October 29, 2010
WASHINGTON(October 29, 2010) — On Saturday, November 27, Pope Benedict XVI will
open the new liturgical year by celebrating a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life
at St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope has requested that “all diocesan bishops (and
their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations
involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities,
associations and movements.”
Many dioceses have already made plans to
celebrate this special worldwide vigil for the unborn. The United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariats of Divine Worship and of
Pro-Life Activities have developed resources to help other parishes, religious
communities and organizations participate.
“Nascent human life is under attack in a myriad of ways,” said Deirdre
McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the Secretariat of
Pro-Life Activities. “In the United States alone, over 50 million unborn
children have lost their lives to abortion since Roe v. Wade.” In addition to
abortion, “embryonic stem cell research kills human beings at their earliest
stages in the name of science. Reproductive technologies destroy or indefinitely
freeze many more lives than are ever born,” she said.
“This unprecedented worldwide vigil is a fitting start to Advent when we prepare
for the Nativity of Jesus Christ, who gave every life its full worth and
Since the Vigil for All Nascent Human Life falls on the
Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, four different worship options—including
longer and shorter forms—are suggested for local use or adaptation. Following
directives given by the Vatican and approved by the USCCB, all four options
include Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Rubrics are also
provided for priests and liturgy directors.
Offered as Respect Life Month draws to a close in
the United States, these prayer aids help fulfill the bishops’ commitment to
uphold the God-given dignity of all human life.
Benedict XVI, vigil, nascent human life, unborn life, United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops, prayer, liturgy, dignity, Advent, embryonic stem cell