The March for Life in Washington, DC may be on Friday in deference to the inauguration, but the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn (normally observed on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade) is today — Monday, January 23 — Sunday taking precedence yesterday.
That’s per the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373:
In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.
According to the USCCB website:
As individuals, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and/or giving alms. Another way to take part is through participating in special events to observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Call your local diocese or parish to find out what events might be taking place in your area.
I recommend fasting as well as praying today — and I want to specifically invite my non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ to join in this day of prayer and fasting. (Remember, this is also the World Week of Prayer for Christian Unity!)
May the light of Christ shine in his people in the darkness of this world, leading individuals and societies to reject the evil of abortion.
Let us also pray:
- for mothers with unexpected pregnancies;
- for both moral and material support for women who choose life under difficult circumstances;
- for healing for women who have chosen abortion;
- for grace for those family members and others whose words and actions may influence or help determine the practical range of options some expectant mothers may feel they have;
- for the conversion of those family members and others whose actions have led to women choosing abortion (or undergoing it through no choice of their own); and
- for the conversion of all who support or work in the abortion industry.
Lord, hear our prayer.
P.S. A word to those of my pro-life friends who may feel conflicted about or alienated from the pro-life movement or its leadership over, shall we say, recent (or not so recent) political and cultural trends and alignments:
I understand the difficulty some of you feel. I want to suggest to you that in the present environment it is more important, not less, that you continue to be clearly and vocally pro-life.
The pro-life cause, which is bigger than abortion but touches on no issue of greater impact than abortion, is too important to cede to, or to be distanced from by, any political party, movement, social phenomenon, or cultural narrative.
Let your voice be heard. Today would be a good day.