Midpoint Rally held for 40 Days for Life

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

On the lakefront of Vineyards Community Park in Naples like-minded people gathered to celebrate the groundswell of support for the 40 Days for Life campaign which seeks to end abortion in the United States.

A rally was held Oct. 14 to bring together two groups working for the same cause. The first group is the pro-life prayer warriors who stand in front of abortion mills peacefully raising awareness regarding every life, which is precious from the moment of conception to natural death. Also stressed was how abortion can leave lasting scars for parents of aborted children that are not always visible. The other group represented the leaders of pregnancy clinics in the area which provide much needed resources for moms in crisis who are at risk of seeking an abortion.

Deacon Gary Ingold, CEO of Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc., which has facilities in Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Gainesville, as well as two mobile medical clinics which go out into the community, spoke about the mission of everyone present.

“Only the mother can nurture and protect her unborn child,” Ingold said. “It is our job to nurture and protect the mothers. We can only save the babies if we can save the moms. The only way this is possible is if we can develop a culture of life.”

Other speakers stressed the need for a modern approach to the issues by treating every mother – no matter what choice they make – with dignity, compassion, mercy and respect.

Hadley Thompson, a student at Ave Maria University, spoke about her effort to be supportive of new moms on campus through the development of a “Pregnant on Campus” outreach. The group of student volunteers serves in a supporting role for the moms who are working toward a degree by attending classes but need babysitting and other support to care for their child.

“This started out as a way to help a friend,” Thompson explained. “Now it has grown to include dozens of people who volunteer their time to create a positive environment for both mother and child.”

The rally was organized by 40 Days for Life Naples Coordinator Crystal Gabbard and moderated by Ryan Neuhaus, regional coordinator in Florida of Students for Life in America.

The 40 Days for Life Fall Campaign continues through Nov. 3 locally in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota. Please visit www.40daysforlife.com and search for the closest vigil site. Participants are encouraged to spend as much time as they can to be a witness for life.

Rosary Rallies for Our Lady and America

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Faithful gathered across the Diocese of Venice and around the United States on the weekend of Oct. 13 for rosary rallies to join in prayer for our country and peace in the world.

Some 15,000 “America Needs Fatima” Public Square Rosary Rallies took place nationwide, with at least six throughout the Diocese, all to pray for America and the conversion of sinners as Our Lady of Fatima requested. Oct. 13 marked the 102nd Anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun in Portugal.

A group of prayer warriors gathered Oct. 12 at College Parkway and Winkler Road, in front of an abortion facility, adding significance to their prayer vigil. A statue of Our Lady of Fatima was on display while the rosary was recited, prayers were said to honor Our Lady of Fatima and for the nation.

Grace McPherson participated in the rally because she believes in the “America Needs Fatima” message, that the faithful of the country need to rededicate themselves to Mary.

“Our Lady of Fatima is about love and understanding,” McPherson said. “We all need to follow the Blessed Virgin’s example to have a clearer direction and greater purpose for this country.”

Other communities in the Diocese which held vigils included St. Agnes Parish in Naples, San Pedro Parish North Port, and Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

The Our Lady of Fatima story begins with three children bringing their sheep to a pasture to graze when a bright light shined on them. In that light was a woman who said, “I am a lady from heaven.” The figure, deemed the Immaculate Heart of Mary, called on the children to recite the rosary every day and to pray for the world.

Every year, “America Needs Fatima” organizes thousands of Public Square Rosary Rallies across the nation to pray for America and the conversion of sinners, as Our Lady of Fatima requested. The goal is to win the heart and soul of America for Mary by spreading Our Lady’s Fatima message and promoting devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.

Courage in Red Prayer Vigil Nov. 28

Stand up for Faith and Religious Freedom

Staff Report – Florida Catholic


The Diocese of Venice will join other Dioceses around the world for a “Courage in Red” Prayer Vigil at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota Street, Venice. This annual initiative of Aid to the Church in Need is designed to raise awareness for persecuted Christians.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10–12

This year, the Cathedral will be illuminated in red on Nov. 28, for an evening Prayer Vigil and everyone is encouraged to attend. This special campaign is being held as a symbolic gesture of solidarity – by wearing/lighting Churches in red (the color of the martyrs) – in remembering those who have been martyred for their faith. All are asked to stand in solidarity with our fellow Christians as they fight for religious freedom today.

In Diocesan Catholic Schools, the students will be encouraged to wear red, explained Dr. Ben Moore, Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Education. Throughout the week, age-appropriate lessons will be provided about the plight of persecuted Christians. Catholic High School students will also be shown the documentary “Christians in the Mirror.”

Additionally, the faithful are also encouraged to attend a daily Mass that day in place of a suffering Christian who cannot because they live in fear of practicing their Faith publicly.

Today, persecution of Christians is nearly as brutal and vicious as was experienced by Christians in the early Church. Many of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and other regions are coming face to face with evil.

Some of the wounds of persecution are visible – machete scars to a young Christian’s neck in Sudan or the burn marks to a young girl’s face. Some attacks result in modern-day martyrs, like that of a priest in eastern Congo, shot in the head and killed inside his rectory. Or a Jesuit priest, shot twice and murdered in Syria, while protecting Christians trapped in an old monastery.

The Faith is targeted in many ways around the world. Christian practice and symbols are threatened in places like Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.  Persecution around the world has manifested itself through the centuries, but it is worse today than ever before.

Under the guidance of the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need provides pastoral and humanitarian assistance to the persecuted Church around the world.  For more than 67 years, the program has reached out to the suffering, the distressed and the poorest of the poor in over 145 countries. Each year, Aid to the Church in Need fulfills more than 5,000 projects through its spiritual and material aid programs. Its shared goal: To help strengthen the Church and keep the Faith alive.

All are encouraged to use the following hashtags #DOVCOURAGEINRED and #COURAGEINREDWITNESS.