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Pray for Life: 2016 Archive

 


December 2016

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IPraying for Life: Decemberntention: May the birth of every child be awaited and celebrated with great joy and thanksgiving.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The season of Advent calls us to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us. The coming of the Christ child is greeted with overwhelming joy from Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi, and the entire heavenly host of angels.

Despite the challenges facing the Holy Family as they are traveling on the road with no place to stay, the coming of Jesus reveals to them the great gift in their midst. The fears and anxieties of Mary and Joseph are overcome by the immense joy of the birth of the Son of God.

Many children come into the world amidst challenging circumstances. Expectant parents are often consumed with very real hardships as they prepare for the arrival of the new child. No matter the circumstances, the birth of a child is always a gift. Let us pray for all parents to lovingly receive their children with joy and be strengthened and supported as they embrace the journey of parenthood.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):
  • Offer up one night's sleep without your pillow, recalling the Christ child who had no crib in which to lay his head.

  • Pray a decade of the rosary meditating on the Nativity of the Lord. (See: Pro-Life Rosary Prayer Intentions)

  • Donate baby items to a pregnancy care center, or offer to volunteer an hour of your time.

One Step Further  
Read "Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption." Drawing from the personal experience of a mother who placed her child for adoption, this article gives nine pointers for offering ongoing support to other expectant mothers considering adoption.

(Also available to order in either English or Spanish!)


November 2016 

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November: Praying for LifeIntention: May those elected to public office at local, state, and national levels support and defend the dignity of all human life.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: November, observed as the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, begins with the Solemnity of All Saints November 1 and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) November 2. These feasts remind us of the beauty and dignity of all human life.

All people share a common dignity, having been created in God's image and likeness and called to eternal life with him. We are also made to depend on one another, and it is an act of mercy to pray for each other. This month especially, we ask the saints in heaven to join us in prayer for those who have not yet reached their heavenly resting place.

We also ask them to join us in prayer for the candidates at all levels of government who will be elected. May those who answer the call of public service cherish, protect, and defend all human life.

Act of Reparation (choose one):

  • Offer the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for a loved one who has passed away.

  • Fast on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8). Offer your sacrifice for the intention that those elected to office will defend all human life.

  • Pray the Litany of the Saints, asking their intercession especially for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

One Step Further:

Read "Caring for Loved Ones at Life's End."* When loved ones near the end of life, we may not know how to support them. This article offers ten suggestions anchored in unconditional respect for human life that helps readers know how to provide authentically compassionate care.


*Order this brochure for your parish or school, and check out our other NEW Respect Life materials!


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October 2016

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Pro Life 2016Intention: For all who are abused: May they experience God's love and receive the support and resources they need to find help. 

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: In his recent Respect Life Month statement, Cardinal Dolan reflected, "God loves us, treats us with respect, and asks us to do the same with others. ...No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly—everyone should be cherished and protected!" 

Celebrated as Respect Life Month, October also shares the observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As noted by the bishops, "violence against another person in any form fails to treat that person as someone worthy of love." 

Let's pray this month for all who are not treated according to their God-given dignity, especially those suffering abuse.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • In "Saying 'No' to Violence in the Home" Bishop Malone refers to Pope Francis's commentary on "throwaway culture," wherein people are treated as disposable. Other than domestic violence, where do you see examples of a "throwaway culture," and how you can counteract it?

  • On October 28, join in a united day of prayer.

  • Throughout this month, keep up the prayers and spread the message of peace and mercy on social media. (A social media toolkit is available online, and other sample posts are also available.)

One Step Further:

Learn the facts from this helpful webpage by the USCCB, as well as how you can help from this Domestic Violence Awareness Month resource kit.

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September 2016

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Praying for Life Shareable Graphic September 2016
Intention:
 For an end to violence: May our homes, our nation & countries around the world become havens of peace.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: In light of recent violence and racial tension, Archbishop Kurtz, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has invited all U.S. dioceses to unite in a Day of Prayer for Peace in
                                                        Our Communities on Friday, September 9, the
                                                        Memorial of St. Peter Claver.

