March 2, 2012
his encyclical, "The Gospel of Life, Pope John
Paul II said a "great prayer for life is urgently
needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the
world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer,
may an impassioned plea rise to God… Let us therefore
discover anew the humility and the courage to pray
and fast so that the power from on high will break
down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which
conceal from the sight of so many… the evil of practices
and laws which are hostile to life."
The Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro
Life Activities, the official pro-life program of the Catholic Church in the
U.S., also emphasizes that prayer and fasting is an essential component to
our efforts to build a culture of life:
"Prayer is the foundation of all
that we do in defense of human life. Our efforts—whether educational,
pastoral, or legislative—will be less than fully fruitful if we do not
change hearts and if we do not ourselves overcome our own spiritual
blindness. Only with prayer—prayer that storms the heavens for justice and
mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and our souls—will the culture of
death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life."
As we settle into the Lenten
season, I want to present some worthy suggestions for our prayer and fasting
40 Days for Life
Implemented throughout the United
States and in several other countries, 40 Days for Life urges prayer and
fasting for an end to abortion. In Nebraska, 40 Days for Life has been
implemented twice a year, during Lent and in the fall, at the abortion mills
in Omaha and Lincoln. Participants are asked to commit to one hour of prayer
outside an abortion mill.
The impact of 40 Days for Life has
been nothing short of extraordinary. Its website (www.40daysforlife.com)
features stories of women who changed their mind about having an abortion,
of abortion mill workers who quit the grisly business, and of abortion mills
that have shut down.
Abortion Mill Prayer Project
For those individuals who do not
live in reasonable proximity to Lincoln or Omaha and can’t directly
participate in 40 Days for Life, there is a way to participate in the
prayers and fasting from home.
The Abortion Mill Prayer Project
asks individuals to pray for the conversion of a specific abortionist and
his/her staff and for the closure of a specific abortion mill. In Nebraska
there are three abortion mills and three dioceses. Therefore, I am asking
the parishes in each diocese to pray for one of these abortion mills as
Parishes in the Diocese of
Lincoln are asked to pray for C.J. Labenz, who
does abortions on Tuesdays at Planned Parenthood in Lincoln. Parishes
in the Archdiocese of Omaha are asked to pray for LeRoy Carhart, who
does abortions on Fridays and Saturdays in Bellevue. Parishes in the
Diocese of Grand Island are asked to pray for Nicola Moore, who does
abortions on Wednesdays at Planned Parenthood in Omaha.
Prayer cards for this project along
with other prayer activities are being distributed by my office to parishes
around the state for use during Lent and beyond. They are also available
online at www.nebcathcon.org
(under Pro Life, Printed Materials).
Regardless of whatever limitations we may have (e.g. time,
physical, geographic, etc.) each of us can make a significant contribution
toward building a culture of life through our prayers and fasting. In fact,
there is no more simple or efficacious contribution.
You can contact Greg at The Nebraska
Catholic Conference, 215 Centennial Mall South Suite 310, Lincoln, NE 68508;