By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Catholics nationwide plan to participate in 9 Days for Life, a period of prayer, penance and pilgrimage to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion during all nine months of pregnancy. The campaign, a project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), runs Jan. 17-25. It includes prayer resources in print and electronic form.
As part of Nine Days for Life, Bishop Martin Amos will participate in the Midwest March for Life Jan. 17 at the State Capitol in Des Moines. Also, a bus trip to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 22 March for Life is being organized by Donna DeJoode, director of religious education at St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa.
For the nine-day period, a novena (nine-day series of prayers or devotions) is available with prayer intentions, reflections, suggested acts of reparation and daily readings, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said in a letter to his fellow bishops. He chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. This year’s intentions encompass the spectrum of human life issues — from prayers for an end to abortion, domestic violence and the death penalty to an intention to welcoming children into adoptive families. Individuals may subscribe to receive the novena by text message, email or a smart phone application or may download a printable version available online at www.9daysforlife.com. Materials are also available in Spanish.
On Jan. 25, parishes are invited to offer a Holy Hour for Reparation and Healing for all of those impacted by abortion. Parishes doing so may contact The Catholic Messenger to publish Holy Hours in the newspaper’s calendar.
“If we are a people of faith and believe in the power of prayer, for us to be engaged individually and as a diocese in a novena of prayer makes a lot of sense,” Bishop Amos said. The bishop decided to participate in the Midwest March for Life after representatives from statewide pro-life groups spoke with Iowa’s bishops at an Iowa Catholic Conference meeting last year. The bishops talked among themselves about the importance of participating in the Midwest event, given that distance and weather may prevent Catholics from attending the national event.
Participating in the Midwestern event is “a way to emphasize how important the issue is and to encourage people from the Midwest to attend,” Bishop Amos said. The Midwest March for Life was inaugurated two years ago — sponsored by Iowa Right to Life and endorsed by the Iowa Catholic Conference. This year’s event begins with Mass at 9 a.m. Jan. 17 at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. The march starts at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol.
There’s still room available on the bus for those would like to accompany DeJoode and her group to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The bus leaves Jan. 19 late at night, picking up participants in Pella, Oskaloosa, Iowa City and Davenport. They’ll visit historical sites and museums as well as attend Mass and the rally before returning to Iowa Jan. 23. Cost of the trip is $250 plus food. If you’d like to attend, call DeJoode at (641) 780-7505.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow … we go to witness to God’s life and not to condemn those who have participated in abortion in any way,” she said. “I think people’s eyes are opened more when they have the opportunity to go on this trip.”
Both the national and Midwest marches are worthy causes, she added. “Those who don’t have as much time available go to the regional march; those who can take more time go to the national march.”