The 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign seeking an end to abortion in the U.S. commenced on Ash Wednesday. Present at the opening vigil in Fort Myers were more than 200 people, including students from two Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane was at the head of the vigil on Feb. 17, 2021, encouraging everyone present to be strong as they stand up to end an evil that plagues society: the taking of innocent life. “It is part of our Lenten journey to give ever more to life in every way, and participation in this vigil is an important step,” Bishop Dewane said.
Students from Bishop Verot Catholic High School and Donahue Academy of Ave Maria took part in the vigil. First, they took part in an opening procession as escorts of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a podium across from the Planned Parenthood abortion facility. The students then led the praying of the rosary and heard from several speakers who shared their passion for life while holding up signs such as “Pray to End Abortion,” “Smile, Your Parents Chose Life,” and more.
The sight of the students filled the hearts of the older participants with joy upon hearing that the youth were part of the respective school’s Pro-Life club. The students are actively learning and sharing what they know about Church Teaching and the sanctity of all life from conception to natural deaths with their peers, while participating in a variety of other activities throughout the year.
“It is heartwarming to see the young people out here,” said 72-year-old Susan Byrd of St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers. “It is their generation that is being harmed and we need them to take up the mantle in speaking out for the unborn.”
One Bishop Verot student said she was proud to be a part of the opening for the 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign and plans to return during the coming weeks. “We were not able to go to the national March for Life because of the Pandemic, but I am so glad we could be here. The message of life needs to be heard here!”
Another 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign can be found in Sarasota, where more than 80 took part in the opening vigil. The two Diocesan campaigns are part of the larger national effort which this year include 567 cities and continues through March 28.
Bishop Dewane said that many make the issue of life a political one, when in reality it is a moral issue.
“Failing to protect life is a moral evil that threatens the dignity of each and every human being in the world today,” the Bishop continued. “For this reason, the Catholic Church and U.S. Bishops have been unwavering and outspoken in their stance on this issue.”
For more information about how you can participate in the 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign within the Diocese, go to www.40daysforlife.com and click on the location nearest you. You can also contact your Parish Life Coordinator for specific information about your Parish’s commitment days.