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US Bishops Plan Novena Around Anniversary of Abortion Legalization

Each Day of Jan. 17-25 Program Raises Awareness About Life Issue

A period of prayer, penance, and pilgrimage, January 17-25, will mark the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973, U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy.

The “9 Days for Life” novena encourages nationwide solidarity in prayer for daily intentions, including for couples experiencing infertility, those mourning the loss of a child through abortion, children in need of adoptive homes, and for an end to abortion and use of the death penalty.

Resources for the novena are available in numerous ways, including an app.

The initiative is part of the 2014-15 Respect Life Program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with the theme “Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation,” which is adapted from the words of Pope Francis’ 2013 Day for Life greeting.

In addition to the prayer intentions, each day of the program raises awareness on issues such as domestic violence, post-abortion healing, pornography addiction, and end-of-life matters.

“Pope Francis reminds us constantly of the loving concern Christians have for all people at any stage of life who’ve been cast aside or forgotten by society,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “The 9 Days for Life novena offers a chance to join in prayer and solidarity with the unborn, victims of violence, those suffering from addiction, and those whose hearts ache to be part of a family.”

There are four ways to participate in the program for both English and Spanish speakers: subscriptions to daily content through email or text messages; the “9Days for Life” app; and downloadable print materials. Content will also be shared via a Facebook event (accessible from www.facebook.com/peopleoflife) and other social media with the hashtags #9daysforlife and #9díasporlavida.

Catholics are also encouraged to participate in local events such as Masses, blessings for pro-life pilgrims, or a parish holy hour for reparation and healing for all affected by abortion.

More information is available at www.9daysforlife.com and www.usccb.org/respectlife

Bilingual resources for diocesan and parish leaders, including a guide for youth ministry (including ideas appropriate for other age groups), logos, ads for web and print, a flyer, additional prayer resources, and a social media kit are found at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/9-days-for-life-resources-for-leaders.cfm.

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