Commemorating a Day of Repentence

Jan. 23 is a Day of Repentance: Protect unborn children

The over 56 million abortions since the 1973 decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton reflect with heartbreaking magnitude what Pope Francis means by a “throwaway culture.” However, we have great trust in God’s providence. We are reminded time, and again in Scripture to seek the Lord’s help, and as people of faith, we believe that our prayers are heard.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates Jan. 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the "Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children”: “In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, Jan. 22 (or Jan. 23, when Jan.  22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.”

As individuals, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and/or giving alms. Another way to take part is through participating in special events to observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Call your local diocese or parish to find out what events might be taking place in your area.

Prayer is the foundation of all that we do in defense of human life. Say a short prayer or blessing. Meditate or ask God's intercession.

Devote some time to pray for a holy hour, or commit to a novena or stations of the cross. Special prayers are called for those who have lost a child due to miscarriage, abortion or other cause.

Every January, thousands of pilgrims travel to Washington to pray together for an end to abortion at the national prayer vigil for life. If you can't join us, consider holding your own vigil for the unborn. There's even a new "mass for giving thanks to God for the gift of human life" in the new Roman missal that can be used on the annual day of penance.

Everyone can find a way to praise and thank God for the gift of life and to ask for protection for each sacred human life.

A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, 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 Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 100*

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