January 22 – A Day of Prayer and Penance for Life

“In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass ‘For Peace and Justice’ should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.” General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373

Today we mark 35 years of legal abortion in the United States, which began with the Roe v. Wade and companion Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions (both of the same day).

Let us pray today, and also ask ourselves what more we can do than we are doing now. Some people look back on the Nazi era and ask why all the “good people” were silent while the evil was being done, why even the Church was not louder in its protests. What were they thinking? How could they have missed it? Did they care so little for what was going on around them?

I continue to believe that people of future generations will ask the same question someday about us, in our day, when it comes to abortion. That’s what makes today a good day for fasting and penance. Even if we have not had an abortion or been involved in one, we have allowed it to happen all around us, and done so little.

The Priests for Life website is a good place to start if you’re looking for information and opportunities of things you can do to help. There are lots of other good ones out there, too.

I have two abortion-related articles available online:

“Samantha Shrugged,” originally published in Touchstone, is at Catholic Educator’s Resource Center

“Why Should Laws Be Pro-Life?” at Catholic Exchange


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