March lauded for witnessing to life; participation in '9 Days' urged

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message of support for the March for Life in Washington, a Vatican official
praised “the tens of thousands” of participants for their witness to the “value
of every human life” and for upholding the dignity of life from conception to
natural death.

“You give witness to the
world of your understanding of the value of every human life and of your
commitment to welcome, nurture, protect and integrate every human life from the
first moment of conception until natural death,” said Archbishop Vincenzo
Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

He made the remarks in a
statement dated Jan. 19, the day of this year’s march, and addressed to March
for Life officials. It also was sent to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of
Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington; and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of
Arlington, Virginia.

In a Jan. 16 statement,
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-life
Activities, urged Catholics and others across the country to get involved in
the “9 Days for Life” prayer and Action Campaign Jan. 18-26.

“Our prayers matter,” he
said. The campaign’s website is

“We bring many needs to
God this month, including care for displaced persons, racial harmony, Christian
unity and the protection of all human life,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Every
prayer matters, and if you can’t start at the beginning, jump in when you

“9 Days for Life” is the
U.S. bishops’ annual, pro-life prayer and action campaign surrounding the
anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v.
Bolton that legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

The overarching intention
of novena at the center of the event is the end to abortion, and each day
treats a different aspect of respecting the dignity of the human person — from
the beginning of life to its natural end.

This year, as part of the Catholic Church’s “Share the
Journey” campaign supporting displaced persons, one day addresses human
trafficking, something migrants and refugees are particularly at risk of

Participants can make a
“digital pilgrimage.” They are encouraged to build “a culture of life” through
prayer and action and by sharing their experiences on social media with the
hashtags #9DaysforLife and #OurPrayersMatter. There also is a Facebook frame
participants can use on their profile picture to show their support for life.

In his letter, Archbishop Paglia assured March for Life attendees of
his prayers “for the fruitfulness of your undertaking that is so filled with
love.” He was certain that on Jan. 19 in particular “you will have the
blessings and grateful prayers of all the innocent lives for whom you have,
over so many years, cared and struggled.”

Archbishop Paglia recalled
his own participation in the march “one very cold January day more than 20
years ago.”

He added: “I join with
Cardinal Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Burbidge of Arlington, with all my
brother Catholic and Orthodox bishops in the United States, and with all the
members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, in honoring what you do
and who you are, and in encouraging you always to remember the love that God
has for you his “good and faithful servants.”

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