How to join the US bishops in 9 Days for Life
By Matt Hadro
Washington D.C., Jan 16, 2015 / 11:49 am (CNA/EWTN News) - The U.S. bishops hope a new pro-life prayer campaign will unite Catholics against not only abortion, but other threats to human fulfilment and life as well.
“Pope Francis reminds us constantly of the loving concern Christians have for all people at any stage of life who’ve been cast aside or forgotten by society,” stated Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
“The 9 Days for Life novena offers a chance to join in prayer and solidarity with the unborn, victims of violence, those suffering from addiction, and those whose hearts ache to be part of a family.”
The novena bookends the 41st annual March for Life, and runs from Saturday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 25. Through “prayer, penance, and pilgrimage,” Catholics can join in solidarity with all victims of abortion, domestic abuse, addiction, and other evils.
The message is about being pro-life for all ages, including the unborn.
There are multiple ways Catholics can take part in the novena. Daily prayers and meditations can be sent through e-mail and text message updates, a downloadable app, or distributed print materials. In addition, parishes and local groups can meet to pray for reparation for abortion and for all those affected by it.
The novena is sorely needed with the prevalence of violence in the U.S., said Anne McGuire, the assistant director for education and outreach for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in an interview with CNA.
“An increasing number of states are considering doctor-assisted suicide,” McGuire noted. “75 percent of Americans are reported to know a victim of domestic violence. There have been over 56 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, and massive numbers of mothers and fathers suffer the aftermath of those abortions, along with siblings, grandparents, those who work in the abortion industry and others.”
McGuire hopes that the novena will ignite year-round prayer and awareness for these problems.
“We do hope that this novena increases the awareness of each person to be recognized as someone made in the image and likeness of God,” she said, pointing to the theme “each person is a masterpiece of God’s creation.”
“We know that God hears our prayers and we hope that many graces are given in response to our petitions,” she continued.
The website 9daysforlife.com presents a myriad of resources to participants, as does the program’s app. Leaders of prayer groups can access pro-life prayer intentions and print promotional material for their parish. Daily meditations can be shared through social media. Pro-life articles can be printed for distribution.
The whole novena is a “digital pilgrimage,” the Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities insists. Even though “we can't trek 30 miles per day, we can still undertake a pilgrimage,” stated a message from the secretariat, “a prayerful and sacrificial journey for a special intention.”
“One important aspect of pilgrimages is that the participant grows spiritually and perhaps even develops some resolutions by the pilgrimage's completion,” the message added.