North Dakota Extends "40 Days for Life" Effort
Participants Decide to Keep Going With Campaign
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FARGO, North Dakota, NOV. 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Though the 40 Days for Life campaign ended Sunday in Fargo, participants have decided to extend it at least 10 more days, hoping their state will be the first to stop abortion-on-demand.
The campaign is an ecumenical effort of prayer, fasting, community outreach and 24-hours-a-day prayer vigils outside abortion facilities across the nation. The North Dakota effort began Sept. 26 and was scheduled to end on Nov. 4.
But at a midnight Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary on Sunday, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo told the participants, "We can never, ever, if we are truly of Jesus Christ, forget to pray for those who do not know the truth. Our Lord has told us clearly in the Gospel, 'Pray for those who persecute you and utter all kinds of false slander against you.' He tells us to love our enemies. Hard words at times to hear and yet he himself practiced that from the cross, when he prayed, 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do.'"
People were gathered in prayer at the Red River Women's Clinic on Monday, Day 41, despite a cold North Dakota climate. Colleen Samson, head of the campaign organizing committee, announced that the prayer schedule will be reviewed again after 10 more days are completed.
The decision was made as a result of input from participants, Samson said. "God has been speaking in the hearts of countless people that North Dakota will be the first state in our nation to be free of the evil of abortion-on-demand."
The bishop said in the midnight Mass homily, "We must keep and place ourselves before the Lord, begging for his mercy, begging for his forgiveness, begging that he act upon the hearts and minds of those who are pro-abortion. We must pray especially for Catholic politicians who have sold out to the Father of Lies and are guided by Satan and not by Christ, that they may come to have their eyes opened to see what they are supporting, because any Catholic politician who supports the so-called right to abortion is putting the salvation of his or her soul in jeopardy.
"Whether they believe it or not, they are doing it, especially in this day and age when the Catholic teaching is so clearly proclaimed."
Bishop Aquila recognized those who persevered in prayer during the 40 days, and spoke of the future. "It is important for us to continue to work for life. Just because these 40 days are complete, it does not mean that we give up our fight for life and turn back to the way that we were living. We must be ever more ardent and zealous in our prayer."