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US Bishops Encourage Novena, Prayer Texts to Mark 40th Anniversary of Roe

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(Washington)--The U.S. Catholic bishops have launched "Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage" to take place Jan. 19-27, 2013, as part of events marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand in the U.S.

Jan. 22 is the actual anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision, but because this year it is the day after public ceremonies for the presidential inauguration, the annual March for Life in Washington will take place Jan. 25.

Materials about the "Nine Days" program posted on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops suggests prayers, activities and other ways Catholics in the U.S. can mark the Roe anniversary, whether they planned to come to Washington or to attend local or regional pro-life rallies, events and liturgies.

A signature event of the program is a novena, which participants can receive via a daily email by signing up at www.usccb.org/9days or by texting "9days" to 99000 to receive a daily text message. Described as "youth-friendly," the daily message will include: an intercession; simple prayers; a brief reflection on the saint of the day or a lesson from the daily readings; suggestions for concrete acts of prayer, penance and charity; and "a powerful myth/reality comment related to abortion."

According to the USCCB, the "Nine Days" program is part of a pastoral strategy the U.S. bishops approved during their fall general assembly in Baltimore to address life, marriage and religious liberty concerns.

Components include monthly eucharistic holy hours in cathedrals and parishes, daily family rosary, special Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses, and fasting and abstinence on Fridays. A second "Fortnight for Freedom" event is planned for 2013 to raise concern about infringements to religious freedom.

(Catholic News Service)