Forty Days for Life, the community based, pro life campaign is dedicated to prayer, peace, outreach and education. The international pro life advocacy ministry has reached over 1000 cities and 63 countries since its inception by founders David Bereit and Shawn Carney, in 2007.
This year’s fall campaign is coordinated by Palm Beaches newcomer, Mary Ellen Chajkowski, who relocated to this area in 2019. Mary Ellen, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., has found a home at St. Ann’s Parish in West Palm Beach. She made friends locally in the pro life arena when invited to a Luncheons for Life event by Paul Herron (a grass roots, nonpolitical organization that brings pro life people together), and was impressed by the people she met at Seasons 52 in Palm Beach Gardens, where the luncheon is held.
Mary Ellen’s involvement in the pro life movement in the past has been with Birthline(WPB), Divine Mercy House(JAX) and prayer groups at abortion clinics in the Jacksonville area, where she lived prior to joining us here in the Diocese of Palm Beach. Chajkowski was saddened when she heard there was no Coordinator for the 40 Days for Life fall campaign here in Palm Beach, so with a devoted heart she stepped in to serve.
A seed was planted in her heart many years ago, when Mary Ellen was just 18. She had a conversation with her mother that was sparked by a rather confusing Planned Parenthood presentation at her college. Mary Ellen had been sensitive and drawn to the Eucharist when quite young, and very trusting in people. The Spirit breathed conversation with her mother opened the door in Mary Ellen’s heart to understand that life is very sacred, important and precious to God. And this was quite evident in the fact that she is the oldest of eight siblings. The seed planted in her heart grew, and it shaped her into the pro life advocate she is today.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Upon stepping up to the current Coordinator positionl, Chajkowski said from past experiences she learned she just needed to “stir the pot and get everyone doing it again”. She saw there was a good base of shift leaders from the prior campaign in the spring, beautifully led by devoted pro lifer Carol Bal of Palm Beach Gardens.
The campaign asks for prayer volunteers to sign up for two hour ‘sidewalk’ prayer shifts with other devoted pro lifers who come out to pray, educate and hold vigil in front of the Women’s Presidential Center in West Palm Beach (45th Street and Village Boulevard).
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Tessie O’ Dea of Cross Catholic Outreach and a Palm Beach County resident also has a heart for the movement, and a personal commitment to the pro life agenda. Years ago she was encouraged to abort her son, Conor, when she was pregnant with him while having chicken pox. Her heart’s stance on the issue was simply, “No way!”
O’ Dea says her child would be a gift from God regardless of any health condition. Incidentally, Conor was born without any health issues and today is an active U.S. Marine Sargeant. And, as all of her three sons grew up, she donated her baby items to the pro life cause.
Dianne Laubert, a very devoted volunteer at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, tells that she prayed with 40 Days for Life as part of a Lenten devotion.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:8
The 40 Days campaign includes prayer and fasting, peaceful round the clock vigil, sidewalk prayer and community education and outreach.
Father Frank Pavone (Priests for Life), Abby Johnson (Former Planned Parenthood Director and pro-life speaker, movie ‘Unplanned’), Jeanne Monahan (Founder March for Life), Alan Keyes, PH.D.(former U.S. Ambassador) and Archbishop Jose Gomez(Archbishop of Los Angeles) are just a few of the thousands of pro-lifers who endorse the 40 Days for Life organization. The widespread effect of this 40 day prayer powerhouse to date has saved over 22,000 lives, closed 120 abortion clinics and been the catalyst for over 240 abortion workers quitting. Prayer is making a difference. Your prayers make a difference.
This year’s fall campaign runs from September 28 through November 6 and everyone has an abundance of opportunity to share their commitment to life by getting involved at the ‘holy ground’ outside of Presidential Women’s Center, 100 Northpoint Parkway in West Palm Beach(45th Street and Village Boulevard). Over 20 years of progress in eradicating abortion has been made in this same location. Leaders, guides and friends new and old will all be there to support, encourage, pray and educate. Whether a seasoned volunteer or a first time advocate, your presence will be welcomed, and your prayers will make all the difference.
When asked about how the Lord has worked in her life through the pro life advocacy, a reflective tone of Chajkowski’s renders an appreciation for the deep interior life offered her due to her service. The “pro life people are steeped in prayer”, she says. And that has given her life a spiritual foundation, and depth she wouldn’t have otherwise, as it permeates into all aspects of her life.
And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
Local volunteers will be joined by thousands of other volunteers ‘in spirit’ who will also be praying and holding vigil in 622 towns and cities across the nation during the 40 Days for Life Fall Campaign, September 28 to November 6 -all praying on ‘the sidewalk’ to help end the injustice of abortion.
40 Days for Life invites you to be part of the victory in Christ.
For more information please contact:
40 Days for Life
Mary Ellen Chajkowski, Fall Campaign
Main website: 40daysforlife.com
For local gatherings of Luncheons for Life:
Luncheons for Life
Main website: Luncheonsforlife.com