By Christine Bordelon, Clarion Herald
“We have to be the ones who stand for life,” said Kathy Baker, pastor of Metro Church in Metairie, at the 40 Days for Life local campaign kickoff Aug. 23 at St. Angela Merici Parish. “I know you stand in the gap in prayer and love.”
A New Orleans native, Baker said she was raped by a co-worker as a 19-year-old intern working in Texas in the mid-1970s, resulting in a pregnancy. Being an unwed mother was not acceptable back then, so she moved to Oklahoma, where a family cared for her during pregnancy and the birth of her son, whom she gave up for adoption.
Baker prayed daily for her child. Thirty-one years after his birth, she met him, and he has become part of her life.
Baker called those gathered “heroes” and asked them to imagine babies saved from abortion as being the next president or doctor. She said famous individuals such as Tim Tebow, Cher and Celine Dion could have been aborted, but their mothers changed their minds.
“We don’t know what our prayers will do,” she said.
What is 40 Days for Life?
40 Days for Life is an ecumenical, community-based campaign held worldwide in 769 cities in 50 countries with 750,000 participants. It invites individuals and groups to pray and fast, be a peaceful presence at an abortion facility and increase awareness of the event which spreads the message of life. Since the first 40 Days event in 2007, an estimated 14,643 lives have been saved from abortion, and 96 abortion facilities have closed.
Locally, it will begin with a sunrise prayer event Sept. 26 at 7:30 a.m. at a new location – the Women’s Health Care Center, 2701 General Pershing St. in New Orleans. It closes with a vigil on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 5-6 p.m. at the Woman’s New Life Center, 4612 South Claiborne Ave., New Orleans.
Debbie Shinskie, Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Respect Life director, said several local Catholic church parishes already have registered for October vigil days. She encourages other church groups, friends and individuals to consider giving an hour or more since having a prayerful presence outside a clinic that performs abortions is so important.
“Your loving, compassionate, prayerful presence without speaking … can help a woman save her baby,” said Shanon Snyder, campaign director.
Other upcoming pro-life events include:
- St. Tammany Right to Life (sttammanyrighttolife.com) outdoor Life Chains that demonstrate a peaceful and prayerful protest to abortion: In Slidell, Oct. 7, 2-3 p.m., Gause Boulevard, (985) 640-8765. Signs will be distributed along the route. An open house follows at 3 p.m. at the Slidell Crisis Pregnancy Help Center, 550 Gause Blvd., Suite 2; and Mandeville, Oct. 28, 2-3 p.m., gathering at First Baptist Church of Mandeville, 1895 Hwy. 190, at 1:30 p.m. for sign distribution and instructions. Call (985) 502-1343.
- Fouchi will give a free sidewalk presence workshop Oct. 6, 9-11 a.m. at St. Edward the Confessor Parish Center, 4901 West Metairie Ave. at Transcontinental, Metairie, for those interested in praying for and offering counseling to women entering or leaving clinics that conduct abortions. RSVP at email@example.com.
To sign up for the hourly vigil, go to Prolifelouisiana.org for times and dates. For campaign details, contact Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org, 835-6520 or go to 40Days For LifeNOLA.com.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at email@example.com.