Nationwide Prayer Vigil for Life to Take Place from January 20-21
This week, Catholics across the country are encouraged to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Thursday, January 20 to Friday, January 21, 2022, marking the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 62 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.
Every January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Pro-Life Secretariat hosts a National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and The Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry. This vigil is to pray for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life.
The Opening Mass will take place from 5:30-7:00 PM on Thursday, January 20. The principal celebrant and homilist for the Opening Mass will be Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. After the Mass and during the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be shared on the USCCB’s website. The vigil concludes at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 21 with the Closing Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. The full schedule of the 2022 National Prayer Vigil for Life is available here on the USCCB Website.
9 Days for Life Novena
Today begins the 9 Days for Life, an annual novena for the protection of all human life—from conception to natural death. Each day’s prayer intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life. The website has a download of the novena for you to follow along each day or you may choose to sign up to receive the daily prayers via email or text message. Learn more here.
March for Life
This year’s March for Life in Washington, DC, will take place on Friday, January 21, 2022. The theme chosen by the MFL planning committee is “Equality Begins in the Womb.” To read more about the message hoped to be conveyed by this theme, I invite you to read President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund Jeanne Mancini’s comments, here.
This Sunday, January 23, 2022, will be the third celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, which was instituted by Pope Francis on September 30, 2019. This celebration stands to remind the faithful of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the Word of God and the liturgy. Additionally reminding each of us of the importance of incorporating time every day with the Scriptures. Through the Word of God, we encounter Christ. One way the Church encourages the faithful to spend time in the scripture is through Lectio Divina, translated, “divine reading.”
Pope Francis will preside at Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica (at 3:30 a.m. EST). The Holy Father will present those attending with a book, published by Edizioni San Paolo, containing a commentary by the Fathers of the Church on chapters four and five of the Gospel of Saint Luke. In doing so, Pope Francis intends to underline the responsibility believers have to grow in the knowledge of Sacred Scripture and to keep it alive through a work of permanent transmission and understanding.
Included with this celebration, Pope Francis will confer to lay men, and for the first time to lay women, the Ministries of the Lector and Acolyte (Spiritus Domini, January 10, 2021). Additionally, the Holy Father will confer the Ministry of Catechist on some lay faithful, women and men, a ministry already established through the publication of the May 10, 2021 Apostolic Letter, issued “Motu Proprio,” Antiquum Ministerium.
“In the history of the Church, innumerable lay men and lay women have taken part directly in spreading the Gospel through catechetical instruction. These men and women, animated by a great faith and authentic witnesses to holiness, were in some cases even founders of Churches, going so far as to give their lives for their beliefs. Even in our day, many capable and tenacious catechists head communities in the different regions and carry out an irreplaceable mission in the transmission and deepening of the faith” (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, January 23, 2022).
The event will be televised live by Vatican Media Live and it will be broadcast via streaming on the Vatican News portal (vatican news.va). The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Vatican Dicastery entrusted by the Holy Father with the promotion of the event, has made available a liturgical-pastoral resource useful for meditating on the Word of God in the community, in the family, and personally. This liturgical resource is available in Italian in a printed version published by Edizioni San Paolo and can be downloaded in English, Spanish, and Portuguese versions in the “activities” section of the Dicastery’s web page (www.pcpne.va).
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha