By Caitlin Thomas

January 13, 2017

The Christmasseason, filled with joy and color, also often brings compassion and concern for others to the forefront of our minds. As we return to our routines after the holidays, January can seem like a dreary time of year in comparison. We may even begin to lose our focus on prayer and reaching out to others. But our Catholic faith teaches us to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and that in all that we do, every act should be done with love (1 Thess. 5:16-17, 1 Cor. 16:14).   

As we resume the celebration of Ordinary Time in this new year, we remember that celebrating the liturgy inside church walls goes hand in hand with celebrating God's gifts of life, mercy, and love out in the world—including the digital world.

At the end of January, many people across the country will participate in liturgies, prayer vigils, marches, or rallies to peacefully stand up for the protection of life. But whether or not you plan to attend one of these events, "all together, we must build a new culture of life," as Pope Saint John Paul II noted in his encyclical The Gospel of Life (EV 95). That's where social media can step in.

The U.S. bishops invite the faithful to participate in 9 Days for Life, an annual period of prayer and action cherishing the gift of life. We are encouraged to "pray, gather, and share" during this novena, and social media can help us make a "digital pilgrimage" together.

As we thank God for the gift of all human life and pray for its protection in our society, it helps to know that none of us is alone in doing so—quite the contrary! Today we can connect with Catholics and others across the country as we share our faith, and we can take comfort from our solidarity in prayer, too.

There are lots of creative ways to share that you're praying for life. Join the Facebook event, add a new profile picture or cover photo, post a selfie or video with a sign explaining what being pro-life means to you, or share prayers and inspiring images on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Be sure to use the hashtag #9DaysForLife, and tag us @USCCB (we might feature your post)!

So don't be afraid to pray, gather, and share. Instead, rejoice and bear witness to God's gift of life! As Bishop William J. Waltersheid, Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh, says, "Human life is a sacred gift from God. I encourage everyone to join in praying and witnessing during the 9 Days for Life, January 21-29, 2017. We can change hearts and our culture so all life will be cherished and protected." Join today at!

Caitlin Thomas is a staff assistant for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more on the bishops' 9 Days for Life novena, visit