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Pray for Life: December 2017

 

Pray for Life: Supporting Expectant Mothers (www.usccb.org/prayforlife) 


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December 2017

Pray for Life: Expectant MothersIntercession: 

May every expectant mother encounter loving support as she awaits the birth of her child.

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Prayers:

Our Father,
3 Hail Marys, Glory Be


Reflection:
For an expectant mother whose pregnancy is marked by challenging circumstances, the time before the birth of her child can be full of uncertainty and fear. In this period of anticipation, the future can seem threatening, and even a woman who identifies as being pro-life might consider abortion. Without a community of support from friends and family, a new mother's pregnancy can be more painful than joyous.

As Catholics, we have a duty to respond with life-affirming love for both an expectant mother and her child. If someone shared with you she was pregnant and hadn't ruled out abortion, would you know how to respond?

Read What To Do When A Friend Is Considering Abortion (en español) to learn the four steps of the L.O.V.E. ApproachTM*: Listen and Learn, Open Options, Vision and Value, and Extend and Empower.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Ask Our Lady of Guadalupe for her intercession using this short prayer. Consider praying it every day for the next week.
  • Reach out to a friend or family member who is pregnant, and ask how you can support them, or offer specific help, like making a meal or running errands.

One Step Further:

Read "10 Ways to Support Her When She's Unexpectedly Expecting," and share it on social media with your favorite suggestion.

Bulletin Insert: English / en español  
Order: English / en español

Did You Know?

The bishops' annual pro-life digital pilgrimage, 9 Days for Life, takes place next month from Thursday, January 18 – Friday, January 26. Join, invite your friends to sign up, and check out the other ways you can participate at www.9daysforlife.com.

There are also many resources to help leaders integrate 9 Days for Life into their regular programming or to plan special events as part of local participation.

 

*The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is trademarked by Heartbeat International, Inc. and may not be adapted or modified. The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is used in "What to Do When a Friend Is Considering Abortion" with permission from Heartbeat International, Inc.

Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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November 2017

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Pray for Life: November 2017Intercession: May we help each other on our earthly pilgrimage to heaven.

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Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The annual observances of All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2) remind us that "death is not the end, but rather the door through which we must pass to gain eternal life." We are called to journey together on our pilgrimage to heaven, and we can take steps now to deepen our understanding of the transition from this life to the next and prepare for it.

For example, let's encourage each another in regular prayer and reception of the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist; these give us "grace to live in ever-deeper communion with God and with one another." It is also important to learn about the dignity of human life and applicable principles for medical care, so we can make decisions about end-of-life care that respect God's gift of life. And, knowing "our prayers can help those who are being purified in Purgatory," let us pray especially this month for those who have gone before us. 

*(Excerpts are from "Catholic Considerations for Our Earthly Passing.")

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Praying for the living and the dead is a spiritual work of mercy. Pray a decade of the Rosary today for someone you know who is nearing death or who has passed away.

  • Visiting those who are sick is one of the corporal works of mercy. Set a time this month to visit someone who is ill. Your local church may be able connect you with a parishioner who would welcome a visit.

  • November is celebrated in the United States as Black Catholic History Month. Learn about one of the following candidates for sainthood: Venerable Henriette Delille; Venerable Pierre Toussaint; Servant of God, Mother Mary Lange; and Servant of God, Father Augustus Tolton. Focus this week on practicing one of the virtues he or she exemplified.

One Step Further:

"Catholic Considerations for Our Earthly Passing" provides several considerations as starting points for understanding and preparing for death in a way that respects God's gift of human life.

Bulletin Insert: English / Spanish (additional formats)
Order: English / Spanish

Did You Know?

The website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers many free prayer resources—for example, pro-life Rosary prayer intentions and family prayers from birth to death.

Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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October 2017  Subscribe!

