February 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Leaders of the 40 Days for Life international prayer vigil are hoping that the violent opposition to President Trump will not affect the hundreds of thousands of 40 Days prayer volunteers.
Shawn Carney, the president of 40 Days for Life, told LifeSiteNews, “The hatred of Donald Trump is being directed at the pro-life movement. The climate is much more hostile to our movement” since his election.
With 40 Days set to begin on Ash Wednesday, leaders and volunteers are hopeful that what has been just “a lot of talk” will not turn into violence during the vigil.
Carney said the vigil that began in 2007 at a single abortion facility in Texas has grown to involve more than 200,000 volunteers this spring. They will stand and pray outside abortion clinics and hospitals in 340 cities and 30 countries, including new campaigns in the Dominican Republic, Rome, Italy, Paraguay, and Zimbabwe. Most participating cities are in the U.S. Nine are in Canada.
New vigils provoke the most opposition, Carney said.
“The longer we do this at a particular location, the more the staff of the abortion clinic can see how calm and peaceful we are,” he said.
Nonetheless, 40 Days organizers in the United States are watchful because Trump opponents may blame pro-lifers for his election.
“The pro-life movement is picking up a lot of momentum,” Carney said. “We are attracting a lot more leaders, a lot more volunteers.”
Carney explained 40 Days’ special role as “invitational.”
“It’s invitational to the moms and dads [using the abortion clinics],” he said. “It’s invitational to them and to the workers in the clinics to stop participating as the great gift of life is destroyed.”
Carney said 40 Days was also a response “to Our Lord’s request that we be the hands and feet of Christ. We trust Him that our world will be transformed in that time frame as it was for Our Lord.”
Transformations are happening. So far, 83 abortion facilities have closed their doors after 40 Days vigils were held. There are 12,668 unborn babies alive today because mothers changed their minds after seeing vigil volunteers praying outside an abortuary.
“The worse the weather,” Carney said, “the more moms choose life. The greater the respect the people in the abortion industry have for us. We call this the spring vigil,” he joked. “But in many places in Canada, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, it’s really winter.”
The 40 Days vigils take place in spring and fall and ideally run around the clock “24-7” for a 40-day period.