Fall packs several pro-life events

Taking a public stand for life and against abortion.

People in the Omaha area will have three opportunities to do just that this fall, during the annual Vigil for Life, 40 Days for Life and Life Chain. And new this year: a session for youth on the power and freedom of chastity.



The 18th annual Vigil for Life, which drew more than 300 people last year, will begin with an 8 a.m. Mass Sept. 23 at St. Mary Church in Bellevue, celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas.

After Mass and exposition of the Eucharist, the archbishop will lead a rosary procession to the nearby Abortion and Contraception Clinic of Nebraska, 1002 West Mission Ave. Another option for people during the several-block procession is to continue praying in the church before the Blessed Sacrament, said Whitney Bradley, coordinator of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate, the event’s sponsor. The event concludes with Benediction and a reception, she said.



Another event is 40 Days for Life, Sept. 27 to Nov. 5, when participants can maintain a peaceful, prayerful presence on the public right-of-way in front of the Bellevue abortion clinic and the Planned Parenthood facility at 3105 N. 93rd St. in Omaha.

People are encouraged to sign up for one-hour slots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., said Kristan Gray, executive director of Nebraskans United for Life, sponsor of the local effort. Simply contact Michael Sambol at, indicating a day, time and location, and a parish or church affiliation.

Since 40 Days for Life began in Texas in 2007, Nebraskans United for Life has taken part in each spring and fall event, now held internationally. This fall’s event also will feature speeches Sept. 28 by Steve Karlen, North American campaign director, at 11 a.m. outside the Bellevue abortion clinic and 1 p.m. outside the Planned Parenthood facility.



Nebraskans United for Life will wrap up the 40 Days campaign with a program for middle school through college-age students.

Called The Silver Ring Thing for the rings participants receive when they make a commitment to purity, the program "is a radical response to the meet-up, hook-up, break-up culture and will inspire those who attend to live a pure life with Jesus Christ," Gray said.

Presented by a Pennsylvania-based team of young people who travel internationally, the 6-8 p.m. event Nov. 5 will feature music, videos, skits, special effects and comedy, aimed at reaching young people with a message of "hope, boldness, forgiveness, second chances and truth," Gray said.

A session also will be held for parents about today’s youth culture and how to support their children’s commitment to chastity. Both will be held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine St. in Omaha.

Cost is $6 in advance, $8 at the door and $5 per person for groups of 25 or more. Tickets are available at



A third opportunity for public witness is the Life Chain, this year Oct. 1 in Omaha and other communities, Bradley said. In Omaha, parish groups and people from other churches will gather from 2-3 p.m. on Dodge Street, between 60th and 90th streets.

"Each parish has a location to join with their community, and people should watch their parish bulletins for where to join their groups.

"And we’re encouraging people to bring their own signs this year," said Bradley, who is working with pro-life coordinators at parishes to develop messages people can use to portray the pro-life movement in the best light.

Before the Life Chain, St. Margaret Mary Parish, at 6116 Dodge St., will host a showing of the film "Sidewalk Chronicles," a documentary about women with unplanned pregnancies and adoption as an alternative to abortion. The noon showing will conclude with a question-answer session with the film’s producers.

Several rural parishes also will participate in the nationwide effort. A list of those efforts can be found online with this story at

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