WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Fr. Dean Dowle leads pray warriors in the rosary during the 40 Days for Life Campaign.
EDMONTON - About 20 prayer warriors, in support of the 40 Days for Life campaign, stood across the street from Edmonton's abortion clinic, praying for an end to abortion.
Edmonton is one of many cities across North America joining the year's largest coordinated pro-life mobilization. Forty Days for Life is a focused, pro-life effort that consists of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach.
Praying the rosary on a snowy morning, March 22, Day 14 of the campaign, were Father Dean Dowle, along with members of St. Theresa Parish's pro-life group and moms group, and a few parishioners from Beaumont's St. Vital Parish.
Dowle, from St. Joseph's Basilica, said the group members hope to become more aware of their own humility, their own frailness before God and also to promote awareness of life's sacredness.
"St. Theresa's pro-life team is really trying to bring back to the fore the real issues of life, the beauty of life, the sanctity of life, and to help people understand what we have here and what we should be cherishing, in particular at this time of Lent when we are called to new life as we approach that time of Easter," said Dowle.
During 40 Days for Life, men, women and children take part in a vigil across from Women's Health Options (formerly known as the Morgentaler Clinic) at 12409-109A Ave. The aim of the event is to awaken the city to the fact that every human being, from conception onwards, has the right to life.
The group from St. Theresa Parish prayed that, with God's help, this effort would mark the beginning of the end of abortion in Edmonton and the world.
"The fact is we are doing the things we are supposed to do in accordance to the commandment of God, to love others as he loved us," Deacon Tony Obleada told the WCR. "We love those children that they plan to abort. We want to save them just by making the women aware of our presence."
Obleada said people are misled by the devil, so devout Catholics must be well armed. "We cannot do this alone because this is a spiritual battle. We need God to be on our side, so we pray and ask for his help," said Obleada.
"We are praying the rosary, so we ask for the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mother and all the saints to help those who are being misled into aborting their babies."
Often they do not know if their presence makes any difference. The only accurate measure is when pregnant women come forth on their own volition and share their stories.
"Usually their stories are very inspiring and that's what causes us to have hope, and that's what allows us to come back here, again and again," said Dowle. "Even if it's only one (baby saved), it's always worth it."
The premise is to have people praying 24/7 for the full 40 days, from March 9 to April 17. Edmonton organizers were unable to find enough people, however, and at times no one is keeping vigil.
"We need a lot more help here in Edmonton for this campaign. If we could get a parish to take a full day of prayer from 7 in the morning to 7 at night, that would really help to get this campaign going like it is in the U.S. and internationally right now," said Carolyn Towle, a mother from St. Theresa Parish.
The 40 Days for Life website claims that, as of March 28, 178 babies had been saved worldwide as a direct result of the campaign. Also, the number of women going into the Back Porch seeking information increases every month.
Towle views these results as answered prayers. "Usually the women who changed their minds that day when people are praying will come across the street and thank them because their prayers have made a difference and saved the life of their baby," she said.