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Deacon John,

Persecution of 40 Days for Life volunteers is on the rise.

Our Lord doesn’t suggest that the world will persecute us; He promises that it will … and gave us His own life as the example to follow.

At most of the 340+ campaign locations, there is a quiet simple prayer vigil. Our peaceful approach begets a peaceful response — which is why so many moms choose life at the last moment.

At other locations, we are seeing an angry and sometimes vile response. Such hostility is being met with a Christ-like behavior that is always the expectation at 40 Days for Life vigils.

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There have been a few pro-abortion demonstrators who’ve tried to drown out the prayers … and others who have accused us of being “gender supremacists.” There have even been attempts to silence 40 Days for Life by having the vigil removed from the public right-of-way.

What hasn’t been silenced is the courage of participants … and the women they’ve helped.

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Aberdeen, Scotland

With the first 40 Days for Life vigil in Aberdeen in progress, some student groups at Aberdeen University have tried to raise a ruckus about the Catholic chaplaincy on their campus.

It seems there are 40 Days for Life posters on the building. And some of the students are complaining, circulating petitions – and trying to drum up media support for having the posters removed.

As the Aberdeen Feminist Society put it, “it is deeply inappropriate to display posters encouraging people to take action outside maternity clinics. Our campus is a place for discussion, but displaying material that appears to condemn those who have had abortions is actively harmful.”

The “harmful” posters? Merely the standard 40 Days for Life message of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

A spokesman for the local Catholic bishop refused to budge. “The decision by the Catholic chaplaincy to display a poster advertising a peaceful pro-life vigil cannot in any way be deemed harmful or distressing,” he said. “The 40 Days for Life vigils are peaceful, yet poignant reminders of the tragic reality of abortion.”

Despite the complaints, the university administration said it could do nothing. The chapel building belongs to the Catholic diocese, “and as such, is not a university-owned or managed facility.”

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Iztapalapa, Mexico

“I’m excited to let you know that God has listened to our prayers,” said Lupita, the 40 Days for Life leader in Iztapalapa, which is part of the metro Mexico City area.

“This week more volunteers have arrived,” she said, including a group of children who prayed “with great fervor for the babies who have been aborted. It was a very emotional moment and it filled us all with strength by the example that we received from these little ones.”

Lupita was also grateful for a priest from one of the area churches who has offered tremendous support and has brought members of his parish to pray at the vigil.

“God is always surprising us and strengthening us with his goodness,” she said.

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Pozega, Croatia

“Pozega is city in Slavonija, in the eastern part of Croatia,” said Petra, who is part of the 40 Days for Life leadership team in Croatia, “and it is the biggest surprise this campaign.”

A few faithful volunteers tried to get a 40 Days for Life vigil started in Pozega last autumn, but it was a tremendous challenge. The prayers were fervent but the number of vigil participants was small. Still, the leader was determined and persistent.

At times, Petra said, “the leader, Ljubica, was the only person who was praying in front of hospital.”

For this campaign – there has been a much larger turnout. “We are saying there is spring awakening in that city,” Petra said. They are striving to fill vigil hours, “and there are more and more people coming to pray in front of the hospital.”

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Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

— Jeremiah 1:4-5

Lord God, we confess that in You we live and move and have our being. Because You are, we are. May we find grace from You to affirm the being of every human and may we labor to make this truth known to the world around us.

See today’s full devotional

For life,

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Shawn Carney

President, 40 Days for Life

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40 Days for Life 4112 E 29th St. Bryan, Texas 77802 United States (888) LIFE-316

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