Clergy join plans to begin 40 Days for Life vigil

Monday, February 10, 2020 - Updated: 9:27 am

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

Some 40 priests are expected to take part in a Mass and procession that will kick off the spring 40 Days for Life campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The liturgy will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Epiphany Church of Divine Mercy Parish in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, followed by a Eucharistic procession to the Planned Parenthood office on Liberty Avenue. The rosary will be prayed on the sidewalk.

“40 Days for Life harnesses all of the spiritual weapons — the prayer, the fasting and the public witness,” said Nikki Bruni, local 40 Days for Life director. She pointed to the spiritual battle against abortion.

Bruni noted that it will be the first time that 40 priests will join the local kick-off, adding that it may be the first time that many priests have attended a kick-off anywhere in the United States.

“We were really blown away by the response of the priests,” she said. Some 50 area priests have expressed an interest in attending the events, Bruni said, but she realizes that sacramental emergencies will come up for some of them.

The campaign will officially begin the following day, Ash Wednesday. It will maintain a peaceful, public, prayer vigil from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily outside the abortion center. The 40 Days for Life will end with a closing rally on Palm Sunday, April 5. This year’s campaign will be dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Groups from local worship communities will provide a witness to the injustice of abortion for passers-by, abortion workers and women who are bound for the office. The campaign is credited with saving almost 17,000 children nationwide since it began 10 years ago. It is held twice a year — during Lent and in the fall.

A procession following the Mass was held for the first time last fall. Bruni recognized Bishop David Zubik for his support of the procession and the efforts of Pittsburgh police for ensuring the safety of participants. “The Lord really made it happen,” she said.

Bruni noted that local abortion numbers have been on the rise. She pointed to more restrictive laws in states such as Ohio that move women to seek services elsewhere. Many have been funneled here.

“If we have a powerful witness here then hopefully we can make an impact,” she said.

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