WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Lori and Joel Buhiire keep vigil outside the abortion clinic as part of 40 Days for Life.
EDMONTON — Lori Buhiire decided to take part in the local 40 Days for Life campaign for two reasons — to pray for an end to abortion and to pray for the Edmonton abortion clinic to close down.
“I definitely want to see an end to abortion all over the world, and I am also praying for the workers here,” Buhiire said in an interview.
“I pray that they would sense how much God loves them, and I pray that they cannot do this anymore, that they would have this lack of peace.”
A member of the Spruce Grove Alliance Church, Buhiire had never participated in the campaign before, but was present for the first four days of the 2011 operation.
In Edmonton, participants pray outside of the Back Porch, directly across the street from Women’s Health Options (12409-109A Ave.), formerly known as the Morgentaler Clinic.
For the Sept. 27 kickoff, about 50 participants held a candlelight vigil and prayed for an end to abortion. Fathers Michael Schumacher and Tony O’Riordan were in attendance. There was also representation from the Knights of Columbus and several Catholic parishes.
Active parishes in the campaign include Sacred Heart in Wetaskiwin, St. Vital in Beaumont, and St. Theresa’s and St. Thomas More in Edmonton.
“It was very well attended. Forty Days is really stirring something in people,” said Karen Richert, office director of Edmonton Pro-Life.
“They’ve always had two campaigns, a spring campaign and a fall campaign. When it first started, we only focused on the Lent campaign because it really fit with the Lenten sacrifice.
“But we had a lot of people say to us that the weather is so much more favourable in the fall, so that’s why we’re doing both now,” she said.
Forty Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach. The campaign began Sept. 28 and runs until Nov. 6.
“When the campaign ends, the work doesn’t end. The little miracles and the successes that you hear about abortion clinics closing and workers leaving their jobs is always continuing,” said Richert.
For women who have had abortions, the people keeping vigil at the 40 Days for Life can provide a listening ear.
“People just want somebody to talk to, and they want to know that they are not hated for what they’ve done, so that sign of hope and witness is always so important,” said Richert.
Buhiire said passersby have asked her questions about the campaign, made heartening remarks at times and the overall response has been positive.
“I’ve had some people honk at me and give the thumbs up, so that’s been encouraging,” she said.
This marks the ninth coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign, mobilizing people of faith in more than 387 cities across Canada and nine other countries.
With his mother praying at the clinic every day, Joel Buhiire decided to participate as well, keeping vigil at the clinic Oct. 1.
“I totally don’t agree with abortion at all, and I think it’s terrible. This is a great way to spread awareness, and prayer is powerful as well,” said Joel.
Canada is one of few countries with no legal restrictions against abortion. Abortions are inexpensive and easy to access.
Joel said he believes average Canadians have become complacent about abortion.
“It’s a very easy thing to forget about, especially nowadays because it’s been around for so long,” he said.
“Always being around, it’s easy to say that nothing is going to change or there’s not much we can do about it. But it’s important to keep bringing it up to people so that they don’t just sweep it under the rug.”