts so abortion can end one day.

“So we are praying for all the intentions of the pro-life movement – for the workers, the babies, anything that has to do with abortion itself,” Richert said.

“We also have a witness so we are asking people to stand; stand and show that we as a society are not agreeing with this (abortion) at all.”

Some cities do major ad media blitzes, going door-to-door educating people during the 40 Days for Life campaign.

STILL IN INFANCY

“This is in its infancy here in Edmonton and we hope to really grow and we really, really need the support of individuals, groups, churches, and prayer groups,” she said.

Richert said taking part in the vigil is “a tangible opportunity” for pro-life people to say, “I am pro-life. I don’t know what to do; give me something to do.”

This is the third time the 40 Days for Life campaign has taken place in Edmonton. The first two took place in the spring in conjunction with the 40 days of Lent.

“We did have some comments from people that the fall could be nicer weather so we thought we are going to run both campaigns,” explained Richert. “We are going to run it in the fall and in the spring.”

The first campaign was successful thanks to some keen organizers and more than 100 participants, the pro-life leader said.

“There was a real excitement about it. We started with a little prayer service at St. Andrew’s Chapel and we walked over (to the clinic).” The celebration also included a rally and some praise and worship music.

“Last year when we did it in the spring we took a softer approach. We didn’t have the kick-off or the wind-up. We struggled organizationally.

MANPOWER NEEDED

“This year again I’d love to say we are having all these great events but we don’t have the manpower and we don’t really and truly feel that we have further backing, I guess, of large numbers of people,” Richert lamented.

About 50 people have signed up for the campaign this year. “And again we are going to pray that people will pick up the torch and come and pray – give one hour,” Richert said.

To register go to 40daysforlife.com/Edmonton or contact Karen Richert at 780-425-1637.