40 Days for Life founder to keynote Midwest March for Life, Feb. 1 in J.C.

Pre-rally at 9:30 a.m., March at 10, rally in the Capitol at 10:45, pro-life apologetics workshop at 1 p.m.


Abortion snuffs out the lives of millions of unborn children each year.

Nationally-recognized Catholic activist David Bereit will share concrete success stories and strategies for ending the bloodshed once and for all, during the 10th annual Midwest March for Life on Saturday, Feb. 1, in Jefferson City.

The founder of the immensely successful 40 Days for Life global campaign will be the featured speaker at a post-march rally in the State Capitol and will lead an afternoon workshop on pro-life apologetics.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in any or all of the activities scheduled throughout the day.

Numerous life-affirming booths and vendors will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Selinger Centre exhibit hall near St. Peter Church, 216 Broadway St., across from the Capitol.

As in years past, St. Joseph Radio will record the march and offer religious articles for sale.

Coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries will be available for a nominal price.

Gregory Thompson of St. Peter parish in Marshall will lead the praying of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet outside the Selinger Centre at 8 a.m.

Also at 8 a.m., prominent pro-life activist Bonnie Lee will organize a Prayer Walk inside the Capitol Rotunda. Prayer teams will be assigned to various offices, praying for lawmakers, state executives, families and staff and presenting a card of encouragement.

Mrs. Lee, a retired nurse, is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board and numerous other pro-life groups in Missouri.

March and rally

A pre-march rally with prayers and several inspirational speakers will begin outside the Selinger Centre at 9:30 a.m., followed by a pro-life march from there through downtown Jefferson City to the Capitol.

Participants will march for about three-quarters of a mile, passing the Governor’s Mansion, the Supreme Court Building and several state office buildings and Jefferson City landmarks.

Members of the clergy will lead the march, accompanied by an honor guard of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus.

The rally featuring Mr. Bereit’s presentation will start at 10:45 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

Other speakers will include:

  • Illinois state Rep. Avery Bourne, the youngest lawmaker ever to be sworn into the Illinois General Assembly;
  • Katrina Gallic, development director for the National March for Life in Washington, D.C.;
  • Jacinta Florence, Missouri regional coordinator for Students for Life America;
  • Susan Klein, executive director of Missouri Right to Life;
  • Missouri Governor Mike Parson;
  • Bridget Van Means, president and vision leader for ThriVe St. Louis Express Women’s Healthcare; and
  • Stacy Washington, Lifezette TV host (www.stacyontheright.com)

Informative afternoon

Starting at noon, chili and hotdogs prepared by Knights of Columbus Precious Blood Council 4454 in Fulton will be available for a nominal price in the Selinger Centre.

A student youth rally led by Jacinta Florence of Students for Life will be held from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in lower level of the Selinger Centre.

Also from 1 to 1:45 p.m., David Bereit will lead a workshop for adults on effectively arguing the pro-life position, in the Father Ahrens Room of the St. Peter Parish Life Center in the lower level of the parish rectory.

Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, vicar general for the diocese and pastor of St. Michael parish in Russellville, will offer a Mass for Life at 2 p.m. in St. Peter Church.

A municipal parking garage is located at 200 Madison St., a few blocks from the Capitol.

Registration is requested for the afternoon workshops in order to provide enough materials.

“Made for this moment”

Mr. Bereit now works in partnership with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, to help prepare the next generation of leaders in numerous high-impact ministry organizations.

His powerful delivery and message of faith-fueled vigilance set hearts on fire when he spoke at the 2019 Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly in Jefferson City.

“You were made for this very moment!” he thundered in his keynote presentation. “You were made to lead! You were made to advocate for our faith and the values we hold dear.

“There are some ministries that only YOU can start!” he insisted. “There are some people that only YOU can reach. There are some organizations that only YOU can take to the next level. There are some politicians that only YOU can influence. There are some messages that only YOU can effectively articulate.”

For the March for Life, he’ll share insights into how he started and led the 40 Days for Life Campaign (www.40daysforlife.com) through its first decade, building it into the largest and one of the most effective grassroots pro-life mobilization ever to confront the abortion industry.

It has grown into a network of more than 2,000 local leaders and 750,000 volunteers in 800 cities across all 50 American states and 56 nations. 

In the process, 40 Days for Life has helped save thousands of pre-born babies, close more than 100 abortion clinics and lead scores of workers out of the abortion industry, including Abby Johnson, subject of the recent movie “Unplanned.”

The key is the combination of prayer and sacrifice, community outreach, and public presence on the sidewalks outside abortion clinics throughout two concentrated, 40-day-long campaigns per year.

He took his message to the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood in Columbia in 2016 during a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil.

“You are the ones who are writing the pages of history,” he said at that time. “It’s not a matter of if abortion will end, it’s a matter of when.

“And when people tell the stories about it, they will remember you who were on the front lines in these crucial days — when lives were being saved, when the tide was turning.”

From the start

This will be the 10th annual Midwest March for Life in Jefferson City.

Dr. Gregory Thompson of St. Peter parish in Marshall organized the first march in 2010 when he realized that most people were unable to travel to Washington D.C. for the national March for Life.

He handed the event over to Mike and Kathy Forck, members of St. Andrew parish in Holts Summit and directors of the 40 Days for Life Campaign in Columbia.

Annual attendance continues to grow, with people of all ages traveling to Jefferson City from throughout the state and from neighboring states.

Call (573) 340-8444 or visit the Midwest March for Life website for information or to register.