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There’s still time: 16 days remain in 40 Days For Life prayer vigil

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40 Days for Life
Mary Bray, of St. Clement parish, prays Thursday outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Auburn Ave. in Clifton as part of the 40 Days For Life prayer vigil. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

One of the benefits of my job as reporter for a Catholic newspaper is that I get to meet an awful lot of interesting people doing the Lord’s work in different ways.

In the course of doing my job on Thursday, I decided we could use some photos of the prayer volunteers participating in the 40 Days For Life vigil outside the Planned Parenthood in Clifton.
I grabbed the camera and headed out expecting to find a group of people praying together to end abortion in a powerful witness for life.

What I found when I got there was a powerful witness indeed, but it wasn’t what I expected. There was no group.

Standing alone in the cold and wind, the hood up on her blue jacket, was Mary Bray from St. Clement parish in St. Bernard — and no one else. Mary had a rosary in her gloved hands and wore a sign around her neck that said “Pray to end abortion.” More than once the wind blew the sign into her face.

I had driven up to Clifton to get a photo and maybe head home a little early for the day. But when I saw Mary single-handedly giving witness to the power of God’s love, I decided to, for the moment, put the camera away and join her.

Mary Clark, 40 Days for Life Cincinnati Campaign Director, would later tell me that it isn’t uncommon for only one or two people to be present at the vigil at any given time. Still, it didn’t seem right to be that close and to leave one person praying alone.

I’ve never participated in a pro-life vigil like this directly and I was nervous about the idea of standing on a busy street in front of an abortion clinic and praying publicly. When I walked over and introduced myself, Mary didn’t seem nervous at all.

She gave me prayer card from the American Life League. The prayer is for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and is specific to prayer vigils outside Planned Parenthood locations. We prayed the prayer together, followed by three Hail Mary prayers.

To cover more ground she and her sign moved to the southwest end of the facility and I stood near the driveway entrance and said a rosary. I only stayed for a half-hour or so and when I left Mary Bray was still there, standing alone as a witness to the fact that all life is sacred.

There are were 16 days remaining in the Cincinnati 40 Days For Life prayer vigil when I went. At their website you are welcome to view a schedule of volunteers or to sign up yourself. Of course you could also just stop by on a whim like I did.

Depending on the time of day you may see a group of five or 10, or you may see just one person. No matter how many people are standing outside that clinic, however, know that the prayers they offer are heard by God and the witness they provide is seen by thousands driving by on Auburn Avenue.

The men and women who pray outside these clinics are doing the Lord’s work. Join them, if you can, if only for a little while. If you can’t join them, pray for them.

For more information on 40 Days For Life, visit www.40DaysForLife.com/Cincinnati

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Photo: 40 Days For Life