“Even the smallest person can change the course of history.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Each year, in conjunction with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22), a National Prayer Vigil for Life is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The date for this Prayer Vigil is Thursday, January 26th. The Prayer Vigil is followed by the Rally and March for Life on Friday, January 27th. Thousands travel from all corners of the country to take part in the opening liturgy, all-night prayer vigil and march for life. Religious Education Programs might conduct a simple prayer vigil so that all might participate in this prayer occasion. This date is also designated as a particular day of penance in the Roman Missal.
Prayer is the foundation of all that we do in defense of human life. Our efforts will be less than fully fruitful if we do not change hearts and if we do not ourselves overcome our own spiritual blindness. Only with prayer—prayer that storms Heaven for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and our souls—will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life.
“A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God. . . . Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that the power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many . . . the evil of practices and laws which are hostile to life.” —Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, no. 100
Resources to Mark the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade!
The theme for this year’s National Prayer Vigil for Life is The Power of One. “Even the Smallest Person Can Change the Course of History.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
One person can make a difference in the world, whether in the life of one person or many. Sadly, in the U.S. alone, 1 million babies are not even given the opportunity to live and change the world each year. Building a culture of life and ending abortion takes each and every person. Starting with your family or neighborhood, our collective efforts will change hearts and minds, save lives, and build a culture of life.
1) The Meaning of Life – God Knew Your Name – This short YouTube by James Likens provides a general overview of the sanctity of human life in all stages told through beautiful lyrics and music. I would suggest that for pre-school through 5th grade, show the students up to 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Total time is 5 minutes 38 seconds. Click on the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWtU95yBIx8
2) Chris Stefanick presents a 4 minute YouTube video entitled “Pro-Life Culture – click on the link and scroll down to the fifth row of videos: http://reallifecatholic.com/video/ Excellent for Middle and High School
- At this link on right side: find outstanding you tube Gianna Jessen abortion survivor – 15 min. excellent video along with many other pro-life videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buvFoY1ehPY
3) A pro-life doctor or a pro-life committee member in your area would have Fetal Models. A set of four fetal models reveal the various stages of development of a pre-born baby. Appropriate for use with middle school students and older.
4) From the US Bishop’s website: Sign up for a nationwide novena for life from January 21-29, 2017 at www.9daysforlife.com. Download our planning, programmatic, and promotional resources.
5) Suggestions for How to Create a Pro-Life Classroom – bring the “respect for life” message into the classroom and cultivate a positive atmosphere towards new life.
6) On Pro-Life Wisconsin’s website, there is a simple Chronology of A New Life. Scroll down on the main page at this link: http://www.prolifewisconsin.org/proLifeIssues.asp?article=Chronology+of+a+New+Life&aid=1&id=5#topNews
7) See the Diocesan Religion Curriculum: In the Scope section, refer to the Dignity of the Human Person; In the Life in Christ section for each grade, see the first few entries.
8) Other helpful websites and resources
- Prolife Across America based in Minneapolis, MN https://prolifeacrossamerica.org/get-involved/
- Priests for Life: Pro-life Resources and Activities for Students http://www.priestsforlife.org/youth/
- EWTN Pro-Life http://www.ewtn.com/prolife/pro-life-resources.asp
Pro Life Video (on EWTNs website) http://www.ewtn.com/prolife/pro-life-video-audio.asp
- Generation Life http://www.generationlife.org/
- Students for Life of America http://studentsforlife.org/
- 2017 March for Life Downloads http://marchforlife.org/mfl-2017/downloads/
- Word on Fire (Bishop Robert Barron) https://www.wordonfire.org/search/?simple_search=false&keywords=Pro-life+talks&filter_price=free&filter_blog=on&filter_homily=on&filter_video=on&filter_lecture=on&filter_article=on&topic=pro-life&scripture=&catechism=&season=&language=english&liturgical=&specialcategory=&adv_submit=Search
- Diocese of La Crosse – Respect Life Resources http://diolc.org/social-concerns/respect-life/learn/ Click also on Take Action – Respect Life
9. January Holy Hours for Life
Deacons will preside at a Holy Hour for Life to be held at various parishes throughout the Diocese on or around January 21st, which is the vigil of the National Day of Penance and Prayer for Life, which coincides with the tragic anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. For dates and locations, visit www.diolc.org/holy-hour-for-life.
When God created each of us, He did so with precision and purpose, and He looks on each of us with love that cannot be outdone in intensity or tenderness. Moreover, the Lord invites each of us to behold ourselves and each other with the same wonder and awe. No matter how the world might view us or others, let us treat each person as the masterpiece that he or she is. “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.” – Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata
Join with the students in asking how God is calling your parish/religious education program to serve the Culture of Life.