Life Matters All Year Long

By Deirdre McQuade

February 7, 2014

Over the past 41 years, millions of peaceful witnesses have come to Washington, D.C. each January to call for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States. The March for Life quickly became the largest annual human rights demonstration in the nation’s capital. The Walk for Life West Coast started ten years ago in San Francisco and hundreds more local demonstrations take place throughout the country. This year in DC and many other locations, it was a bitterly cold day to be outside speaking out for those who have no voice of their own. Some made huge sacrifices to participate, others small, but all gave witness to the dignity of human life from conception onward. Pope Francis himself sent out a supportive “tweet” from Rome: “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”

To celebrate that joyful witness, the Secretariat has released a new, fast-paced one-minute video called “Life Matters.” It features youthful Catholic participation in the 2014 March for Life and related prayer events. In addition to footage from Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s pre-March for Life Mass with over 700 young people from Boston, it includes short interviews with teens and young adults. From exuberant cheers ("We love babies, yes we do!") to the quiet stillness of night prayer, they share their joy at participating in the March for Life and related events because “Life Matters!”

Through the “9 Days for Life” campaign – which people joined via email, Facebook, text messages, and smartphone apps -- approximately 38,000 people were in spiritual solidarity with those out in the public square. Together we raised up a nationwide spiritual bouquet of prayers, pilgrimage, and acts of penance to make reparation for the sin of abortion. As Archbishop Kurtz, president of the USCCB said: “Your prayers matter and your sacrifices make a difference!”

The demonstrations and “9 Days” campaign are over, but life matters all year long and so we keep on praying, sacrificing for, and defending human life. Since the protection of vulnerable human life is so intertwined with the defense of both marriage and religious liberty – and because all three of these are under attack from various angles -- the bishops of the United States have issued a Call to Prayer and Fasting. Each Friday, we are invited to fast and pray for a specific intention supporting life, marriage, and religious liberty. To join this great movement in English or Spanish:

Once you’ve done your part, invite your friends, classmates, colleagues, and family members to do the same. Share the video links through email and social media. Feel free to download and embed the video (complete and without alteration) on your blogs, websites, and online newsletters. Encouraged by our solidarity this January, we can build an even larger prayer movement throughout the year, so that abortion might come to an end. Because of God, life matters; and with Him, all things are possible.

Deirdre A. McQuade is Assistant Director for Policy & Communications at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Join the Bishops’ Call to Prayer and Fasting for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty. Visit or text “fast” to 99000. Join the movement!