Beginning today, you can join others in a focused nine-day program of prayer and reading for the protection of human life at all its stages. 9 Days for Life is about praying and reflecting together, even when we’re not gathered in one place.
I won’t be in Washington for this week’s March for Life, even though the march marks two significant events: the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and last June’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe. The bishop in my diocese decided some weeks ago not to sponsor buses to the 2023 march, despite having done so in earlier years, in order to underscore the Supreme Court’s decision to return abortion policy to the states.
Parishes are instead holding events of their own: specially-scheduled Masses, Eucharistic Adoration, life-issue films, and so forth. Our state march for life, held last weekend, was preceded by a Mass and followed by a reception and conference at the church hall. It’s safe to say that the local Catholics aren’t making the mistake of thinking that abortion is some kind of settled issue.
Still, there’s something missing as I skip this year’s trip to Washington: the overwhelming mutual support and combined voices of my sisters and brothers in faith from all over the country. The March for Life claims no religious affiliation, and all who come in peace are welcomed to it. All I have to do is look around the National Mall and the march route, though, to find students from Catholic colleges and parishioners from many states. I’ve been to pre-March Masses at different churches in D.C., packed with travelers fresh off their chartered buses. There’s a unity and common faith that overcomes – for awhile, anyway – the sense of dislocation that can go along with being pro-life in an abortion-friendly community.
9 Days for Life can remind us of that unity and faith. I don’t need to travel to Washington to participate.
I’ll miss the trip to D.C., the interesting company, even the Washington street vendors with their hot pretzels that have always sustained me on cold mornings before marches in past years. That’s okay. I can probably find hot pretzels here in New Hampshire if I put my mind to it.
I’ll go find the pretzels after I register via text for the novena, which will result in my getting a daily text with a theme and prayer. Text 9DAYS (no spaces) to 84576 to sign up. You can also find all the information about the novena at the 9 Days for Life website.