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40 Days for Life Lenten Campaign to Take Place in Hundreds of Cities

People in San Jose, Calif., participate in a recitation of the rosary outside a Planned Parenthood facility Sept. 28, 2022. The gathering was held on the first day of the 40 Days for Life nationwide campaign, which calls for peaceful protests during Lent outside abortion facilities. (Photo: CNS/David Maung)

WASHINGTON — A Lenten 40 Days for Life campaign, aiming to end abortion through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and vigils in front of abortion facilities, kicked off this year on Feb. 14 at the start of Lent and will run until March 24 in 656 cities around the world.

The campaign, which runs twice a year, during Lent and in the fall, first began in 2004 by members of a Coalition for Life group in Texas. It spread across the country three years later and has now taken place in more than 1,000 cities in 63 countries.

Catholics have been part of this effort since it began when individuals, churches, families, and groups join in prayer for specific intentions each day.

The 40 days website described their work as “a peaceful and educational presence. Those who are called to stand witness during this 24-hour-a-day presence send a powerful message to the community about the tragic reality of abortion. It also serves as a call to repentance for those who work at the abortion center and those who patronize the facility.”

Its material also says the campaign has caused nearly 150 abortion facilities to close and more than 200 workers at abortion facilities to quit their jobs.

The campaign is named for the significance given to the number 40 in the Bible when it rained for 40 days while Noah was on the ark, Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days, and Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days.

National organizers provide campaign participants with a daily devotional, which includes a Scripture reading, reflection, and prayer. While there is organized spoken prayer at the vigils, much of the praying that takes place is silent, according to organizers. Catholic participants often pray the rosary, or the Divine Mercy chaplet. They also pray the Liturgy of the Hours and read from Psalms and Scripture.

In New York City, six vigils are scheduled to take place: two in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, one in the Bronx, and one in Staten Island. For more information on these events see:

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