The 40 Days for Life campaign – a peaceful and prayerful demonstration for the sanctity of human life and an end to abortion – got underway in cities and towns throughout the country this week, with members of the pro-life community taking to prayer, vigil at abortion clinics and community outreach.
In York, this year’s campaign began with a solemn Mass celebrated by Bishop Ronald Gainer on Sept. 22 at St. Patrick Church. The celebration of Mass, followed by pro-life testimony during a kick-off dinner, bolstered the faithful in their advocacy for life.
In his homily, the bishop reflected on the Parable of the Unjust Steward, and said the day’s Gospel (Luke 16:1-13) holds a message for the pro-life movement.
In the parable, the unjust steward takes action to ensure a better future after squandering his master’s property.
Jesus advises us to see everything as a gift, Bishop Gainer said. “Therefore, we see ourselves as stewards of all we have. The parable of the dishonest steward could be related to each of us – not that we are dishonest – but that we are stewards of our master’s property and to the care of his goods.”
“This parable has a great application to the pro-life movement and for all of us,” the bishop remarked. “Are we all doing everything we can do? Are we acting as prudently as we possibly can to ensure the future of life for the unborn?”
The 40 Days for Life campaign takes its name from the 40-day periods God used to transform individuals, communities and the entire world, from Noah in the flood and Moses on the mountain, to the disciples after Christ’s Resurrection.
Father Keith Carroll, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, welcomed the congregation, which also celebrated the re-opening of the church that day following three months of renovations, including refurbished and newly upholstered pews and altar furnishings, as well as new lighting, flooring and a heating and cooling system.
“It’s fitting that we have the 40 Days for Life opening Mass with our bishop on the very day that we have the first Mass after the interior renewal of our parish. Because the church building is a shelter,” Father Carroll said. “It’s a place where we seek guidance and strength to help us on our journey. It is important to us as Catholics to uphold the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception to that of natural death. And so I invite us to continue to pray for that special ministry for us, to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness