WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. bishops are urging Catholics nationwide to participate in nine days of prayer, penance, and pilgrimage between January 19-27, marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
The U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities is asking Catholics to pray “for healing and conversion, for elected officials who support abortion and for all people whose lives have been forever changed by an abortion.”
"The bishops recognize that prayer is the foundation of all our efforts on behalf of human life," said Tom Grenchik, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.
"These nine days of focused prayer and sacrifice are a great opportunity for people across the nation to unite their voices in prayer to God. Through this prayer campaign, I hope that many will be blessed with a new spirit of faith and encouragement in their pro-life efforts."
Hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists are expected to gather in Washington D.C. on January 25 for the annual March for Life.
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The bishops are also running a youth video contest that is open to middle and high school students. Students are invited to submit a 30-60-second video that should be recorded while participating in activities surrounding the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Details of the contest are available here.
As well, the bishops are encouraging young adults to use their Facebook profile pictures to support the sanctity of life. Details are available here.
The USCCB will feature guest bloggers the week of January 22 providing their personal pro-life testimonials.
Each day during the nine days the bishops will provide an intercession, brief prayers and a reflection, daily suggestions for concrete acts of prayer, penance and charity, and an abortion-related myth/reality fact. Catholics can sign up to receive the novena daily by e-mail by visiting the website for the event, or by text message by texting "9days" to 99000.
The novena will also be posted daily on "People of Life," the USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat's Facebook page, and tweeted from "USCCB" on Twitter.
Local parishes and dioceses are also being encouraged to run activities. Suggested activities include holding a special Mass or holy hour with a Blessing of Pro-Life Pilgrims for those traveling to distant Masses, rallies, marches, and other events marking the Roe anniversary, a "40 Hours Devotion" or a Holy Hour for Life, including a "Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing," and a closing "Holy Hour for Reparation and Healing."
Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., was handed down on January 22, 1973.
Prayer resources and program models for these suggested activities are available here.