40 Days – Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does 40 Days for Life have the support of the Catholic Church? Are there any clergy/religious present during these vigils?
Answer: The Catholic Church in Sydney has given 40 Days for Life its full support. Our patron, +Bishop Julian Porteous, has invited all parishes to participate in this fourth year of the Lenten 40 Days for Life campaign & events. There will also be a number of priests and religious giving their prayerful leadership at the vigil. Other 40 Days campaigns around Australia establish their own local arrangements with the Church.
2. Is it legal to pray near an abortion clinic?
Answer: Yes it is. In Sydney we inform the local police and the location and boundaries are finalised with them and they assist with our street processions. Also our actual vigil location is across the road. Each person is also required to sign a Statement of Peace. Other campaigns around Australia make their own local arrangements with the Police.
3. Do I have to be a religious person to participate? Do I have to bring anything?
Answer: Anybody who would like to pray with us to end abortion is most welcome. The only thing you need to bring is your prayerful, peaceful presence.
4. Why do you pray on the street, and not at Church?
Answer: Just as Mary and John lovingly stood and prayed beneath Jesus’ Cross as he died, we wish to remain with these children in the hour that they are crucified. The Church has always accompanied the dying with prayer. We unite ourselves with these victims in solidarity with their pain, as they are put to death at this modern day Calvary. We pray in reparation for the injustice and we pray for their mothers, the forgotten victims of abortion. We also provide counselling by trained counsellors and practical help to any mother considering abortion.
5. I want to participate but I can’t get to the vigil…
Answer: There are many people who want to be present at the vigil but can’t be there physically. They are spiritual helpers who contribute through offering prayers and sacrifices for the work of 40 days for Life. These helpers can be children, sick, shut-ins and cloistered religious. There is also a 40 DFL prayer booklet available for people to pray along with at home. Please contact FLI to obtain a copy.
6. Do I approach or talk to people on the street?
Answer: Your prayerful presence itself is a sign of God’s love that people witness, bringing light and life to a place of darkness and death. The 40 Days for Life team will have a shift co-ordinator for each session on the street who will co-ordinate the prayer group. If a passer-by approaches the group, the shift co-ordinator will take them aside to answer their questions. We ask that the prayers continue praying and not engage in any conversation or other communication with passer’s-by. We will also have trained counsellors at the abortion mill at specific times in order to engage the people entering.
7. How does my presence make a difference?
Answer: Prayer is an essential part of reaching out to mothers considering abortion. It is only with the Grace obtained through prayer that a mother’s heart can change. Christ is God’s answer to the world; being present on the street is bringing Christ to people. It is only through God that all things are made possible.
8. What ongoing, practical help do we offer the mothers?
Answer: We work closely with a pregnancy centre. They offer free pregnancy testing, help with accommodation, claiming social welfare, baby clothes, financial help, friendship, and more.
9. What are the fruits of 40 days for life world-wide?
Answer: Since 40 days for life began: Over 550,000 people have participated in 15 countries with nearly 7,000 lives having been saved that we know of, 75 abortion workers have quit and walked away from the industry, 25 abortion facilities have shut down, and thousands of women and men have been spared from the tragic effects of abortion.
10. Who organises 40 Days for Life Sydney? Who finances it?
Answer: 40 Days for Life is organised by Family Life International Australia, and funded by the generous support of hundreds of supporters. Other 40 Days campaigns around Australia have their own organizing committee and means of funding.