One Night of Prayer, Penance and
orientation for young people for the Nine Days of Prayer, Penance, and
NOTE: This short guide
is a suggested idea for youth or young adult ministries seeking to incorporate
the novena, "Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage"
into their parish programming in January 2014.
ideal setting for this "One Night of Prayer, Penance, and Pilgrimage" would be
a regularly-scheduled youth or young adult program on or around January 18 or
19, 2014, which is a few days prior to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
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, 2014; by
encouraging the young people to participate, it will link them in solidarity as prayers are offered for the healing and conversion of our nation, for defense
of life and the protection of the unborn, and for all people whose lives have
been forever changed by an abortion.
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.
can download the app or subscribe to the emails* at www.9daysforlife.com.
(The emails are available in English and in Spanish). They can sign up for the daily text messages*, by texting 9DAYS to 99000 to receive the novena in English or 9DIAS to 99000 to receive the novena in
*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.
can download the novena for yourself from www.9daysforlife.com
to make paper copies for participants who are not able or do wish not to
receive the app, emails, or text messages. You can also make the novena prayers
available via your website, social media pages, or parish bulletin.
: The "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 the "Nine Days" via the text messages,
emails, or app.
ADVANCED OPTION: The "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 can 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 1:39-56), the
Last Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), or other Scripture passages that focus on the
gift of creation, the promise of the unborn, and the defense of all life
- A prayer service, praying for those
present as well as those who take life or disregard life; 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 challenged)
- Small group conversations on consistent
ethic of life issues including abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia,
violence and war, assisted suicide, among other topics. For resources that can
help you plan and lead the discussion, see www.usccb.org/respectlife for
articles in both this year's Respect Life Program and
previous years' program articles.
- A talk by a church leader specializing in
- A workshop on chastity, Theology of the
Body, or sexual ethics
- A viewing of a pro-life movie or other
age-appropriate popular films or documentaries on life issues
- Discussion on the 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
- 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 each set of mysteries (available in this year's Respect Life Program liturgy guide, pp 7-8 / en español )
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
the conclusion of any of these options, be sure to encourage continued use of
the "Nine Days" app, emails, text messages, or web resources; it might be
helpful to walk the 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.