WASHINGTON--Catholics can observe the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States by participating in nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage by attending local events and by joining a nationwide novena via email, text, app and other formats, said the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston said the over 55 million abortions since the decision reflect "with heartbreaking magnitude" what Pope Francis means by a "throwaway culture."
"Yet our society relegates abortion to a matter of personal choice, often denying the integrity and even the recognition of the personhood of unborn children," Cardinal O'Malley continued. "However, we have great trust in God's providence."
Whether Catholics travel to Washington, D.C. for the January 22 March for Life or not, Cardinal O'Malley encouraged them to join in 9 Days for Life, a period of prayer, penance and pilgrimage from January 18-26. The centerpiece of the effort is a novena which will include daily prayer intentions and related content that people can subscribe to in either English or Spanish at www.9daysforlife.com. Other related materials and resources are available on the USCCB website. The social media hashtag for the novena is #9daysforlife.
As part of this focused period of prayer, Catholics are also encouraged to participate in local events that may be occurring, such as Masses, Holy Hours, blessings for pro-life pilgrims, or a Holy Hour for healing for all impacted by abortion, which parishes are encouraged to hold Sunday, January 26.
Cardinal O'Malley noted, "By our participation in these 9 Days for Life, as we call upon the Lord for the healing and conversion of our nation and those impacted by the culture of death, we are also reminded - through the very act of prayer - of our beautiful dependence on God and His deep love for each of us."