Whether or not you attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 27, you can fight for the cause of life spiritually, by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Each year the USCCB calls for a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. This year it falls on Monday, January 23, one day after the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. But why pray for just one day when you can do the Catholic thing – a novena?

Beginning on January 21, you can unite with other Catholics in prayer around the world by praying the 9 Days for Life novena. Go to the website 9daysforlife.com and download the daily prayers, or get the mobile app, or have it delivered to your inbox, or access it through text, Facebook, or Twitter. Gone are the days when the only way to deliver a message about prayer and penance to the whole world in an instant was with an apparition.

Each day of the novena will include a prayer intention, a tried and true Our Father, three Hail Marys, and Glory Be, a reflection on love, holiness, and the sanctity of life by Pope Saint John Paul II and others, and a list of suggested acts of reparation. As Catholics, we not only believe in the power of prayer but that we can also offer up acts of penance for others. So if you’re praying outside an abortion clinic and you don’t want to be there, because it’s cold, and you’re busy, and you have a natural aversion to getting involved in other people’s business, and the sight of people going into the building makes you want to weep, you can offer all of that up as a prayer for the people inside – mothers, fathers, babies, family members, and staff. These acts of reparation form a natural bridge to the final segment of 9 Days for Life - One Step Further. One Step Further is a list of suggestions for helping those who have been involved in an abortion.

Perhaps the most powerful thing about 9 Days for Life is that you are not praying alone, even if you are physically by yourself in your own home. You are praying it with your fellow Catholics, and therefore with the Lord, who has promised that, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. If you do desire to pray in the presence of others, the website has links to related events in dioceses throughout the country. Or you can set up your own and make it as formal or informal as you wish. Catholics will gather together to storm heaven as a people, as our ancestors in Faith once did, when they prayed the Rosary to win the Battle of Lepanto.

The loss of 56 million babies’ lives through abortion in America since 1973 is cause enough to unite in prayer and sacrifice. It has deeply torn America. It has devastated mothers, fathers, grandparents, families, communities, and our culture. No one is unaffected. Our children are growing up in what Pope Francis calls a “throw away culture.” In future centuries when the history books are written about our era and about us, people will ask what we did about it. Did we resist it, at the cost of our time, energy, and comfort as Catholics of former times did, often at the cost of their lives?

You can answer that question now, at least in part. Sign up for the novena. Be counted. The bishops want to hear from you. You can even take a selfie or a video showing how and why you are doing your part in 9 Days for Life. Visit 9daysforlife.com for more details.