The sky was hazy, the wind was picking up. The signs held by those who marched up and down the side walk in front of the abortion facility on Eaton Place in Fairfax, VA became just a little harder to hold.
It didn’t matter. The sacrifice, that small inconvenience of being out in the weather as it started to get brisk, was worth it. Even if one heart was moved to help save a defenseless baby in the womb, the effort was not in vain.
There were children in the group. It is always inspirational to see children walking, carrying signs, and saying the Rosary in front of abortion mills. They make the heart soar with love for life — they point the mind in the right direction, toward the child about to be murdered. And, potentially, those children advocating for the rights of other children are powerful witness to the fact that every human life is sacred. Perhaps just seeing a child praying for her will impact the decision of a woman about to enter the facility to end her baby’s life.
The reaction prayer warriors will receive by the public is difficult to predict. Sometimes there are honking horns and shouts of appreciation. Other times, like this day, there are cowardly, snide comments. Two gentleman who made their way past the small group holding signs and praying offered, for all to hear, an acrimonious, “Why don’t they mind their own business?” As they moved away, they began to laugh. It was discouraging to hear, but it was far outweighed by the show of support. And thankfully, the children seemed oblivious to the comment.
So why subject yourself and your children to this public prayer vigil?
Tom West, coordinator for the Fairfax 40 Days for Life, recognizes that standing up for life through public witness can be intimidating. He offered:
Currently, this public witness is limited to a very few people—“it’s not cool.” 40 Days for Life enlists NEW people, from all walks of life (“cool” and uncool), into this battle in a way that no other project has. The hope is that the people introduced to activism will continue all year long.
Tom, a parishioner at St. Veronica Church leads a tireless effort to protect the most defenseless in our society, and defend their right to life. His hope is that once introduced to this form of silent protest, everyone who is convicted to the Prolife movement will take up the call and join the efforts to protect and defend life at all ages and stages in a year round effort.
What does this effort entail?
According to the 40 Days for Life, Fairfax website:
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of:
40 days of prayer and fasting
40 days of peaceful vigil
40 days of community outreach
We are praying that, with God’s help, this groundbreaking effort will mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our city — and across America.
And, this effort is vitally important. According to a document issued by the Virginia Board of Health, Tom cited that the facility chosen for silent protests by Fairfax 40 Days for Life, NOVA Women’s Healthcare, conducted more than 3500 abortions in 2010; that is based on preliminary data.
Tom West offered one more thought about the value of participating in the 40 Days for Life prayer vigils:
We know that public opinion, young and old, is becoming increasingly pro-life. This fact, plus recent wins in Virginia such as additional regulations on abortion facilities, means the pressure is building. 40 Days for Life is perhaps more important than ever before in Virginia, to continue this pressure and end the tragedy of abortion, a tragedy which rivals histories low points.
The 40 Days for Life peaceful vigil is being held from September 28 – November 6 at:
NOVA Women’s Healthcare
10400 Eaton Place
Fairfax, VA 22030
Prayer Vigil Time: 7 am to 8 pm
(Located next to the Best Western Inn off Chain Bridge Road, South of I-66 near Route 50)
Sign-up to Participate!
Read these directions and important information about how to participate in 40 Days for Life. Then, click the “Vigil Schedule” tab toward the top of this page or go to VigilCalendar.com/fairfax and sign up for a time slot to pray at the site.
The cause to end abortion isn’t limited to these 40 Days, and no one is too old or too young to participate as a witness to life as part of this effort or in other Prolife activities. It is a duty to “defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy. Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Ps 82:3-4)