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The Spiritual Battle for Life: Latin American Congress 2023

15-NOVEMBER-23 • ALL •

Over 250 40 Days for Life leaders and volunteers from almost every Latin American country and beyond gathered in Mexico City, 10-12 November 2023 for a Latin American 40 Days for Life Congress themed: “The Spiritual Battle for Life.” The Latin American continent is vibrant and alive for life: the pro-life movement in the region is active, passionate, vocal and has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, despite strong secular international legal pressure to promote and expand abortion in the region from pro-abortion forces and NGOs.

Mexico now has around 104 40 Days for Life campaigns, and Colombia was strongly represented with over 65 vigil sites in the country, and strong pavement counseling training, saving many lives each campaign thanks to the local co-ordination of Ruby Gomez Giraldo. 

The number of lives saved from abortion in Colombia in the last 5 years is off the charts. Director of Latin American campaigns Lourdes Varela has travelled to almost every Latin American country in recent years, which now represents over 270 campaigns for 40 Days for Life, recruiting almost every country in the region, despite strong communist presence in certain countries. 

Leaders heard updates from USA leaders Shawn Carney, Matt Britton and Ramona Trevino with updates from a post-Roe America about the battle for life in the USA. Ramona shared her personal testimony of her journey from being a Planned Parenthood employee to becoming a pro-life speaker, and learning the truth about contraception. 

Father Robert Funes has been the spiritual director of the Mexican team and gave an inspired introduction to the spiritual foundation of praying to end abortion in Mexico. During the conference there was the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, for Mass, confession and adoration. The personal devotion of the Mexican people was on full display with the singing of “Viva Cristo Rey.” 

Leaders also heard a legal update from Juana Acosta about international law: past present and future, about the case of “Beatriz” ( from Naydi Casillas (a ‘roe vs wade’ case attempt for Latin America) and also about Abortion Pill Reversal from Doctor Pilar Calva. The recent decriminalization of abortion in Mexico was clarified and explained by René Bolio, a Mexican lawyer. Extreme cases are often the gateway that pro-abortion activists attempt to open legal doors to abortion in entire countries. 

Kenneth Jimenez and Elsa Naranjo, a married couple from Costa Rica gave an update of how to organize a local 40 Days for Life campaign and team from their own personal experience. Pamela Delgado gave a video presentation on how dynamically 40 Days for Life has grown in Colombia and beyond, while Juan Presa and Tomislav Cunovic also presented on how 40 Days for Life is growing internationally.

The first ever Spanish version of the International magazine for 40 Days for Life called “Vigilia 40” was given to each leader to follow in the footsteps of the English magazine, while leaders were also very interested in the Spanish version of “What to say when” a book on pro-life apologetics by Shawn Carney and Steve Karlen which very convincingly articulates how to make pro-life arguments in daily conversation. Leaders were particularly inspired by a post-Roe America, how so many states in the United States had introduced pro-life laws either entirely or partially. 

The atmosphere and environment of the event was filled with hope, inspiration and joy emanating from the personal devotional life of Latinos representing not just a continent, but an entire region. Latin America is a region filled with a passion for life, fun, joy and presence. Overall, a stunning event. Viva Cristo Rey!