Novena: Pray for an end to abortion and violence against children

Bishop Jaime Soto
Bishop of Sacramento, CA
December 19, 2009

I invite the Catholic community in the Diocese of Sacramento to pray the Novena to the Holy Innocents. Let us together pray this novena starting on Dec. 19 and continuing up to Dec. 28.

The novena has three intentions:  

For the President of the United States, all other elected officials and judges that they would recognize the humanity of every pre-born child and enact laws to defend them.

For our own conversion and that of others so that all would recognize and defend the life and dignity of the unborn.

Finally, that all innocent children, who are victimized in any way, would experience God’s love and mercy.

In these days celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus, we recognize how God’s choice to send his son gave us life and bestowed a new dignity on the human person. In the Gospel according to Matthew, King Herod saw the birth of Christ as a threat and chose to turn his fearful wrath against all the young children of Bethlehem. These innocent martyrs are honored on Dec. 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The suffering of the Holy Innocents and the wailing of their families still echo in our world today. The practice of abortion springs from the same desperate fear that embittered the heart of Herod. Blind social indifference can ignore the cry of children and their mothers who suffer from the other scourges of war, poverty, abuse and neglect.

Christ shines the light of hope on all humanity. His love for us gives us the hope to overcome the fear and violence that perpetuate violence against children. We pray that this light might shine in the hearts and minds of all Americans so that we truly recognize and rejoice in the gift of human life.  Inspired by the hope that Christ gives, may we commit ourselves to protect and nurture all children.

Novena to the Holy Innocents

Heavenly Father,

By their wordless profession of faith in your Son, the Holy Innocents were given a martyr’s crown in the early days after the Savior’s birth. Knowing how precious they are to you we call on them to join in our prayer for an end to abortion and all forms of violence against children:

That the President of the United States, all other elected officials and judges may come to acknowledge the humanity of every child in the womb and to enact laws and policies to defend them, we pray: Lord, hear our prayer.

That everyone throughout the world may be given the light to see beyond all doubt the full humanity and unique value of every child who has ever been conceived, we pray: Lord, hear our prayer.

That all innocent children who suffer the scourges of war, the wrath of abuse, and the pain of neglect may come to know the power of God’s prevailing love and healing mercy, we pray:  Lord, hear our prayer.

For these intentions and in union with the Holy Innocents, we pray as the Lord Jesus taught us: “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

Pray this novena for nine consecutive days any time of the year. Since the Feast of the Holy Innocents is celebrated on Dec. 28, it would be most appropriate to pray this novena beginning on Dec. 19 so as to conclude the day before their feast. (Cf. Matthew 2:13-18)

Imprimatur: (2009) Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento

Novena a los Santos Inocentes

Padre Celestial,

Por su profesión de fe sin palabras en tu Hijo, los santos inocentes fueron dotados con la corona del martirio días después del nacimiento de nuestro Salvador. Sabiendo lo preciado que ellos son para ti, acudimos a ellos para que se unan a nuestros ruegos para que culmine el aborto y todo tipo de violencia en contra de los niños:

Para que el Presidente de los Estados Unidos, funcionarios y jueces reconozcan la humanidad de cada niño en el vientre materno y así puedan decretar leyes y políticas para defenderlos, oremos: Señor, escucha nuestra oración.

Para que todos en el mundo entero puedan ver la luz a pesar de tanta duda y reconocer en ella la humanidad completa del ser humano y el valor único de cada niño que ha sido concebido, oremos: Señor, escucha nuestra oración.

Para que todos los niños que han sufrido los azotes de la guerra, la ira del abuso, y el dolor del descuido lleguen a conocer el poder del amor predominante y misericordioso de Dios, oremos: Señor, escucha nuestra oración.

Por estas intenciones en unión con los Santos Inocentes, oramos con las palabras que Nuestro Señor nos ha enseñado: “Padre Nuestro, que estas en el cielo…”

Reza esta novena durante nueve días consecutivos durante el año. Debido a que el Día de los Santos Inocentes se celebra el 28 de diciembre, sería más apropiado comenzar el rezo de esta novena el día 19 de diciembre para incluir el día anterior a su celebración.

(Cf. Mateo 2:13-18)


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