Faithful encouraged to join 9 Days for Life Novena Jan. 14-22

Moira Cullings

Pro-life advocates across the country are invited to come together in prayer beginning on Jan. 14 in an effort to protect the unborn. 9 Days for Life, an annual pro-life prayer and action campaign, invites participants to pray a novena that will culminate on Jan. 22.

According to the USCCB, over one hundred thousand people have joined this year’s campaign, which was created in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Participants are invited to build the culture of life not only through the novena but by sharing their pro-life experiences on social media using the hashtag #9DaysforLife.

In a press release sent on Jan. 2, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila encouraged priests of the Archdiocese of Denver to share the campaign with their parish communities.

He began by reminding the priests of the resounding impact the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade has had on the country.

“Since that time, millions of lives have been destroyed by abortion, and countless women have been traumatized so deeply that they spend years struggling to find peace, healing and reconciliation,” he wrote.

While the novena’s ultimate goal is to end abortion, each day “highlights a different intention, also providing daily reflections, educational information, and suggested acts of reparation,” he added.

To find the novena, visit 9daysforlife.com and download a free mobile app (which includes customizable daily reminders), sign up for daily email or text messages, or print the novena.

Featured image: CNS file photo

COMING UP: Celebrate Life March an ‘invitation for people to accept the love of Christ’

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Moira Cullings

One of David Bereit’s favorite stories from his time at 40 Days for Life came out of a pro-life rally outside an abortion clinic in Fresno, Calif.

Only a handful of people showed up.

Despite the small crowd, a TV news station covered the rally, and that night the media mocked the small, seemingly insignificant group that stood on the sidewalk, praying for life.

“But unbeknownst to anyone involved, there was a young woman that night watching the newscast who was pregnant and was scheduled for an abortion at that abortion center in Fresno the next day,” said Bereit.

“Because she saw those people peacefully out there with signs and messages offering free help to those in unexpected pregnancies, she said, ‘I’m not going to have that abortion.’

“She reached out to those people, and she made the decision for life.”

Bereit, co-founder and former CEO of 40 Days for Life, has seen countless blessings come out of the pro-life movement since 40 Days was created in 2004. Along with the deep faith of his family, his pro-life involvement even inspired him to convert to Catholicism earlier this year.

“It changes us, it changes hearts and minds, and sometimes, our presence at these kinds of [pro-life] gatherings can literally save lives,” he said.

Bereit now looks forward to taking on the role of emcee during the Celebrate Life March here in Denver on Jan. 12.

“We are called to be a people of hope,” he said. “I believe the pro-life movement right now is making enormous progress. I am seeing gains on so many fronts.”

Deacon Geoff Bennett, Vice President of Parish and Community Relations at Catholic Charities, explained the march is designed to uplift the Denver community and motivate pro-lifers for the coming year.

“It’s really going to be a positive tone,” he said. “It’s celebrating the gift of life we’ve been given and the inherent dignity we all have.”

 

As those in attendance make their way to the capitol, the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church choir will play music. Attendees will also enjoy music by a mariachi band, as well as a variety of cultural dancers, and hear from Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Elias Moo, among other speakers. Finally, the group will march around the capitol.

Deacon Bennett believes the crowd will be inspired to continue their efforts to promote life.

“I hope it’s a realization that life is a gift,” he said. “Life is not a commodity. It does come from our creator.

“We hope women realize that’s a life within them.” he added. “It’s a gift given to them. Let’s cherish this gift. This gift will change our lives in a positive manner if only we’re open to what we’ve been given.”

Bereit is optimistic that Colorado, the first state to decriminalize abortion following Roe V. Wade, will be stirred by the pro-life community that turns out for the march.

“This is not an event of condemnation or judgment, this is an invitation for people to accept the love of Christ and to realize part of that love is how we welcome children into the world,” he said.

Bereit wants participants to know their prayers and actions can do unbelievable things with God’s grace.

“God can use you to save the life of a child in the womb that’s at risk of abortion,” he said. “God can use you to help a mother who’s in an unexpected pregnancy who’s scared and doesn’t know where else to turn.

“God can use you to help somebody who’s been wounded to find healing. God can use you to change the world.

“Come out to the Celebrate Life March and get ready to join in what God is doing to save even more lives than ever before, and continue to build on the great work that he has been doing through the pro-life movement in Colorado.”