January 22nd marks the 48th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision creating a legal right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in our nation. Because of this, sixty million children have been denied their own right to life. In response, every year since 1973, hundreds of thousands have gathered in Washington, DC to march at the National March for Life, witnessing to the inherent value of each human life, particularly these most vulnerable unborn.
Marching into the new year of 2021 is a very different reality than just one year ago; while much has changed, some truths have become ever more self-evident. Life is precious and sacred; we are called as individuals, as families, as parishes and as the Body of Christ, to protect and uphold the dignity of life in all its stages. Together in our parishes and communities, we can build a culture of life and love.
While we cannot travel to the nation’s capitol to march, there are significant ways parishes can give strong witness to life from home. Within our archdiocese, we are focusing local efforts in support of mothers and families who may find themselves in a difficult or unexpected pregnancy. They may be contemplating abortion or experiencing the trauma of a past abortion, looking to us to walk with them toward healing. Parishes can join in the efforts to provide those mothers and families with physical, emotional, and spiritual resources, most importantly with hope and love, through the USCCB Walking With Moms in Need Initiative.
Here are some additional ways to equip your fellow parishioners to stand together for life.
- Share the link to the January 23rd Mass for the Protection of the Unborn with your parish, and encourage parishioners to attend, either virtually or in person. Offer your own Mass for Life within your parish this year.
- On January 22nd, invite your parish staff, organizations, youth and schools to pray the virtual Rosary for an End to Abortion. Encourage regular parish Rosaries for Life.
- Participate in the USCCB 9 Days for Life novena from Thursday January 21st through 29th. The novena includes daily intentions, short reflections, suggested actions, and links to additional, informative content, fitting for small groups or class discussion. Make these resources available on your website and social media; Spanish resources are also available.
- In your parish’s Universal Prayer, add an intention for an end to legalized abortion and/or healing from the wounds of abortion. Continue each week for a consistent life message. Subscribe to Word of Life | Respect Life to receive features, intercessions, bulletin quotes and art.
- Bring Walking with Moms in Need to your parish and make your community a beacon of hope by registering for the Introductory Parish Webinar on January 19th and learn how to begin.
- Plan a guided meditation on Evangelium Vitae by Pope St. John Paul II for its 25th anniversary. Offer study materials for small groups, as parish staff or with parish members, to further engage in the call to be a people of life.
- Invite a Speaker to virtually address your parish on one of the Life Issues. You can find additional parish resources in the following areas on prayer and worship, education, advocacy, and charity in action through the AOD Pro-life Office.
- Provide contact information for the Project Rachel hope after abortion initiative on the parish website and in the bulletins.
- Reach out to the archdiocesan Pro-Life Coordinator to share the good works happening at your parish while standing together for life or share them in the Encounter Grow Witness online community. Sharing your ideas and best practices will strengthen our parish network to reach our communities.
- Cultivate gratitude in your parish for God’s gift of life. Celebrate life in every stage!