Today is Ash Wednesday, a day of repentance and the start of the forty day Lenten period of prayer and fasting. Christians of many different denominations observe Lent in keeping with Christ’s 40 days in the desert where He faced temptation by Satan, and preparing themselves for the celebration of Christ’s Passion and His joyful Resurrection

In concert with this observance comes the bi-annual 40 Days for Life, a national, ecumenical pro-life effort that consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion and peaceful vigil outside abortion facilities. Too often we fall into the pop culture trap of abstaining from chocolate or cheese or something else we deem “barred for us,” robbing ourselves of the true benefits of this season.

40 Days for Life presents us with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women, pre-born children and our at-large society. The campaign is run in hundreds of cities across the country in both spring and fall, with this season’s campaign running from today until April 1. Here in Massachusetts, the communities of Attleboro, Haverhill, Lynn, Springfield and Worcester are participating.

For you personally, participation can come in many different forms: praying at one of the public vigils, remembering the campaign in your daily prayers, and fasting in support of the campaign. I encourage you to visit this page on our website, find the location closest to you, contact the coordinator and get involved in any way that you can.

While the heart of the 40 Days for Life is the scourge of abortion and the protection pre-born life, we cannot forget our efforts in Massachusetts to stop doctor-prescribed death both at the State House and at the ballot box. We have all committed ourselves to protecting life, from conception to natural death, as our opponents continue their efforts to infringe on people’s right to life.

The 40 Days for Life is truly a rewarding time, one that makes the observance of Lent that much more powerful. Please join me in making a difference in your life and others’ by putting the sanctity of life at the forefront of your Lenten observance this year.

For our families,