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40 Days for Life Candlelight Procession

Stations of the Cross are the focus of the closing procession for 40 Days for Life.

A Candlelight Procession brought to a close the Spring 2017 campaign of 40 Days for Life, the sixteenth campaign held in the Diocese of San Jose. More than fifty people braved the rain for the walk from Saint Leo the Great Church, down Race Street to Planned Parenthood on The Alameda, for a final prayer service.

Anne Marie Chrisoulis, pro-life volunteer, said, “The light rain showers reminded us of God’s covering as we walked peacefully praying and singing hymns for the sanctity of human life. It’s the desire and goal of 40DFL participants to be a beacon of light and hope where there is darkness and distress. To preserve the sanctity of life. To protect and be a voice for little humans in the womb, designed and knitted together by God. All children are truly a gift from God.”

“It was a peaceful, prayerful walk, as we gave public witness to the sanctity of human life, and the authority of God over all life. As we processed, we stopped at each block and said one of the Stations of the Cross. It was a fitting Lenten exercise,” said Maureen Saulpaugh, a long-time member of the 40 Days planning team.

The walk also included prayers and hymns, and concludes every year with a pro-life rosary.

When asked why he comes to the vigil and procession, Jerry Mack says, “When we think about the life issues, Catholics must come to grips with the issue of abortion. We have many outreach programs to support men and women who choose life for their babies, financial support, food support and medical services. We have a million families waiting to adopt. But before those programs can have an impact, we have to first save the babies. That’s why I come, that’s my priority.”

Commenting on his presence at the event, Dominic Gagnon said, “I have been looking for some way to get more involved in the pro-life movement. I consider abortion the number one social justice issue in this country.”

Mary Ann Smutnak has noticed the increase of the younger generation at pro-life activities. “The tide has definitely turned on the abortion issue, especially for the younger generation. We see an increasing participation at the vigil, the West Coast Walk for Life and other events, by the Millennials. I think that’s because of the freedom of information on the internet. They can actually watch a video of an abortion procedure, and see what really takes place. There’s a growing awareness that the little boy or girl, the fetus, is a human being. I was told once by a teen, that ‘abortion is mean.’ ”

The next campaign runs from September 27 to November 5, with the Bishop’s Mass for the Sanctity of Human Life on Tuesday, October 23. For more information about 40 Days for Life call Rilene Simpson at (408) 800-5498, email 40daysforlifesj@gmail.com or visit www.40daysforlife.com/sanjose.