Note: As we begin this year's observance of Respect Life Month, our hearts are heavy with grief over the events in Las Vegas. We echo USCCB President, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, who expressed, "My heart and my prayers, and those of my brother bishops and all the members of the Church, go out to the victims of this tragedy and to the city of Las Vegas."

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Pray for Life: October 2017

Intercession: May God's loving presence strengthen us to be not afraid.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: "My dear friends in Christ:

Once again, we mark the month of October as Respect Life Month. Looking back over the last year, there's been a lot of uncertainty, suffering, and heartache. Between tragedies that occur in the public eye and trials that take place in our personal lives, there's no shortage of reasons we cry out to God. 

Excerpted from the
2017 Respect Life
Month Statement

At such times, we may feel alone and unequipped to handle the circumstances. But we have an anchor of hope to cling to. With words that echo through thousands of years into the corners of our hearts, God says to us, 'Do not fear: I am with you' (Isaiah 41:10).

The 2017-2018 Respect Life theme, 'Be Not Afraid,' reminds us of this promise.

...There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But reflecting on the healed wounds of the Risen Christ, we can see that even our most difficult trials can be the place where God manifests his victory. He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption…" (Read full statement.)

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • "Unplug" for some time this week praying in silence with a short reflection on the theme "Be Not Afraid."

  • Who in your life is facing challenging times? Consider how you can bring them Christ's comforting presence, and choose one or two simple ways to do so in the next couple weeks.

  • This month, spend an hour with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.

One Step Further:

In these challenging times when respect for life is so often disregarded, how do we build a culture that cherishes all human life? Read "How to Build a Culture of Life," and share! (Order: English / en español)

Did You Know?

2017-18 Respect Life Program: Be Not Afraid

 

 The NEW Respect Life materials from the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities are now available! They are suggested for use especially from October 2017 – September 2018, and are meant to help integrate the Gospel of Life throughout Catholic life, work, and ministry.


 

Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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June 2017 Subscribe!

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Pray for Life - www.usccb.org/prayforlifeIntercession: May religious freedom be respected so that people of faith are able to carry out the mission of service & mercy.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: In St. Matthew's gospel, Jesus tells his followers that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for him. In other words, we serve Jesus when we serve others, especially the poor and vulnerable.

As Christians, we are called to continue the mission of Jesus Christ in all times and places. We are called to serve others as individuals and as communities, and we work for religious freedom so that we may be able to do so.

Religious freedom in the U.S. is, at its core, about the ability to carry out our ministries. We hold our faith because it is true, and at the same time, faith is good for society as a whole. When we work for religious freedom, we are working to promote the common good, the flourishing of all people in our country.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Take a few minutes each day during the Fortnight for Freedom (June 21 – July 4) to learn more about the richness of Catholic teaching on religious freedom. (These short handouts are a great way to get started!)

  • All of us are called to follow Jesus Christ in helping others know and respond to his love. Take a few minutes to pray and reflect on how God is calling you.

  • Start speaking up today! How have religious groups helped you, your family, and your neighbors? Reflect on how to respectfully engage in conversation about religious freedom, and start a conversation with friends and family. Share your stories with us on Twitter at @USCCBFreedom!

One Step Further:

Religious freedom is not only that of private worship. This short video features stories of the importance of religious freedom for institutions that perform works of mercy like educating children, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.

Did You Know?

Highlighting thFortnight for Freedom Logoe importance of defending religious freedom, the Fortnight for Freedom takes place June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day.

Prayer resources & more: www.fortnightforfreedom.org


Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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May 2017  Subscribe!

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pray-for-life-may-2017-150x150Intercession: Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Life, may the tragic promotion & practice of assisted suicide be stopped.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Serious illness is one of life's most difficult challenges, and in such trials, we want to support and provide compassionate care for each other. Some have proposed assisted suicide as a way to do this.

However, far from fostering compassion or choice, assisted suicide fosters discrimination by creating two classes of people: those whose suicides we work hard to prevent and those whose suicides we assist. We don't discourage suicide by assisting suicide.  What's more, assisted suicide is bad medicine, a prescription for abuse.

