September 25, 2015
Praying peacefully outside an abortion clinic can seem like a small gesture, but it can bring great consequences, according to the 40 Days for Life national campaign director.
“Being a simple witness of mercy and God’s love, that has a tremendous impact,” said Shawn Carney, the featured speaker at a rally to kick off the Nashville 40 Days for Life campaign on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Church of the Assumption.
“Do small things with love,” Carney urged the crowd at the rally. “It changes hearts and minds.”
The 40 Days for Life campaign, which is a prayer vigil outside the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Nashville, will continue through Nov. 1. Volunteers will be praying outside the clinic, located at 412 Dr. D.B. Todd Blvd., from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day during the campaign.
The kick-off rally started with Mass, which was followed by performances by singer-songwriters P.J. Anderson, Courtney Zastre and Marie Bellet, and talks by several people including Carney.
“Our culture is just starving … for joy,” Carney said. The 40 Days for Life campaign asks people to partake in joy and to invite both the women seeking an abortion and the clinic workers to receive the joy of the gospel, he added.
Participating in the prayer vigil “should remind us that life is good,” Carney said. “We live in a world that has forgotten life is good and should be treasured.”
The release this summer of videos of Planned Parenthood officials talking about the use for research of body parts harvested from aborted babies makes clear that the abortion industry has lost sight of the joy of life, Carney said.
“In these videos we see an honest abortion industry. They are speaking of this horrific act in a casual and callous tone,” Carney said. “Our response to that needs to be rooted in prayer … it needs to be rooted in love.”
Since the first 40 Days for Life campaign was launched in 2007, the movement has spread across the country and to 30 nations around the world. “We don’t have the luxury to wait for Washington, D.C., to correct a problem that takes place in our own back yard,” Carney said.
“The biggest threat to us is discouragement,” Carney said. Volunteers are often told they are not making a difference and, even worse, making things worse, he said.
“That’s a lie,” Carney said. “We don’t always see it work because it’s God’s work.”
The campaign will be successful because it’s rooted in prayer, Carney said.
Anyone interested in praying outside Planned Parenthood should contact Vigil Coordinator Shannon Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 766-2305 or Cynthia McMillen at email@example.com.