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US Catholics urged to pray novena for life Jan. 16-24

A woman becomes emotional as she prays with a rosary during Eucharistic adoration following the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 19, 2023, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. From Jan. 16-24, 2024, the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities is inviting Catholics nationwide to pray "9 Days for Life." The annual Respect Life novena encompasses observance of the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which is Jan. 22. (OSV News photo/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities is inviting Catholics nationwide to pray “9 Days for Life” Jan. 16-24.

The annual Respect Life novena encompasses observance of the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which is Jan. 22.

Now in its 12th year, the novena “has reached hundreds of thousands of people in over 100 countries spanning six continents” since it began, according to a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announcing this year’s novena.

Participants may access the novena and other resources — in English and Spanish — at respectlife.org/9-days-for-life, as well as subscribe to receive the daily prayers by email or text message in English at respectlife.org/9-days-signup or in Spanish at respectlife.org/9-dias-por-la-vida.

Sponsored by the USCCB pro-life committee, “the novena began in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States,” the release said.

“While the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returned the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives at federal and state levels, continuing efforts are needed to protect children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion. … The overarching intention of the novena is the end to abortion,” it added.

For each day of the novena, there is an intention, suggested prayers, a reflection and suggested “acts of reparation.” Under the heading “One Step Further,” each day’s resources also include a link to an article about a life issue, including: abortion; ways to help an expectant mother; the connection between poverty and abortion; adoption; the political responsibility of Catholics on the abortion issue; and how to build a culture of life.

For example, the intention for the first day is: “May the tragic practice of abortion end.” Participants are asked to pray an Our Father, three Hail Marys and a Glory Be.

“At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love,” says the first day’s reflection in part. “The presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging situation never diminishes the value of a human life. God does not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace our own lives and the lives of others as true gifts. … May our culture experience the power of God’s transforming love, that all eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of every human life.”

Acts of reparation for the day include taking a break from television and movies to spend some of that time praying the day’s reflection; praying a short prayer titled “Every Life is Worth Living” (found online at usccb.org/every-life-worth-living); and offering some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance “that you feel called to do for today’s intention.”


NOTES: Here is the link to the resource kit featuring the daily prayer intentions and reflections, among other materials, in English and Spanish: https://www.respectlife.org/leaders-resources.

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