ROME, Italy, November 25, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic dioceses of the world are preparing to join together with the Pope in prayer on behalf of the unborn this Saturday in an unprecedented pro-life effort.
Bishops from across the globe have called their flocks to gather, as the Church begins its Advent celebrations, in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life.”
In a letter sent out earlier this year, the Holy Father asked that “all Diocesan Bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.”
The vigil takes place as many nations around the world are facing intense battles over the lives of their unborn children.
Catholics in the Philippines have taken up the vigil to pray especially for God’s protection against a ‘reproductive health’ bill that aims to promote contraception as a form of population control. The news site for the Filipino Catholic Bishops reports that El Shaddai, a large Catholic movement based in Parañaque City, will offer this special intention. The country’s Catholic bishops have warned that this bill, which is now in serious danger of passing, will eventually lead to the legalization of abortion.
The Polish bishops have called on parishes to undertake three days of prayer for children in the womb, dedicating Friday as a day of reparation for in vitro fertilization, reports TheNews.pl. IVF, which has caused the deaths of countless embryonic children, has been the subject a contentious debate recently in the largely Catholic country. On Thursday, prayers are to be offered for aborted babies, parents considering abortion, pro-abortion advocates, and abortionists.
In Australia, Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane issued an Advent pastoral letter leading into the vigil, calling on the faithful to pray for the unborn. The archbishop’s diocese is based in the state of Queensland, which is facing strong pressure to liberalize its abortion law.
“Once human life is considered merely something that can be accepted or rejected depending on our own comfort, there is nothing to stop violence from being directed not only at the innocent beginning of human life, but also at children and old people, which we see all too often in our media and movies,” he wrote.
In Britain, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has written a reflection as part of the Archdiocese’s optional text for the vigil. The prelate likens the prayerful silence they will observe in the vigil to “the wonder, with which a mother senses the growth of a new human being within her womb.”
“Such contemplation as this also brings home to us the true horror of the destruction of unborn human life, robbed of its human potential to bring unique good into the world,” he observes. “Let us pray ... that the eyes of our world will be opened to these precious truths so that humanity may act with dignity and love in the defence of every innocent human life.”
In the U.S., the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship and the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities have collaborated in developing Vigil prayer aids for dioceses and parishes.
Four possible schemes for observing the vigil - which may include a Marian Procession, Evening Prayer (Vespers), recitation of the Rosary, and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, as well as a Rubric for priests and liturgy directors - have been produced and posted to the USCCB website.
“We are grateful to dioceses that have already made plans to celebrate this special Vigil in union with our Holy Father and the Church all around the world,” the US bishops said.
For those who are unable to attend a local vigil, the Diocese of Davenport in Iowa has written a booklet with some of the prayers the Pope will use on Saturday.