This past Sunday I had a very unique experience at my parish in a small town in Northern Ontario. Just before the conclusion of Mass and the final prayer the altar was cleared, the monstrance was brought out, and the entire parish proceeded to participate in formal Eucharistic Adoration – for the intention of “all nascent human life.”

This unusual event happened thanks to the call of Pope Benedict XVI, who earlier this year sent out a letter to every diocese on the globe, asking Catholics worldwide to join him in a pro-life vigil on the weekend of Saturday, Nov. 27.

At our parish on Sunday, as everyone knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, we prayed a series of extremely moving pro-life prayers. We asked God to “preserve all children from bodily harm from the moment of conception,” to bring an end to “the destruction of human embryos in research facilities and IVF clinics,” and to “overturn unjust laws that permit the destruction of innocent lives.”

We begged God to “help parents of unborn children with disabilities to cherish the baby you have entrusted to their care,” and pleaded for repentance and forgiveness for those “who have acted against innocent human life.”

Those of us who spend every day working to advance the culture of life and family know what it’s like to feel a lack support for our work – often, sadly, even from within the Church itself. Saturday’s and Sunday’s pro-life vigils, however, were a resounding affirmation of the tireless efforts of the front-line warriors in the culture wars.

I, for one, am deeply grateful to the pope for having issued this truly historic summons to the Church to step up and take its place in the vanguard of those defending the innocent. The pope clearly understands the importance of the battle over innocent human life.

But what about you? What, if anything, did your parish or diocese do to celebrate the pope’s vigil for all nascent human life?