National Prayer Vigil for Life Taking Place in Nation’s Capital, January 18-19; Plenary Indulgence May be Obtained by Those Taking Part in “Sacred Celebrations” Surrounding Annual March for Life

January 12, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The NationalPrayer Vigil for Life will be held fromThursday afternoon, January 18 to Friday morning, January 19, at the Basilicaof the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Over 20,000 pilgrims fromaround the nation will pray there for an end to abortion before the annualMarch for Life. The Vigil marks the 45th anniversary of the U.S. SupremeCourt's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortionthroughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 58 millionabortions have been performed legally in the United States.

The principal celebrant and homilist at theVigil Opening Mass will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of theU.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. His fellow cardinals and manyof the nation's bishops and priests will concelebrate with him in theBasilica's Great Upper Church from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Vigil continues overnightin the Crypt Church with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, ByzantineRite Night Prayer, and Holy Hours led by seminarians from across the countryfrom 11 p.m.- 6 a.m.

"This year, pilgrims have been given a special spiritual gift. A plenaryindulgence may be obtained under the usual conditions by participating in theNational Prayer Vigil for Life or the other sacred celebrations surrounding theMarch for Life," said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-lifecommunications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

For thoseseeking Sacramental Reconciliation while on site, confessions will be heard inthe Our Lady of Hostyn Chapel of the Crypt Church over the course of nine hoursbefore and after the Opening Mass. See additional details.

"We also invite all the faithful nationwide to be in solidarity with thebishops during their annual pro-life novena, 9Days for Life, from January 18-26," McQuade continued. "May ourprayers, combined with acts of love, help build a culture that cherishes everyhuman life."

On the day ofthe March for Life, Friday, January 19, the Basilica will once again host EucharisticAdoration in the Crypt Church at 6:00 a.m., with Morning Prayer/Benediction followingat 6:30. The Vigil's Closing Mass will take place at 7:30 a.m. in the GreatUpper Church, with Bishop Edward Burns of Dallasas principal celebrant and homilist.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat ofPro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, andThe Catholic University of America.

Media are welcome to attend the Opening Mass and interview pilgrimsthroughout the 14-hour Vigil.

Media should check in at theBasilica's Great Upper Church sacristy and present press credentials toJacquelyn Hayes or a designated Basilica press representative to receive apress pass. Advanceregistration is preferred. Footage from the Mass may also be obtained bysatellite feed courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Forcoordinates, or to register, contact Jacquelyn Hayes, director ofcommunications for the Basilica, at 202-281-0615 or @email.

For more details on the overnight NationalPrayer Vigil for Life and some of the other pro-life events in the Washington,DC area, visit join -- and helpspread the word about -- 9Days for Life, visit

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