SALEM - St. Paul Church kicked off a "40 Days for Life Campaign" observance Wednesday with a release of balloons by students at St. Paul School, praying for respect for life "in all forms and stages."
"This includes children in the womb, people who are disabled, elderly, poor, migrants, homeless, sick, dying and others whose dignity is overlooked," a press release explaining the observance said.
Rev. Robert Edwards, pastor of St. Paul parish, said 40 is a significant number in the Bible for a number of events. He said the "40 Days for Life Campaign" "reminds us to have a long-term commitment to life in all its forms."
St. Paul School students, staff members and church parishioners let balloons fly on Wednesday, the start of the “40 Days for Life Campaign.” (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
"It seems like we're weighted down by social problems within families and within our communities," he said.
Members of St. Paul Parish Pro-Life Committee organized the balloon launch and the church's participation in the campaign which ends Nov. 3.
"We recognize this as a time to respond to the U.S. Bishops request for all Catholics to pray, fast and act for the protection and respect for life from conception to natural death. We pray for people to come to understand that life is to be respected in all forms and stages," the press release said.
Activities planned include a prayer before all Masses and the saying of the Rosary in church from Sunday through Friday at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 4 p.m. before Mass. A Mass for Life will be observed at 7 p.m. Oct. 9.
Fasting can include refraining from favorite foods or favorite television shows or any other activities which would be a sacrifice.
"We are encouraged to spend special time engaging in life-supporting activities; for example visits to the homebound or nursing home residents," the release said.
The committee placed 56 white crosses on the church lawn which one committee member said stand for the memory of the estimated 56 million babies lost since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.
Prior to the balloon launch, which was held after the children's Mass, Rev. Stephen Wassie and Rev. Edwards led a prayer. Edwards said the event "gives the kids a chance to celebrate their lives by doing something together."
Information about the "40 Days for Life Campaign" can be found at www.40daysforlife.com.
Also during Right to Life month in October, St. Patrick Church in Leetonia will host a Right to Life dinner at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22, with Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis as the featured speaker.