” . . a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world . . may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” – Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), n. 100
“Participation in the sacramental life of the Church sustains each of us. We encourage dioceses and parishes to sponsor programs of prayer and fasting as well as paraliturgical programs and to encourage Catholics to adopt programs of private prayer.” Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities, USCCB (for full text, click here).
We pray for:
Place a red rose on the altar every Sunday during Masses.
Distribute and pray along with a Prayer Calendar for Public Officials.
E-mail, post on bulletin boards, insert in bulletin, place in literature rack in parish.
Distribute Pro-life Prayer Cards.
Purchase pro-life prayer cards and leave them in a basket at the back of the Church.
To order from USCCB, call (866) 582-0943.
Invite the Respect Life Committee to attend one weekday Mass and offer that Mass up for an increased devotion to the right to life among parishioners.
Pray for the Right to Life in the General Intercessions.
Pro-life petitions are available from USCCB for Sunday Masses. View current Word of Life.
The grief of infertile couples is often a silent, unacknowledged one. Being remembered (anonymously, of course) once in awhile in the General Intercessions or in Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day homilies is so helpful!
Encourage Spiritual Adoption.
Participants in the Spiritual Adoption Program pledge to pray for nine months for a baby in danger of abortion.
Ask Confirmation, RCIA, and CCD students to “adopt” a child (especially if classes last approximately 9 months).
Detailed information available below.
“Adopt” an Abortion Clinic.
The parish “adopts” a local abortion clinic and prays specifically for its conversion and that of the women and men who enter it. Parishioners are encouraged to prayer individually and/or as a parish.
This no only focuses prayer on the local clinic, but raises awareness of its presence in the community.
For information about local clinics, please visit www.prochoice.org under “Find a Provider.”
Respect Life Mass & Rosary.
Celebrate a Respect Life Mass annual, quarterly, or monthly on a Saturday morning, followed by a Rosary at a local abortion facility, prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and/or a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Make Adoration available at the parish for those unable to tolerate the weather.
Pray a Holy Hour for Life.
“If everyone prayed one hour of Adoration a week, there would be no abortion.” –Mother Teresa
For more information, click here
Designate a “Holy Hour for Life” if your parish holds Adoration.
If your parish does not have periodic or perpetual Adoration, begin one hour of Adoration after 1st Friday or 1st Saturday Mass and designate it as a “Holy Hour for Life.”
For prayers to use during this Holy Hour, see Pro-life Prayers.
Participate in the 40 Days for Life Campaign.
The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion in America.
For more information, please see 40 Days for Life Campaign Website.
Organize a Prayer Vigil through a Troubled Neighborhood.
St. Gregory, St. Cecilia, and Immaculate Conception lead prayer vigils through often troubled neighborhoods.
Remember Life Throughout the Liturgical Year.
January 22nd: A Day of Penance and Prayer
In November, 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the following adaptation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Following confirmation by the Holy See in February, 2002, the following became particular law for the dioceses of the United States of America: “In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass ‘For Peace and Justice’ (no. 21 from ‘Masses for Various Needs’) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.” The first option for the Opening Prayer from the Mass for Peace and Justice begins by recalling that those who work for peace will be called the children of God. The second sentence of the prayer reminds us of the words of Pope Paul VI in his famous address to the United Nations: “If you want peace, work for justice.” The prayer asks God’s grace to help us “to work without ceasing for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.” The homilist might well reflect today on how we will never find true peace until God’s justice prevails. True peace reigns only when every human being, especially the littlest and most defenseless among us, enjoys the blessings of that peace. The work of spreading the Gospel of Life and defending the right to life of the not yet born must be the unceasing agenda of each person who seeks to bring “the peace the world cannot give” to our day. The Prayer after Communion asks that as God has renewed us with the body and blood of his Son, so he might fill us with “the spirit of love.” Thus, we might be strengthened for the work ahead: establishing among all “Christ’s farewell gift of peace.” When related to the opening prayer, it becomes clear that to establish this peace we must work for justice: a justice which recognizes the infinite value of every human life from conception until natural death. (USCCB)
February: Presentation of the Lord
Blessing of babies and little children.
