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9 Days for Life: Leaders’ Guide for Ministry to Young People

 

ONE NIGHT OF PRAYER, PENANCE, AND PILGRIMAGE

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This short guide suggests ideas for youth or young adult ministries seeking to incorporate 9 Days for Life into their parish programming in January 2018.

It can also be adapted for other age groups!

 

NOTES

  • The ideal setting for this "One Night of Prayer, Penance, and Pilgrimage" would be a youth or young adult program on or around the weekend of either January 20 or 27, 2018.
  • The goal of this program is to introduce young people to the novena – and to encourage them to engage in the various components of it on their own, or with family or friends. This novena will be done by Catholics of all ages across the country from January 18-26, 2018; by encouraging the young people to participate, it will link them in solidarity as prayers are offered for the conversion of all hearts and the end to abortion, as well as for many other intentions related to the sanctity of human life at every stage and in every circumstance. 
  • In advance of the evening program, feel free to inform participants of the novena ("nine days") and encourage them to download the app or register for the novena updates via text message or email.

  • They can download the app or subscribe to the emails* at www.9daysforlife.com. (Both are available in English and in Spanish). They can sign up for the daily text messages* by texting1 9DAYS to 55000 to receive the novena in English or 9DIAS to 55000 to receive the novena in Spanish.

    *No matter when people sign up for the emails or text messages, the same materials are sent to them at the same time as everyone else. In other words, someone who signs up halfway through the novena will only be sent the emails or text messages from that point forward. However, on the app, the novena content will remain accessible after it is made available for each day.
  • You can download the novena for yourself from www.9daysforlife.com to make paper copies for participants who are not able to or do wish not to download the app, or receive emails or text messages. You can also make the novena available via your website, social media pages, parish bulletin, etc.


SIMPLE OPTION

"One Night" can be as simple as using "Day One" and "Day Two" as your opening and closing prayers of a regularly-scheduled youth or young adult program. However, be sure to provide a short explanation of what a novena is all about and the goals of the novena, as well as to encourage them to sign up for 9 Days for Life via the text messages, emails, or app.


ADVANCED OPTION

"One Night" can begin and conclude with the prayers for "Day One" and "Day Two" (as in the simple option).  In addition, the middle portion of the evening could also include:

  • A presentation on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the work and goals of the national and local pro-life efforts in the Church.

  • Scripture study on Psalm 139, the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), the Visitation and Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), or other Scripture passages that focus on the dignity of each person, the gift of human life, and the protection of all human life.

  • A prayer service praying for those present, as well as for those who take life or disregard life. (See "Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing.") Consider also having opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that evening.

  • Planning for pilgrimages to local sites to pray for life (including churches, chapels, and other Catholic destinations, as well as abortion clinics, prisons, hospitals, soup kitchens, retirement homes, and other places where the dignity of life is or may be challenged).

  • Small group conversations on consistent ethic of life issues including abortion, capital punishment, violence, war, or assisted suicide, among other topics. See Coffee and Conversation, a discussion guide for some of the Respect Life Program articles. For other resources that can help you plan and lead the discussion, visit www.usccb.org/prolife to browse the materials of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

  • A talk by a church leader who specializes in a pro-life issue.

  • A workshop on chastity, Theology of the Body, or sexual ethics (See "10 Surprising Tips for Love the Culture Won't Tell You" and "Love 101: Back to Basics.")

  • A viewing of a pro-life movie or other age-appropriate film or documentary related to life issues.

  • Discussion on ways that the young people can more frequently engage in prayer, penance, and pilgrimage for life – especially outside the church (at home, at school, at work, etc.)

  • A service project (on-site or off-site) related to providing care or assistance to adoption centers or other pro-life advocacy programs.

  • A longer prayer service, dedicated to the promotion and defense of human life, featuring Lectio Divina, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Rosary, quiet contemplative prayer, Liturgy of the Hours (such as Vespers), Eucharistic adoration, or another prayer form of the group's choosing.

  • Pro-life specific prayer resources are available on the USCCB website, including a Holy Hour for Reparation and Healing, other Holy Hours for Life, and pro-life rosary prayer intentions.

For more ideas on pro-life activities for youth or young adults, consult with your diocesan offices for youth and/or young adult ministry and pro-life ministry, or visit www.nfcym.org, the website for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

At the conclusion of any of these options, be sure to encourage continued use of the 9 Days for Life app (App Store / Google Play), emails, text messages, or web resources; it might be helpful to walk young participants through the program. Perhaps some groups will want to gather daily over the remaining days of the novena to pray together, or re-gather as a large group the following week to conclude the novena and share their experiences and prayers at the conclusion of the nine days.

 

 


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