David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life, enters the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil Mass, 31 Mar 2018. Credit: Lori Diane E Fowlkes
FREDERICKSBURG, Va – David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, entered the Catholic Church on Easter, 31 Mar 2018, giving thanks for the inspiration of influential Catholics, including his wife and children.
“After years of prayer, discernment, and a whole lot of wrestling with God, I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church at last night’s Easter Vigil,” wrote Bereit in an April 1 Facebook post.
Bereit celebrated Easter with his family at St Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His wife Margaret was his sponsor, and his son Patrick was an altar server at the Mass. His daughter Claire and mother-in-law Helen were also in attendance.
Bereit said that he had been attending Sunday Mass with his wife – who is Catholic – every week for the last 28 years, ever since their second date at St Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M in 1990.
But while he and Margaret shared many things in common as Christians, Bereit said he also longed to be more unified in their church affiliation and therefore spent years wrestling with the Catholic Church.
“I struggled with many questions, misconceptions, and hangups along the way. I have endeavored to continually learn and grow through prayer, studying Scripture, theology, and church history, reading, and seeking wise counsel,” he said.
“Throughout my life I have also been surrounded by many amazing Catholic Christians whose faithful, loving witness has continually inspired and attracted me – most notably the beautiful example lived out by my incredible wife and wonderful children.”
Last September, Bereit experienced a profound encounter of faith during Eucharistic adoration. Soon after, he began attending RCIA classes, which he said led to a more fruitful Lent and Easter this year.
“Lent took on far more meaning than usual for me, as I prayed and fasted more intensely than ever with a focused desire to continue growing closer to Christ. Now I am filled with joy, and am at complete peace, about this next step in my life-long journey of faith.”
In 2004, Bereit began 40 Days for Life as a local prolife advocacy group in Bryan-College Station, Texas. The group has grown into an international organization, holding Christian campaigns of prayer and activism to end abortion. Over the course of 40 days, participants hold a 24/7 prayer vigil outside of a single abortion facility in the community. The organisation also engages in community outreach, through partnerships with churches and door-to-door petitions.
Bereit stepped down as CEO in 2016, but continues to be actively involved in the pro-life movement.
He said in his Facebook post that his decision to become Catholic may be surprising to some, but it will not change his dedication to serve the entire body of Christ.
“This journey has deepened my appreciation for a wonderful Christian upbringing, my years of experiences within the Presbyterian Church, the time I was involved with Evangelical ministries while in college, and the blessing of getting to work and pray alongside the many different parts of the Body of Christ in my 15+ years of pro-life work.” – CNA, 3 Apr 2018