Let us gather at the Cross of Jesus. Our Savior suffered at the hands of humanity's worst impulses, but He did not lose hope in us or in His heavenly father. Love overcomes evil. …The need to place ever greater value on the life and dignity of all persons, regardless of their station in life, calls us to a moment of national reflection.

--Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, July 8, 2016

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Prayerfully reflect on the readings for the upcoming Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Wednesday, September 14). How do we face our own personal crosses? Do we see them as means for Christ's love to be victorious in our lives?
  • Read the article in "One Step Further" (below) and determine some way you will intentionally build up a "culture of encounter" this week.

  • Give up something one day a week during September for the intention of peace in our communities (i.e. TV, social media, your favorite food).

One Step Further: 

Pope Francis often calls us to a "culture of encounter." What does this mean, and how might his invitation affect our daily lives? Read "Life Issues Forum: Building up Life through Encounter" to find out.


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August 2016

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Praying for Life Year Round: August 2016

Intention: May married couples, encouraged by Our Lady's example, give witness to faith and love through their marriages.

Prayers: 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be

Reflection: Married couples are called to give witness to faith with love that is total, faithful, and fruitful, and therefore open to life. This love, though beautiful, is not easy.

But we can take courage from Our Lady's faith. As Pope Francis reminded us last August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption, "Mary believes and proclaims that God does not leave his humble and poor children alone, but helps them with mercy, with care."*

One wife and mother asks, "Is God trustworthy? For many of us, the idea of being open to children can be a scary prospect." Find out why she shares later, "the next time we're asked 'Are you done?' we can say, 'We don't know yet. God's not finished working with us.'"

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

  • Spend some time in prayer, focusing upon one or more of the Scripture passages suggested in "Coffee & Conversation." What is God saying to you?

  • Reflect: What are some life experiences when you took the more challenging road? What did God give you through those experiences?

  • Pray one decade of the Rosary, reflecting on the Second Luminous Mystery, the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-12). (Pro-life reflections for this mystery are available to guide your prayer.)

One Step Further 

Read "Love, Sex, and Sterilization." This article explores the Church's beautiful teaching on love and sexuality, as it pertains to sterilization, with encouragement and an invitation to deeper relationships with God and with one's spouse.


*Excerpt from Angelus, Saturday 15 August 2015 © 2015, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City. Used with permission. All rights reserved. 

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July 2016

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Praying for Life Year Round: July 2016Intention: May our ability to care for others not be diminished by threats to religious freedom.

Prayers: 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be

Reflection: Jesus's heart moved him to heal the sick, comfort the grieving, and raise the dead. Love moved him to work wonders. This same love also moves us to care for those in need, but in recent years, the Church and her members have faced increasing obstacles to doing so.

The Little Sisters of the Poor (update), nurse Cathy, and others have had their right to religious freedom suppressed. As Catholics, we must stand up for religious freedom in our own country and around the world, drawing strength and resilience from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Acts of Reparation (choose one)

  • Pray for the protection of religious freedom in our country and around the world. (Prayer card available to order.)

  • Read this short flyer on Saints Thomas More and John Fisher. How do their witnesses apply to our lives today?

  • Reflect upon what Pope Francis has said regarding religious freedom and "polite persecution."

One Step Further 


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June 2016

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Pray for Life: End of LifeIntention: May those nearing life's end find comfort, strength & peace in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Prayers: 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be

Reflection: In "Maggie's Story: Living Like Dad," Maggie recounted how accompanying her father in his final days helped her face her own terminal illness years later.  

She shared, "God loved us enough to allow those moments—even and especially moments of suffering—in order to teach us lessons which helped us to grow spiritually and emotionally. Dad left a legacy. He taught me how to live and die with faith and with dignity marked by patience and grace. He taught me that dignity can't be diminished by pain or loss of personal control. ...Dad taught me that Jesus was walking along with him through 'the valley of the shadow of death' (Psalm 23:4)*."

Maggie passed away shortly after writing this article, but her powerful story of hope and courage continue to bear witness to the truth that every life is worth living.

