Can’t get to DC for the March for Life? You can still make a difference
Recognizing that most pro-life Americans have responsibilities that keep them from making a pilgrimage to Washington for the National Prayer Vigil at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the March for Life, the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities is offering a wonderful way for Catholics everywhere to take part in Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and (Virtual) Pilgrimage, beginning Saturday, January 17 and running through Sunday, January 25.
The Pro-Life Secretariat’s novena intro webpage describes four ways you can sign up to get the daily novena message (in English and Spanish): online, by email or text message and by downloading an app. You can also find the entire novena online in downloadable formats.
The prayer/reflection portion takes no more than a couple of minutes. It consists of the daily prayer intention, and an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, followed by a very brief reflection.
Three "Acts of Reparation" are proposed each day as a concrete means of building a culture of life in the US or as a personal sacrifice to amp up the power of your prayer.
For Catholics who want to go "One Step Further," links are provided to resources (all brief) so you can better understand, articulate and defend the teachings of our faith on an array of pro-life/bioethical issues.
If you’re not yet convinced that taking part in the novena is something you ought to do, the Bishops’ Committee lists nine compelling reasons why you should sign up:
(2) It’s an age-old tradition. For centuries, Catholics have made the commitment to pray for nine days for special intentions. This is a way to practice perseverance, setting aside time each day to spend with God.
(3) It’s "unforgettable." You can download and print the prayers for each day or, so that you don’t forget to participate, you can sign up to receive them daily through emails, text messages, or an app.
(4) It raises awareness. Does the world know that so many of us value and respect every human life from conception to natural death? You can share the intentions on social media and even download a special Facebook cover photo and profile picture to spread the word.
(5) It unites us with other participants. One mark of the Catholic Church is its universality. This is an opportunity to gather in prayer with thousands of people for a united, prayerful purpose.
(6) It unites us with those suffering. Prayer is a way to recognize our solidarity with those who are suffering. We are called to support one another in prayer and in action.
(7) It is spiritually enriching. 9 Days for Life will not only send out prayer intentions for each day, but also short reflections, actions, and articles. Nine days later you’ll be more informed about issues related to valuing all human life.
(8) It calls us to action. Different actions are suggested each day as a way of offering reparation for the ways our country has not respected God’s gift of life. Additionally, the novena may end after 9 days, but the need to protect life never will. Throughout these 9 days you may find a specific aspect or stage of life that you feel called to particularly advocate for.
(9) It will bless us! Remember that whatever we give to God, He gives back to us a hundred-fold. By offering nine days of prayer to Him, we are not only allowing Him to work through us in the lives of others, we are opening our hearts to receive His love and grace in our own lives as well.
We’re winning the battle of hearts and minds and passing an unprecedented number of state pro-life laws so this is no time to let up. Every prayer, every vote, every act of kindness, every act of witnessing to the infinite value of every human life will help tip the balance. For years, NARAL has lamented the graying of the pro-choice movement and the "intensity gap" that exists between pro-life youth and pro-choice youth.
NARAL’s former president, Nancy Keenan, stepped down two years ago (after eight years at the helm) for precisely this reason. She wanted to give young pro-choice women a chance at leadership roles in the hope they’d attract more young people to the cause. Her decision was prompted by an epiphany she experienced when stepping off the train at Union Station around the time that the March for Life brought 400,000 pilgrims to DC. She was struck by the overwhelming numbers of teens and young adults: “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” she recalled. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.” She could have added that they’re also creative, energetic and joyful.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up here.
Susan Wills is a senior writer for Aleteia’s English language edition.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!