February 11th: World Day of the Sick
The World Day of the Sick, the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, is an opportunity for the faithful to reflect and to decide upon initiatives of sensitization connected with the reality of suffering.
“In His suffering for love we see a supreme co-participation in the sufferings of sick children and their parents. My venerable predecessor John Paul II, who offered a shining example of the patient acceptance of suffering, especially at the sunset of his life, wrote: ‘on this Cross is the ‘Redeemer of man,’ the Man of Sorrows, who has taken upon himself the physical and moral sufferings of the people of all times, so that in love they may find the salvific meaning of their sorrow and valid answers to all of their questions’ (Salvifici doloris, n. 31).” Excerpts from the Vatican, 2 February 2009, Benedictus P.P. XVI.
February 14th: Valentines Day
Prayer for chastity and a greater understanding of the Theology of the Body.
March 25th: The Annunciation of the Lord
On this day we recall how the Angel Gabriel came to the Blessed Virgin Mary and told her that she was to be the Mother of God. The significance of this feast for the Gospel of Life was recalled by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (which was issued on the Solemnity of the Annunciation): “The one who accepted ‘Life’ in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of Life. Mary’s consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity (cf. Jn 10:10). Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word, human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death.” (USCCB)
May: Mother’s Day
Blessing of Mothers
May 31st: Visitation
Blessing of mothers before childbirth
June: Father’s Day
Blessing of Fathers
June: Corpus Christi
Blessing of the sick and those with handicaps
July 26th: Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne
Saints Joachim and Anne were the grandparents of Jesus. Wouldn’t this day (and even the preceding weekend at all the Masses) be a great time to bless families? The Book of Blessings provides the rites and prayers for blessing of families in chapter one (Book of Blessings, nos. 62- 66). Joachim married Anne at Nazareth when he was still a young man. After some years they were ridiculed for remaining childless and legend has it that even Temple priest refused Joachim’s offering of a lamb. Joachim withdrew to the desert and fasted for forty days to ask God for the gift of a child, while Anne wept beneath a laurel tree, fearing that she not only was childless, but had now lost her husband. It was then that an angel appeared to Anne and told her that God would answer her prayers and give to her and Joachim a child who would be praised throughout the world. Thus was the Virgin Mary conceived immaculately through the love and faithfulness of Joachim and Anne. (USCCB)
August 14th: Feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Maximilian Kolbe lived and died for the Gospel of Life. The story is told of how when he was forced to drag a cart filled with bodies to the ovens of Auschwitz he would quietly pray: «Et Verbum caro factum est… Holy Mary, pray for us». Even in this place of evil, the martyr knew the victory of life over death, a victory of faith and love. (USCCB)
Sept. 15th: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s heart was many times pierced with the sword of sorrow. Yet she who had nurtured within her womb the Word incarnate through whom all life came to be, remained faithful to the Gospel of Life at every turn. At the foot of the cross, in the face of death, she clung to the source of life. Is there any image of undefeated love and life as powerful as the Pieta: a mother’s faithful love endures as she anoints the murdered body of her son with her tears and her embrace? Mary knew the Gospel of Life and replied, “Let it be done to me according to God’s will!” (USCCB)
October 16: Feast of St. Gerard
Masses in honor of St. Gerard are usually held near the feast of St. Gerard in mid-October: one for couples hoping to conceive and one to celebrate new life.
November is National Adoption Month. Pray for those children awaiting adoption, mothers considering adoption, mothers who have given others the gift of an adopted child, couples waiting for children to adopt, and adoptive families.
