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Phoenix Bishop Thomas OlmstedDiocese of Phoenix

PHOENIX, Arizona, February 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Satan is “especially active” around abortion facilities, so it is essential to be vigilant, the Catholic bishop of Phoenix warned earlier this month.

“We can be certain that when we’re near a place where abortions take place, the Evil One is especially active there,” Bishop Thomas Olmsted said, “but we are not alone when we pray. … We give thanks to God for that and that’s why we pray there together. That’s why we call upon Our Lady of Guadalupe to be with us and keep us under her mantle.”

The bishop was speaking during a February 4 Mass at Phoenix’s St. Mary’s Basilica to commemorate the spring 2016 40 Days for Life vigil, and said that “those engaged in witnessing to the Gospel of Life, and seeking to defend the most vulnerable among us,” were not alone.

“He sent the Apostles two by two,” Bishop Olmsted said. “They were not to go alone.”

40 Days for Life prayer, fasting and outreach vigils, conducted twice each year in both the spring and fall since 2007, kicked off the 2016 spring vigil on Ash Wednesday, with five campaigns this time in the Diocese of Phoenix, in Flagstaff, Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler and Glendale.

Bishop Olmsted has been a vocal proponent of the faith, calling on the men of his diocese last fall to fight for marriage and family, leading Good Friday prayer outside Planned Parenthood last year, and telling a 2013 gathering of Catholic bishops, cardinals and leaders from the Americas that Christians must maintain their trust in the “tough truths” regarding marriage, life and religious liberty if the spread of the Gospel is to be preserved.  

Mike Phelan, director of the Phoenix diocese’s Office of Marriage and Respect Life, also stressed the importance of prayer and the spiritual component of the 40 Days for Life vigil.

“Forty Days for Life is doing the most fundamental, foundational and probably important part of the pro-life movement, which is public prayer and witness,” said Phelan. “There is a lot of spiritual battle that happens around these clinics.”


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