Read more.

Acts of Reparation: 

  • Pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is June 3 this year, and this month is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  • Write a letter to or visit someone in a hospital or hospice care center.

  • Pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of all who have died. In a special way, pray for the peaceful repose of Maggie Karner and the consolation of her family and friends.

One Step Further:
 Maggie was diagnosed with brain cancer but continued to embrace life, opposing assisted suicide. Meet this strong woman and hear her story in this 3-minute video.

*NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission.

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May 2016

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Praying for Life Year-Round: May 2016Intercession: May Our Lady's example inspire us to authentic love graced with generosity & respect.

Prayers: 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be

Reflection: Authentic love includes respecting each other and seeking each other's good. Though at times challenging in its self-sacrificial nature, it helps us become more fully who we are created to be and leads to our ultimate happiness.

God's call to love encompasses all relationships and helps us understand the importance of chastity. Although often an "unpopular word," Pope Francis reminds us of its true essence: "[I]t is in fact the way of genuine love… which does not seek to use the other for one's own pleasure. It is a love that considers the life of the other person sacred: 'I respect you, I don't want to use you.'"[1]

Pray for us, Blessed Mother, that we may follow your example of authentic love.  

Acts of Reparation: 

One Step Further:

Discover reasons for and benefits of chastity from the perspective of a young woman committed to the Church's vision of human sexuality in "Love 101: Back to Basics," a lighthearted, but informative, article.

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[1] Address during Meeting with Children and Young People, Pastoral Visit to Turin (June 21, 2015).



April 2016

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9 Days for Life: Praying for Life year-round (April 2016)Intercession:  May all who suffer after abortion receive peace through Christ's Sacred Heart. 

Prayers: 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be

Reflection: Recalling our sins, we may feel discouraged and fearful of approaching God. However, we can cling to the truth that Christ's Passion on the Cross did not end in death, but in the joy of the Resurrection.

The power of the Resurrection gives us the courage to face our sins, confess our mistakes, and then humbly receive God's forgiveness and accept the joy that comes with new life in Christ.

As we celebrate the Sunday of Divine Mercy this weekend and continue our journey through this Easter season, let us reflect upon the profound and transformative gift of God's mercy in our lives. May the infinite depth and breadth of Christ's Divine Mercy remind us that no wound is too great for God to heal.

Acts of Reparation (choose one): 

  • Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for all who suffer after abortion—that they may experience peace through Christ's Sacred Heart. (See also: Additional information on Divine Mercy.)
  • Reflect on the Mass readings for the Sunday of Divine Mercy. How is God speaking to you?
  • Encounter Christ's ready forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and then continue to place your trust in God's mercy with this short prayer.

One Step Further: 

If a friend confided that she had an abortion, would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing? "How to Talk to a Friend Who's Had an Abortion" gives suggestions for how you can be a channel of God's mercy.

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March 2016

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Pray for Life: Adverse Prenatal DiagnosisIntercession: For parents who receive an adverse prenatal diagnosis for their unborn child: May they be comforted by our affirmation that their child's life--however long or short--is worth living.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: During the 9 Days for Life novena in January, we tweeted the image to the right, along with a ink to Supporting Families Who Receive a Prenatal Diagnosis. Upon seeing this tweet, one Catholic blogger shared, "I know God is looking out for me, when the @USCCB tweets this on the same day I posted ['Heartbreak: The Quiet Things You Carry While Your Soul Cries Out']."* The article poignantly describes both the suffering and the joy of awaiting the arrival of his unborn son, who is expected to live only a few moments after birth.

When we encounter someone who is suffering, how do we respond?

Whether we are called to quietly support them with our prayers or are also moved to offer other assistance, like bringing a meal, God gives each of us unique gifts to manifest his love to others.

This month, let's each consider how we ourselves are uniquely called to show others the unconditional love of God, who is faithfully present in our darkest times.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Make an additional effort today to be attentive to those around you who might need a little extra compassion.

One Step Further:

Consider sharing one or more of these pre-written posts with images on your social media accounts, or share them with friends and family.

 



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