by MARK MITCHELSON
WELLINGTON — The first official 40 Days for Life vigils in Auckland and Wellington closed on Palm Sunday, as participants came together for the final hour of prayer.
In Auckland, more than 120 people assembled outside the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC) for a candlelight vigil led by Fr John Airey, CSsR, and Fr Matthew Clerkin, OFM.
Fr Airey thanked the vigilgoers for their faithful witness to life. “We have been coming to pray outside this place
for decades,” he said, “but to come here every day for 40 days, 12 hours a day, is real dedication.”
Near the end of the vigil a group carrying 1081 white crosses processed across Dominion Rd to the abortion clinic. This number relates to the recorded abortions that occurred in the
building throughout 2012.
The crosses were left at the door, along with a letter to AMAC employees letting them know that the prayers and care extended to
In Wellington, 2252 white crosses lay under the palm tree outside the entrance to Wellington Hospital throughout the last day. This is the number of abortions that took place in 2012 at New Zealand’s second busiest abortuary, the Te Mahoe unit, which is within
In Wellington about 80 vigilgoers stood across the road under shelter, praying and thanking God for the blessings received over the 40 days.
40 Days for Life is a worldwide peaceful prayer vigil that takes place outside hospitals and abortion clinics.
This simultaneous vigil was undertaken in 253 locations in 11 countries.
The vigils are always supported by pregnancy centres or churches that are able to serve the mothers and fathers who turn away from abortion.
New Zealand organisers are aware of two babies saved from abortion in Auckland during this vigil. The first turnaround occurred within half an hour of the vigil starting. This prompted the abortionist to confront the Auckland coordinator, Mark Mitchelson.
One significant impact the vigil had is through numerous discussions with people on the street.
Clare McClean, who led the Wellington vigil, found particularly exciting the “dialogues where an initially angry person has come to understand and accept the need to stand for our defenceless
and innocent unborn brothers and sisters”. In one such encounter, Ms
McClean said a professional hospital worker admitted that the vigil participants were right.
Similar conversations were held with people in Auckland. One woman
who approached Mr Mitchelson was initially antagonistic and had left her faith. After an hour of conversation, she left with a smile and wave saying, “God bless you”.
Taunts from people in cars and on foot were common. However, so were
words of encouragement and support.
One passerby expressed gratitude saying: “I am an atheist, but what you are doing is right, it’s a matter of logic, and I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t here with you.”
Others simply said “thank you” and “keep it up”. Others took the time to stand and pray for a minute or two.
40 Days for Life was sponsored by Family Life International NZ. FLI director Dame Colleen Bayer acknowledged the hundreds of people throughout New Zealand, who, unable to physically attend, sustained the campaign through prayer, fasting and sacrifice.