The purpose of the 40 Days for Life is to pray for an end to abortion in America and in our world. How and when that will happen is known only to God.
People get that, but they sometimes have a follow-up question: “Well, if it’s all about prayer, you can pray anywhere — in your home or church, right? Why do you need a public place, on the side of a road in Spring Valley?”
The answer to that is explained in the “outreach” part of our campaign: it’s to send a powerful message to the community about the tragic reality of abortion.
40 Days for Life vigils take place near Planned Parenthood offices or other abortion facilities to remind our neighbors that the dispersing of drugs to cause an abortion or, in some places (not in Spring Valley), actual surgical abortions themselves are happening among us every day.
And in light of that fact, we pray among signs bearing messages that can provide both hope and a call to stop and think: a phone number offering help with a crisis pregnancy, an image of an unborn child, a reminder that adoption is an option, a request for everyone to pray, a reminder that God’s love is for every one of us — that He forgives and heals.
Maybe a message will touch someone’s heart immediately; maybe a sign will be remembered one day when the message is needed. We just don’t know — but we pray.
So a single week, how many people pass by and see the signs posted at the 40 Days for Life site outside the Pascack Plaza in Spring Valley?
Would you believe 90,000 maybe?
This week we did a little fun math. We counted the number of cars that went by in a 5-minute interval. We did this two times: between 2:40 to 2:45 on Thursday and 12:10 to 12:15 on Saturday. The numbers were 56 and 60, respectively.
To keep the math simple, we used 60 as the base number of cars going by every 5 minutes.
Then multiply that by 12, and you have 720 cars an hour.
We’re there for 9 hours, so 9 x 720 is 6,480 cars a day.
That’s 45,360 cars a week. Say there’s an average of 2 people per car. That comes out to a grand total of 90,720 people in all!
Now, of course, this is hardly a scientific survey. Our sample is too small and who knows how representative the 5-minute intervals we started out with were. Also, it’s unlikely the traffic volume stays constant throughout the day, and we really have no idea how many people are in each car.
But you see the point. I think it’s safe to say that tens of thousands of people drive by and see our messages every week, and probably a lot of them will think for a moment about the issue. How long would it take to go around ringing that many doorbells, or how much would it cost to mail out that many flyers?
This could be one of the simplest and most effective things a person who wants to end abortion can do.
God bless all the 40 Days for Life volunteers who have stood among these signs to give them a human face. There’s one week left, so it’s not too late if you’d like to help. The final day is Sunday, March 20.
Please join this peaceful campaign of prayer and fasting.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Perlman Drive, Spring Valley (on public property)
6 p.m. to 9 a.m. — Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at St. Gregory Barbarigo Church, 21 Cinder Rd., in Garnerville.
For information call 845-429-6709.