Our God-given worth and dignity can't be diminished by illness, dependence on others, or any other circumstance. Every person's life is worth living.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

    • Pray the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Life for those contemplating, advocating for, or supporting assisted suicide.

    • Visit someone who is lonely, homebound, or ill. (If you don't know of such a person, ask your pastor, or go with friends to visit a hospital or nursing home.) Sharing life and living in community gives much-needed support and friendship to those who are suffering.

    • Spend some time informing and equipping yourself to help stop the further legalization of assisted suicide. "Going to Battle Against Assisted Suicide" gives a quick explanation of the landscape and tips for how you can help stop it.

One Step Further:

Read "Every Suicide is Tragic" to learn more about the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide.

Bulletin Insert: English / Spanish
Order: English / Spanish

Did You Know?

Equip yourself with fact sheets, videos, and other resources available at www.usccb.org/toliveeachday, www.patientsrightscouncil.org, and www.patientsrightsaction.org.

Visit the Patients Rights Action Fund's YouTube account for many short videos of people sharing their own powerful stories of why they oppose assisted suicide. 


Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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April 2017

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pro-lifeIntercession: May we find forgiveness, healing, and peace in God's Divine Mercy.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be 

Reflection: As we prepare to enter Holy Week, we can reflect upon the Divine Mercy Christ shows us in His suffering, death, and Resurrection. By our sin, we distance or cut ourselves off from the life of God's grace within us. But rather than leave us among the dead, our God wants to wipe away our sins and welcome us in friendship.

His forgiveness, which brings us to life in Him, is possible in the Sacrament of Reconciliation because He first offered Himself for our sake. Trusting in God's mercy and the power of the Resurrection, let us ask His forgiveness for the times we have failed to respect one another or to cherish His gift of life.

Jesus's Passion and death are not the end; they point to the joy of the Resurrection.

"By His wounds, we were healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

On Divine Mercy Sunday (April 23rd this year), take some time to learn about St. Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy. Then pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for all who suffer after abortion.

Reflect on one of the Mass readings for Holy Week. How is God speaking to you?

Encounter Christ's ready forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and then continue to place your trust in God's mercy with this short prayer.

One Step Further:

Read "Bridges of Mercy for Post-Abortion Healing" to learn how to extend God's mercy to those who suffer after abortion.

Bulletin Insert: English / Spanish
Order: English / Spanish

Did You Know?

pro-life"We Follow One Who Wept": Anne McGuire, Assistant Director for Education and Outreach, reflects on true compassion and our need for God and each other.

The Life Issues Forum is a bi-weekly column that may be reprinted without further permission, provided it is reproduced in full and without alteration. Read individually, or use in classrooms, diocesan newspapers, bulletins, and more. (Subscribe.)

 

Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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March 2017

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Praying for Life Year-Round: March 2017Intercession: May God bless all those for whom adoption is part of their life story.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Adoption is a loving and generous way for a child to be welcomed as part of a family. It can also include uncertainty and other challenges—for the children waiting to find "forever families," for the parents placing their children for adoption, for the couples waiting to be matched with a child, and for so many others.

This month, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.* Remembering his very special role as the earthly foster father of Jesus, we invoke St. Joseph's intercession, asking the Lord to bless all those for whom adoption has a place in their story. And, recalling the mercy which God our Father has shown to us, we also ask that, through our words and actions, they may encounter the outstretched hands of his mercy.

*Because March 19 falls on a Sunday this year, the observance of the Solemnity of St. Joseph is Monday, March 20.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

One Step Further:

Read Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption. Drawing from the personal experience of a mother who placed her child for adoption, this article gives nine pointers for offering ongoing support to other expectant mothers considering adoption. Find out how you can be an agent of mercy.

(Also available to order in either English or Spanish!)


Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

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