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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. English and Spanish language worship aids are available in multiple formats at www.usccb.org/prolife/papalvigil.
“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.
McQuade added, “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 dignity.”
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.
Keywords: Pope Benedict XVI, vigil, nascent human life, unborn life, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, prayer, liturgy, dignity, Advent, embryonic stem cell research, IVF
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