Praying for a culture of life in bittersweet start to new year
January is a particularly bittersweet month for the pro-life movement. On the one hand, Jan. 22 marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the notorious Supreme Court cases that enshrined the right to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
On the other hand, January marks an opportunity to mourn this anniversary with a tremendous sense of hope in the power of Christ as we joyfully witness to the dignity of human life.
As we enter the month of January, I want to highlight various activities we can experience with hearts of prayer and action.
Pro-Life Mass and Nebraska Walk for Life (Jan. 14). Every year, Nebraska Right to Life sponsors the Nebraska Walk for Life. The walk begins at 10 a.m. on the north side of the state Capitol. Rebekah Buell will be the keynote speaker for the walk, and will talk about reversing her RU-486 chemical abortion.
Just before the walk, the Nebraska Catholic Conference and the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities sponsor a Pro-Life Mass at St. Mary Church (14th & K streets) beginning at 9 a.m. Archbishop George J. Lucas will celebrate the Mass.
Both of these events testify to the power of our public worship and peaceful public demonstration.
Inauguration of President Donald Trump (Jan. 20). As we welcome our next president, it would be beneficial to humbly pray that he would fulfill his campaign promises to ensure that unborn life is protected through the regulations and policies under his control, the laws that he signs, and the judicial appointments he makes (most especially to the Supreme Court).
9 Days for Life Novena (Jan. 21-29). Sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 9 Days for Life is an annual period of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person’s life. The main intention is to end abortion. This novena gathers people from across the country for a unified act of prayer.
You can join the novena at 9daysforlife.com and receive notifications via mobile app, email, text message or other social media platforms, or you can simply print off the novena. Invite your family, friends or parish to join.
Anniversary of Roe v. Wade (Jan. 22). The anniversary of Roe v. Wade provides a particularly solemn moment to pray for a greater awareness of the dignity of human life from the moment of conception. This day calls us to acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, to do reparations and atonement for the sin of abortion in our country.
National March for Life (Jan. 27). Every year, about half a million people gather in Washington, D.C., to peacefully protest legalized abortion. Having been to the march a number of times, I can say this event is a foretaste of heaven.
Thousands of saints-in-the-making joyfully testify to the beauty of life and call our nation to something greater. While not all of us can be physically present for this event, we can join in spirit through our prayer, as well as ensuring that our family, friends, co-workers, parish, etc., know about this event since it receives little media coverage.
Pray at Abortion Facilities. A number of individuals maintain a peaceful presence outside the abortion facilities in our state, praying for conversions and counseling women who seek abortions. For those who can, join in the peaceful and physical presence. For those who cannot, set a personal reminder to join through prayer and sacrificial acts such as fasting, almsgiving and spiritual adoption.
As you consider all of these prayer possibilities and the bittersweet nature of January, recall the words of the Psalmist: "May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."
Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.