40 Days for Life founder to give keynote at MCC Annual Assembly Oct. 5


One day at a time.

Suddenly, they add up to 40, and you might start seeing a difference.

Nationally recognized Catholic activist David Bereit, founder of the global 40 Days for Life Campaign, will share his message of faith-fueled vigilance and tenacity during the Missouri Catholic Conference’s (MCC’s) 2019 Annual Assembly.

The free event will be on Saturday, Oct. 5, in the State Capitol in Jefferson City.

The theme will be: “Raising the Next Generation of Catholic Advocates.”

Catholics from throughout the state are encouraged to attend this free event, where the state’s bishops will meet with people of the Church to discuss ways to give witness to their faith in matters of public policy.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has called upon all parishes in the Jefferson City diocese to send at least two representatives to the Annual Assembly.

“This will ensure that Catholics from the diocese come back home energized and better informed about the issues and how they can make a difference as Catholic citizens,” he stated in a letter to pastors of the diocese.

Mr. Bereit will be part of an intriguing cadre of Catholic congregants who will share their experiences of putting their faith into action and bringing about meaningful change in society.

Mr. Bereit started and led 40 Days for Life Campaign through its first decade, building it into the largest and one of the most effective grassroots pro-life mobilizations 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

They 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.

Mr. Bereit visited the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood in Columbia in 2016 during a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil.

“You are the people that God is using, speaking up for the people who cannot speak for themselves, to save the lives of children, to change hearts and minds, and to help make this the beginning of the end of abortion,” he told about 150 participants in the 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.”

Mr. Bereit recently stepped away from his role at 40 Days for Life to work in partnership with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, and help prepare the next generation of leaders in numerous high-impact ministry organizations.

Under the Capitol dome

The MCC, which organizes the Annual Assembly each year, is the public-policy agency of the state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses.

In addition to Mr. Bereit’s keynote, four seasoned Catholic advocates will share their experiences advocating on Catholic education, social justice, criminal justice, and pro-life. 

Lois Thomas, a member of Immaculate Conception parish in Jefferson City, will share insights gained from years of ministering to men and women in prison.

There will also be a strong line-up of break-out sessions on topics such as immigration, gender ideology, racism, and Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on youth, “Christus Vivit” (“Christ Lives”).

A schedule of youth-oriented events for sixth-graders and older will also be offered.

Child care is available for those who register for it by Sept. 23.

A free lunch will be served in the third-floor Rotunda of the Capitol.

When and how

Registration for the MCC Annual Assembly will start at 9 a.m. on Oct. 5, with the opening session and keynote address starting at 10 a.m.

The day will conclude with a Mass concelebrated by all the Catholic bishops of Missouri at 2:30 p.m. in nearby St. Peter Church.

Advance registration is requested for planning purposes.

Visit mocatholic.org to register, or call 1-800-456-1679.