In a world in which the most vulnerable are so often overlooked and disregarded, Christ calls us to embrace and uphold the unconditional dignity of every human life. In doing so, we help to build “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love” (EV, 77).
A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.
-Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 100*
The over 56 million abortions since the 1973 decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton reflect with heartbreaking magnitude what Pope Francis means by a “throwaway culture.” However, we have great trust in God’s providence. We are reminded time and again in Scripture to seek the Lord’s help, and as people of faith, we believe that our prayers are heard.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates January 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the "Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children”: “In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.”
As individuals, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and/or giving alms.
9 Days for Life is a multi-faceted novena for the respect and protection of every human life. Each day, a different intention is accompanied by a short reflection, suggested actions, and related information.
- Day 1: Monday, January 14
- Day 2: Tuesday, January 15
- Day 3: Wednesday, January 16
- Day 4: Thursday, January 17
- Day 5: Friday, January 18
- Day 6: Saturday, January 19
- Day 7: Sunday, January 20
- Day 8: Monday, January 21
- Day 9: Tuesday, January 22
Only with prayer - prayer that storms the heavens for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and souls - will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life." -Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Catholic Bishops
January 22 Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Prayer is the foundation of all that we do in defense of human life. Say a short prayer or blessing. Meditate or ask God's intercession. Devote some time to pray a Holy Hour, or commit to a novena or Stations of the Cross. Special prayers are called for those who have lost a child due to miscarriage, abortion or other cause.
Every January, thousands of pilgrims travel to Washington to pray together for an end to abortion at the National Prayer Vigil for Life. If you can't join us, consider holding your own vigil for the unborn.
Everyone can find a way to praise and thank God for the gift of life and to ask for protection for each sacred human life.
Almighty God, our Father,
you who have given us life
and intended us to have it forever,
grant us your blessings.
Enlighten our minds to an awareness
and to a renewed conviction
that all human life is sacred
because it is created
in your image and likeness.
Help us to teach by word
and the example of our lives
that life occupies the first place,
that human life is precious
because it is the gift of God
whose love is infinite.
Give us the strength to defend human life
against every influence
or action that threatens or weakens it,
as well as the strength
to make every life more human
in all its aspects.
Give us the grace...
When the sacredness of life
before birth is attacked,
to stand up and proclaim
that no one ever has the authority
to destroy unborn life.
When a child is described as a burden
or is looked upon only as a means
to satisfy an emotional need,
to stand up
and insist that every child is a unique
and unrepeatable gift of God,
a gift of God
with a right to a loving
and united family.
When the institution of marriage
is abandoned to human selfishness
or reduced to a temporary conditional arrangement
that can easily be terminated,
to stand up and affirm
the indissolubility of the marriage bond.
When the value of the family is threatened
because of social and economic pressure,
to stand up and reaffirm
that the family is necessary
not only for the private good of every person,
but also for the common good of every society,
nation and state.
When freedom is used to dominate the weak,
to squander natural resources and energy,
to deny basic necessities to people,
to stand up and affirm
the demands of justice and social love.
give us courage to proclaim the supreme dignity
of all human life and to demand
that society itself give its protection.
We ask this in your name,
through the redemptive act
of your Son and in the Holy Spirit.
From: The Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops www.usccb.org and Catholic Online.