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National Prayer Vigil for Life Moves Online for 2021; Additional Opportunities at Maine Parishes

Catholics across the country are encouraged to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Thursday, January 28, to Friday, January 29, marking the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 60 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

Each January, the National Prayer Vigil for Life is hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Pro-Life Secretariat, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and The Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry. Last year, thousands of people from across the nation gathered at the Basilica and prayed through the night for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. The Basilica will not be open to the public for the 2021 vigil due to local attendance restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The vigil will begin with a live rosary and Mass, broadcast from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on Thursday, January 28, at 8 p.m. on EWTN-TV (check local listings) and the Basilica’s website (www.nationalshrine.org). The principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, who is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). After the Mass and throughout the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be broadcast on the USCCB’s website (www.usccb.org). The vigil concludes at 8 a.m. on Friday, January 29, with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore on EWTN-TV and the Basilica’s website.

Catholics nationwide are also preparing to pray 9 Days for Life, the annual pro-life novena, beginning this Thursday, January 21. In the Catholic Church, a ‘novena’ consists of prayers over nine successive days. The overarching intention of the novena is the end to abortion. Each daily intention highlights a related topic and is accompanied by a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions. All are invited to sign up at www.pro-life-activities.lpages.co/9-days-for-life-2021-english. Participants can receive the novena in English or Spanish via email or text message, or access it online. Sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the USCCB, 9 Days for Life began in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Several events calling for the end of abortions and a greater respect for life are set for Maine parishes in the coming days, including:

“Language of Compassion” Virtual Presentation Across Maine
On the 48th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision, the Project Rachel Team will host a diocesan-wide presentation entitled “Language of Compassion” on Friday, January 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Lifesize. The team, acutely aware that many post-abortive men and women often feel stigmatized, harshly judged, and condemned, wishes to educate the public about how to be effective agents of compassion and to speak mercy, empathy, and love to those who are post abortive. This presentation is not a replacement for the Rachel's Vineyard retreats offered in the spring/fall. Rather, it is a tool for those who wish to minister to post-abortive men and women. All are welcome. Anyone under the age of 18 must watch with a trusted adult. To register or for more information, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/content/diocesan-wide-language-compassion-presentation.

“Solemnity March for Life” in Sanford
All are welcome to gather at Holy Family Church, located on 66 North Avenue in Sanford, on Saturday, January 23, at noon. Participants will park at the church, remain in the car or join others in forming a circle for the march, receive a carnation at the front of the church, and then march around the church, six feet apart, 48 times to mark the years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion. The carnations will be placed at the church’s memorial for the unborn as participants pass by. For more information, contact St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish, of which Holy Family Church is a part, at (207) 324-2420.

Protection of Life Prayer Service in Falmouth
All are welcome to gather to pray for the protection of life on Sunday, January 31, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Holy Martyrs Church, located on 266 Foreside Road in Falmouth. The Rosary for Life and the Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed with silent time for adoration of the Eucharist. The service will also be live-streamed at www.pothe.org. For more information, contact the Parish of the Holy Eucharist, of which Holy Martyrs is a part, at (207) 847-6890.