Bishop Malooly will celebrate Mass Sept. 24, 8 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington to mark the beginning of 40 Days for Life, a nondenominational pro-life effort marked by prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.
In the Diocese of Wilmington, the 40-day vigil, Sept. 24 to Nov. 2, will take placed at Planned Parenthood on Shipley Street.
A 40 Days for Life campaign in Dover will be conducted on the same days at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Governors Avenue.
Julie Easter, a St. Helena parishioner who runs the Wilmington vigils, said the Sept. 24 Mass at the cathedral will be followed by a rosary procession to the clinic site. An Oct. 13, 12:10 p.m. Mass at St. Peter’s is also set for the midpoint of the 40 days of prayer and fasting vigils.
Easter told The Dialog she first got involved in the pro-life movement when she attended a March for Life in Washington, D.C.
On the bus ride to the march, a movie was shown called “Blood Money,” a documentary on the abortion industry.
“I was so appalled” by the movie, “I realized I just can’t make this only a yearly thing,” Easter said.
As a member of St. Helena’s respect life committee, Easter recalls being asked if she wanted to participate in the 40 Days for Life vigil.
“Not really,” she recalls thinking. “It was very much out of my element.”
Her first impression of being at the clinic was “Wow, this is pretty horrible. You can feel the evil there. But I’ve come around to seeing it as a privilege to be there. It’s such an opportunity to evangelize the people about how much God loves them.
“We’re not there to criticize or chastise,” she said.
The 40 Days for Life vigils aren’t about judging women who have abortions, Easter said.
“We say there are the options available. If people say, ‘don’t judge me,’ we are absolutely not doing that. We’re all sinners, but we’re here to remind you there is a judge.”
Babies lost to abortion, Easter said, “go to heaven. What’s in play there are the souls of everyone else.”
The vigils at the clinic are a ministry, Easter said.
“We remind people there is a God who loves them; we educate and we inform.”
• 40 Days in Dover
Donna Latteri, a member of Holy Cross Parish Dover where she is active in pro-life ministry, runs the 40 Days for Life vigils in the capital.
She first made a choice for life when she became a single mom at 23, she said.
There are regular vigils at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Dover on Thursdays.
“I went out there and I was hooked,” said Latteri. At the site, “the Holy Spirit literally takes over and gives me the strength I didn’t think I had and puts consoling words in me I didn’t think I had.
Latteri said Dover’s 40 Days for Life will include a candlelight vigil on the night of Oct. 14, the midpoint of the campaign.
She said many participants in Dover come from Rehoboth, Lewis, Milford, Seaford and Harrington.
Latteri aims for two people at the site for about two hours, during the 40 days.
Baptists and Mormons and nondenominational Christians are among the participants, Latteri said.
“We pray for the Holy Spirit to bring life-minded people who hear about us to come join us.
Easter said the Wilmington campaign “tries to get all the churches in our part of the diocese to commit to one day or more at the prayer vigils. She’s pleased Felix Spitelle from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Wilmington has arranged for the presence of the Knights of Columbus on Saturdays throughout the year.
“Just to have more men down there is nice,” Easter said. “We’re atoning for the sins of men.”
For more information in Wilmington:
In Dover: www.40daysforlife.com/dover