Advocacy & Activism
“There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his or her rights. Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted.” Gospel of Life ¶ 101.
"Protecting and promoting the inviolable rights of persons is the most solemn responsibility of civil authority. As Americans and as religious leaders we are committed to governance by a system of law that protects human rights and maintains the common good." - Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities (to see full text of document, click here)
Evangelization & Public Witness
Pray in or plan a Helpers of God's Precious Infants Rosary Procession
For more information or to bring a Helpers Procession to your parish, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 547-5537.
Join a Life Chain.
Groups throughout Maryland host Life Chains. Pro-life people join together in a public witness of their convictions. They hold signs, pray, and show their support for the unborn. For local Life Chains.
March for Life (in Washington DC and Annapolis).
Each January, thousands of pro-lifers gather on the National Mall and march to the steps of the Supreme Court. Usually the 2nd Monday in March, Marylanders gathers in Annapolis for the Maryland March for Life. Send a bus down to the March for Life in Annapolis or Washington or team up with another local parish which sends a bus and advertise in the bulletin and at Mass.
If your parish does not send a bus to the March for Life, have a special Mass, Rosary, or Holy Hour on the day of the March for Life (January 22nd) and Maryland March for Life (early March) to pray for those marching, for the unborn, and for their parents.
Participate in the 40 Days for Life.
40 Days for Life is a nationwide campaign that runs twice each year - in late September through October and during Lent. It is a focused pro-life effort consisting of fervent prayer coupled with fasting and peaceful vigil at an abortion facility, in church, school or home. We Pray for:
women and their babies who are in danger of abortion
healing of men and women who carry the pain of a past abortion
workers at abortion clinics, and
local, state and national leaders who misguidedly support abortion.
At least one third of prayer vigil volunteers for 40 Days for Life have never prayed outside an abortion facility before. 95% of vigil participants surveyed report that they personally grew spiritually as a result of their involvement. "I didn't think I could pray in front of an abortion facility. Now I feel that I must."
Plant a Cemetery of the Unborn.
This is a visible symbol commemorating children and the effort to reverse Roe v. Wade. White crosses are planted on the lawn of the parish for a period of time. Invite parishioners to help with this important reminder to people that Roe v Wade must be overturned. Ask them to bring an implement to tap the crosses into the ground.
St. Mary’s in Pylesville plants a “Field of the Innocents” annually. A member of their Respect Life Committee made the crosses with materials donated from a local business. They plant enough crosses to represent every unborn child lost to abortion every hour of every day in the United States (149 this year). Between 3 and 7 volunteers put the crosses up the Saturday before Palm Sunday and take them down the Sunday after Ascension Thursday (to avoid lawnmowing issues).
"make a cupcake-shaped dent in the world"
Cupcakes for Life encourages groups to bring in a tray of cupcakes (decorated "for life" if you'd like) for any group of people (a CCD or school class, youth group, parishioners after Mass, RCIA class, etc) to begin a discussion. These cupcakes represent the 53 million children who never had a birthday due to abortion. Cupcakes "soften and sweeten up the conversation." The idea behind Cupcakes for Life is to spread the terrible truth about the assault on the unborn in a thoughtful, unique, and kind way.
Begin by inviting parishioners to regular prayer outside an abortion clinic when there is a sidewalk counselor. Learn from that counselor how best to approach and counsel women. For more information about local sidewalk counselors, contact email@example.com.
Set up a Monument to the Unborn.
Several local parishes have a monument to the unborn. Fundraise in your parish to purchase a monument and set it up on the parish grounds. For a Blessing for a Monument to the Unborn, see Pro-life Prayers.
Host a booth with pro-life information at a fair or festival.
The Respect Life Office has a Truth Booth, an educational, scientific, non confrontational, beautiful video display of sonogram images and video. If you would like to use this for a local fair or festival, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Thomas Aquinas hosts a booth at both HonFest and HampdenFest.
Purchase an ad in a local paper. Include facts about right to life issues, pregnancy and post-abortion resources available, and compelling quotes.
St. Patrick sponsors an ad during Respect Life Month. St. Patrick (Cumberland) sponsors an ad for Mothers Day.
Encourage Faithful Citizenship.
“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, No. 13
Full Statement: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Join the Catholic Advocacy Network.
Sign up for e-mail alerts on important life issues and share with your parish, family, and friends. Sign up here.
Facilitate Citizen Lobbying.
Educate parishioners through speakers at youth, men’s, women’s, or seniors’ groups, in the bulletin, through announcements after Mass, etc. about upcoming state and federal legislation and invite them to write to their state and federal legislators.
For information about political activity related to the right to life: Maryland Catholic Conference, Respect Life
Announce the dates and subjects of upcoming elections.
Print in bulletin, make announcement after Mass, or post dates and subjects on a standing poster in the narthex.
Advertise and attend “Lobby Night.”
The Maryland Catholic Conference holds Lobby Night each year. Each February, hundreds of Marylanders join in Annapolis to lobby their legislators. Advertise Lobby Night in your parish and encourage parishioners to attend.
Print Sundaybulletin inserts.
“We strongly urge all parishioners to register, to become informed on key issues, and to vote. The Church does not support or oppose any candidate, but seeks to focus attention on the moral and human dimensions of issues. We do not authorize the distribution of partisan political materials on parish property.”
Distribute cards after all Masses one Sunday or in the Sunday bulletin summarizing seven key themes of Catholic social teaching that can serve as guidelines for involvement in public life (available from the USCCB).
Invite CCD and adult education programs to teach Faithful Citizenship.
Lesson Plans for Elementary Age students
Lesson Plan for Junior/Senior High School Catechetical Sessions
Lesson Plan for Adult Education groups
Organize a non-partisan voter registration at your parish.
Run a Project Life Postcard Campaign.
The National Committee for Human Life Amendment sponsors Project Life postcard campaigns on various issues. The Respect life Office of the Archdiocese will alert parish coordinators about these campaigns.
A major grassroots effort is imperative to ensure the passage of federal pro-life policies. Members of Congress must receive a visible and frequent stream of information, opinions and support, especially those members who need encouragement to remain steadfast in the pro-life cause.
Set up a Letter Writing Campaign.
During the Maryland legislative sessions, the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) Respect Life Office organizes letter writing campaigns in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus. A pertinent bill is targeted (i.e. stem cell research funding) and the MCC formats specific letters requesting that legislators support or reject the bill. The participating parishes sign up with the MCC and pick a weekend to do the letter signing drive. Legislators local to the parish's district are targeted. The parish coordinator and Knights of Columbus representative advertise, set up tables with pens, letters, pre-addressed envelopes, and district maps (so parishioners can confirm their district). Then the letters are sent back to the MCC where they are tallied and delivered to legislators.