December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
This patronal feast of the United States of America is a perfect time for all who profess the Gospel of Life to beg God to make our laws just and protective of every one of our citizens from conception until natural death. Each year, the Holy Father places a wreath at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Last year, as he placed the wreath, he prayed to the Blessed Virgin a prayer that we might make our own: “Watch over all families in a special way: may love sealed by the Sacrament ever reign between spouses, may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom, and may the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.” (USCCB)
Host a Night of Prayer for Life
A nationwide prayerful event. Parishes are encouraged to have adoration and invite the faithful to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer for greater respect for human life on the night of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
She is the patron of all the Americas, through whom the faith was first brought to this land. She is, likewise, the patron of the Gospel of Life, through whom the weak, the poor, the forgotten, and the dispossessed may know love and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At the canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin last year, the Holy Father asked the new Saint, who brought the image of the Blessed Virgin to America, to intercede for this very cause: “Happy Juan Diego, true and faithful man! We entrust to you our lay brothers and sisters so that, feeling the call to holiness, they may imbue every area of social life with the spirit of the Gospel. Bless families, strengthen spouses in their marriage, and sustain the efforts of parents to give their children a Christian upbringing. Look with favor upon the pain of those who are suffering in body or in spirit, on those afflicted by poverty, loneliness, marginalization or ignorance. May all people, civic leaders and ordinary citizens, always act in accordance with the demands of justice and with respect for the dignity of each person, so that in this way peace may be reinforced.” (Pope John Paul II, July 31, 2002) (USCCB)
December (1st Sunday after Christmas): Holy Family
Prayer of blessing for the family
December 28: Holy Innocents
Holy Innocents procession, Mass of Reparation
What is the Spiritual Adoption Program?
It is very simple. Participants in the Spiritual Adoption Program pledge to pray for nine months for a baby in danger of abortion. While this child will remain unknown to his or her ‘spiritual parent’, God knows who the child is. Many people have found that naming ‘their child’ helps to keep them focused on the reality that their prayers are helping to save a particular baby from the harm of abortion.
The Purpose of the Spiritual Adoption Program is threefold:
How does the program work and how can my group get started?
At the beginning of the program a brief announcement asking the students to pray is made, preferably by the principal, at school. If desired, prayer cards can be distributed to all involved in the program. It is advisable to have the children give their baby a name. The prayer can be recited each morning before beginning class. For the following nine months (or a period of time that fits into the school year) one poster is displayed per month in a prominent place so everyone can see how ‘his or her baby’ is developing.
The “Thank-you” file on the resources page contains “thank-you notes” from the baby each month. These can be copied onto colorful paper pre-printed with a baby or children’s theme (or brightly colored plain paper) and posted on the bulletin board next to the Little One Sweet poster. At the end of the program a ‘baby shower’ or ‘birthday party’ can be held and gifts of baby items donated given to a local pregnancy center. This is a great project for Catholic Confirmation preparation classes as it involves prayer, education and community service.
Who can participate?
Church members, students, prayer groups and anyone who is concerned about abortion, and who is willing to pray for babies in danger of abortion, “that they might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Who benefits from the Spiritual Adoption Program?
Everyone! While it is not always possible to see the particular effects of prayer, we know through Scripture that God wants us to pray, and we know by faith that He answers all prayers. The educational aspect of the program is beneficial to people of all ages, including children. Churches and schools are encouraged to display the very gentle and appealing full color posters that both depict and describe in words the baby’s development each month. There is no mention of abortion on the posters. Some schools obtain enough sets of posters for each classroom and/or entrance or exit to the school.
Where can I get the posters and precious feet pins?
The posters are available free of charge to parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore by calling (410)-547-5537 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Precious feet pins (or precious hand pins) can be ordered through the Heritage House Catalog: 919 S. Main Street, Snowflake, AZ 85937. Phone: 1-800-858-3040 Fax: 1-928-536-7785. Heritage House also has an online catalog:www.heritagehouse76.com
Mr. Bob Paige of Novi, Michigan has three types of prayer cards, each with a different image on the front and, on the back, a brief description of Spiritual Adoption and a short prayer. You can phone Mr. Paige at: (248) 474-8064 or email: email@example.com
Little One Sweet Poster Series
This beautifully illustrated collection of ten 16″ x 20″ individual-month posters chronicles the growth stages of a baby beginning at conception and continuing for the nine months of development in the womb. The same fetal development illustrations and descriptions are also available in one large 24″ x 36″ all-in-one poster. The posters c an be used in any educational setting and are appropriate for all ages. The posters were originally designed to be used one at a time with the Spiritual Adoption Program. They are currently available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Latvian and Polish. There is also a brochure with all of the images and information available.
The posters are available free of charge to parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore by calling (410) 547-5537 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.