October 6, 2011 ( – In a letter to pastors and parish leaders across the Anchorage Archdiocese, Archbishop Roger Schwietz has encouraged Catholics to support an ecumenical 40-day prayer vigil in downtown Anchorage that seeks an end to abortion.

In a letter dated Sept. 16, Archbishop Schwietz said he met with local organizers of 40 Days for Life and is asking “our Catholic Community to participate in the project of prayer.”

The vigil is the largest international prayer and fasting campaign to end abortion with nearly 300 locations in five countries. The effort began on Sept. 28 and will continue through Nov. 6.


In Alaska, the vigil is taking place in Anchorage for the fourth straight year, where participants are peacefully praying and holding signs in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on Lake Otis Parkway.

In past years, roughly 200 Alaskans have participated, including a strong showing of Catholics.

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In his letter, Archbishop Schwietz assured parish leaders that the 40 Days for Life group “respects the law and cooperates with the authorities” as they “bear witness to their Christian faith through prayer.” He added that each participant in the vigil is required to sign a statement of peace.

“By our participation we call the public’s attention to the evil of abortion through prayer and Christian witness,” Archbishop Schwietz concluded. “This we can support and I encourage our people to take part as members of the baptized community.”

Over the last four years, 40 Days for Life campaigns have mobilized 400,000 people in peaceful fasting and prayer, including 13,000 church congregations.

The group’s Web site notes that a total of 4,313 lives have been reported as spared from abortion due to the prayers and presence of pro-lifers in the campaign.

To learn more about the ongoing effort in Anchorage or to sign up for a one-hour time slot, visit or contact coordinator Haylee Shields at 907-982-9895 or [email protected].

This article reprinted with permission from the Catholic Anchor