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9 40 days for life

40 days for life: the line between life and death

As their Lenten pro-life vigil begins again in Glasgow, organiser Rose Docherty explains 40 Days for life

This is the fifth year that 40 Days for Life has prayed outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow during Lent. The vigil maintains a peaceful, prayerful presence for 40 days from Ash Wednesday, praying for a culture of life in Scotland and around the world.

At the beginning of out 40 Days for Life Mass on Saturday February 22, Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow Archdiocese welcomed everyone to St Andrew’s Cathedral including the men and women of 40 Days for Life group, who this week began their 2020 Lenten Vigil outside the QEUH.

The archbishop began his homily on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter by reflecting upon the fact that this feast dated back centuries in the history of the Catholic Church, possibly as far back as the fourth century.

Strength and grace

Speaking of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, in conjunction with the community of Bishops and the lay faithful around the world, Archbishop Tartaglia referred to the immense grace and strength of the Catholic Church as a global community of Faith.

Today the Church is being threatened just as it was in those early days when it faced persecution but, of course, we trust in the Lord who appointed St Peter the first pope.

St Peter was the one who said, in answer to Our Lord’s question, ‘Who do people say that I am?’: “You are the son of the Living Lord”. From that time on, that theology has been the bedrock of our Faith.

With regard to the forthcoming Lenten 40 Days for Life prayer and fasting vigil, Archbishop Tartaglia reflected that one of the central tenets of our Catholic Faith is recognition of the inviolability of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Every child is made in the image and likeness of God. Human life is sacred and inviolable.

From apostolic days until today, this is our Faith and we will stand true to that teaching. We will hold life precious; we will preserve, promote and guard it! We have an integral calling to care not just for the life of the Church but also for life itself.

That is not to say we do not have a care for women who because indeed we do. We care for the women who are the victims of the culture of death.

Pro-life and politics

An argument often raised by those who promote the culture of death is that we don’t care for life after the birth of the child. “Nonsense!” said the Archbishop. “We must rebuff such arguments and we do!”

During our 40 Days for Life Mass, the archbishop spoke about the undisputed fact that many of our political leaders and almost all parties are ‘deaf and blind to the defence of the human life of the unborn child’ citing the imposition of abortion upon the people of Northern Ireland by both the British and Scottish Governments.

Those few prolife politicians who sought to defend the right to life of the unborn did so at great personal risk to their future political careers. He praised them for their steadfastness in Faith and their faithful defence of human life.

40 days for life

As we looked forward to Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of our campaign, the Archbishop pointed out that the 40 Days for Life Lenten Prayer Vigil will continue each day from 8am until 8pm for 40 Days during Lent and finish on Palm Sunday evening with the now traditional silent candle lit hour of remembrance at the QEUH.

He said: “The Vigil is an opportunity for offering care and support at the point of need, for witnessing to the cause of life, an opportunity for evangelisation as we encounter others in dialogue. It is a chance to change hearts and minds. The public understands what 40 Days for Life seeks to achieve. The vigil also offers an opportunity for personal spiritual growth.”

Archbishop Tartaglia offered his blessing upon the Vigil and prayed that the weather, which had been extremely challenging over the previous week, would be more clement for the vigil participants. He commended the vigil to the care and intercession of St John Ogilvie and St Mungo, two of the city of Glasgow’s beloved saints.

In celebrating Mass for the opening event of 40 Days for Life Archbishop Tartaglia continued in their footsteps as as spiritual leader in the city.

For me, the Mass brought to mind the Church’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life): “Faced with so many opposing points of view, and a widespread rejection of sound doctrine concerning human life, we can feel that Paul’s entreaty to Timothy is also addressed to us: ‘Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.’ (1 Tim 4:2)

In your prayers

This exhortation should resound with special force in the hearts of those members of the Church who directly share, in different ways, in her mission as ‘teacher’ of the truth.

Please pray for the success of our Lenten campaign or perhaps help us defend the unborn by attending our prayerful, peaceful vigil during the next 40 days.

The 40 Days for Life Vigil will take place from February 26 to April 5 (Palm Sunday), 8am-8pm daily. For more information on 40 Days for Life email Ogilvie1615@outlook.com

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