Q&A with 40 Days for Life co-founder

| Sharon Wilson | September 11, 2013 | 0 Comments
David Bereit, co-founder of the 40 Days for Life campaign, is pictured in Washington, D.C., in this 2009 photo.  CNS photo / Bob Roller

David Bereit, co-founder of the 40 Days for Life campaign, is pictured in Washington, D.C., in this 2009 photo. CNS photo / Bob Roller

Sharon Wilson, respect life director for the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life, recently interviewed David Bereit, co-founder of 40 Days for Life, an international pro-life campaign that encourages prayer, fasting and peaceful vigils to end abortion. The following is an edited version of the interview.

Q. How did you get involved in pro-life ministry?

A. My wife and I were heavily involved in marriage preparation, marriage enrichment and chastity education with youth. We started to realize how that was all connected to the pro-life movement. In 1998, Planned Parenthood announced that it was going to build the first abortion clinic in [Bryan-College Station, Texas], and by 1999 it opened. During that time we felt convicted that we had to do something about this, and we became part of a community group that formed a local group called Coalition for Life.

Q. How has your personal faith life entered into it? How has it changed or developed?

A. When I first got started in the pro-life movement I thought, “Yeah we’ve got to pray, and faith is a part of it. But first we have to get the right people elected, we have to get marketing strategies — first we have to do all these things.” What I finally came to recognize by being involved in this is that it has to start and end with God because he is the one who will ultimately bring about these victories, save these lives and bring an end to abortion in cities and states across the nation and in our entire world.

Get involvedThe next 40 Days for Life campaign is set for Sept. 25 to Nov. 3. Visit the 40 Days for Life website to find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Q. How did 40 Days for Life come about?

A. The group Coalition for Life formed in 1998. A significant event happened in 2004 when we saw people getting weary of pro-life efforts, so involvement was dropping off in that community and we did not know what to do. We had to ask God to show us what to do. We really felt convicted to do something in the 40-day time frame that God has used throughout history for transformation. The things we decided to do were prayer and fasting, a peaceful vigil at the abortion facility around the clock and grassroots outreach spreading the word to others to involve them.

Q. What were the greatest surprises?

A. The biggest surprise was, yes, there is transformation around us in the abortion industry, but also what was being transformed was us. We always survey participants after 40 Days campaigns, and we have consistently found 90 percent of the volunteers who have participated identified that they had spiritual growth as a direct result of being involved with 40 Days for Life. When I think about all the other ministries I have been involved in, I don’t know that any of them could say that 90 percent of the people involved had experienced a personal deepening of faith. It has been a beautiful gift.

40 Days founder to speak locally

David Bereit will be talking at two upcoming events in the Twin Cities area.

On Sept. 20, he will speak at the annual banquet benefiting the Highland and University LifeCare Centers. Social Hour with appetizers and silent auction begins at 6 p.m and program and dinner are from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas, James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall. Tickets are $50 per person with proceeds going to the Highland and University LifeCare Centers. RSVP to (651) 695-0111

Bereit also will speak at Pro-Life Action Ministries’ Annual Life Banquet Oct. 7 at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Center. See Pro-Life Action Ministries’ website for more information: http://www.plam.org.

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