"Big Four" Highlights


9 Days for Life

A novena of prayer, penance and pilgrimage

This week many pro-life activities solemnly observe the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. In their annual effort to end to abortion and build a culture of life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites individuals to daily prayer, penance and pilgrimage through Facebook, email, text messaging and even an app with its 9 Days for Life novena campaign. The campaign began Jan. 17 and extends through Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.

Anne McGuire, assistant director for education and outreach at the USCCB Office of Pro-Life Activities, spoke recently via email with Fathers for Good associate editor Jason Godin about the campaign.

Fathers for Good: What is unique about the 9 Days for Life campaign?

Anne McGuire: 9 Days for Life is an invitation that comes from the pro-life office of the Catholic bishops in the United States. Our shepherds are reminding us of the value of human life and inviting us to recognize the worth of each person we encounter. It is also a sign of solidarity with the millions of unborn children who have been aborted in our country, with the mothers, fathers and other family members who never met these children and who suffer in the aftermath, as well as with all who are vulnerable or suffering from wounds that abortion and all other acts against human life inflict.

Additionally, it is a way in which we are able to unite with Catholics across the country in prayer – a sign of the unity and universality of our faith and the power of our prayer.

FFG: How can one consider the 9 Days for Life a “digital pilgrimage”?

McGuire: Each January, people travel to Washington, D.C., to pray and advocate for the protection of unborn children, participating in the March for Life, the National Prayer Vigil for Life, and other observances of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. However, many who would like to join physically are unable to do so. 9 Days for Life provides an opportunity to make a prayerful and sacrificial interior journey together with thousands of others nationwide for the intention of the respect and protection of human life.

FFG: What specific ways can families, particularly fathers, join and actively participate in the campaign?

McGuire: In addition to signing up to receive the novena each day by email, text message or a mobile app, a printable version of the novena is also available online, so families could print it out and take a few moments each day to pray it together (with the discretion of the parents regarding the age-appropriateness of the content). Each day’s content also has suggested acts of reparation which fathers could lead their families in doing. Additionally, an article related to the day’s intention is provided each day, so fathers could read the article aloud at the dinner table (depending on the age of the children). There are also other pro-life resources, such as educational articles and pro-life Rosary prayer intentions, which families could use to learn about and pray for pro-life issues during 9 Days for Life and throughout the year.

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. Families could attend these events as another way of participating in 9 Days for Life.

For additional information and resources, visit 9DaysforLife.com.