Priests can mobliize their congregation for pro-life prayer and action by doing the following:
1) Offer Masses for Pro-life intentions. This can either be a "special event" or a regularly scheduled Mass, the intention of which relates to pro-life.
2) Establish a pro-life prayer group in the parish, dedicated specifically to prayers and teachings on the value of human life.
3) Offer Pro-life holy hours, Rosaries, Scripture Services. Priests for Life provides some devotional materials.
4) Promote the Be Not Afraid Family Holy Hours. For information, contact the Apostolate for Family Consecration, 3375 County Rd.36 Bloomingdale, OH 43910 Phone: 1-800-77-FAMILY.
5) Preach frequently on abortion, both by entire homilies on the topic and by reference to it in other homilies.
6) Include mention of abortion in the General Intercessions at Mass.
7) Place inserts into the bulletin about pro-life. These can be full-page inserts that can be given to the bulletin company in advance, or short (1-3 line) messages. These are available from Priests for Life. You can order a free monthly pro-life insert for your bulletin, which will be sent to you camera-ready. Call American Life League at 540-659-4171 and ask for the "Pro-life Bulletin Board."
8) Present pro-life topics in Bible Study, RCIA, meetings for school parents, marriage preparation, instructions for sponsors, etc.
9) Invite pro-life speakers to make presentations at meetings which people are required to attend, such as those for the parents of school or CCD children.
10) Have special educational evenings with speakers and/or videos.
11) Have a "Life Mission" with a guest speaker/workshops for several days.
12) Use the parish bookrack to make good pro-life literature, books and audios available.
13) Use parish bulletin boards inside and outside the Church to convey a pro-life message. Set up a permanent pro-life sign on the property.
14) Make pro-life resources (Precious Feet Pins, Bumper stickers and Buttons, Pro-life Bank checks at www.LifeChecks.com or www.ProLifeChecks.com, etc.) available to the parishioners. You can get order information from Priests for Life (888-PFL-3448 or 321-500-1000)
15) Add the words "born and pre-born" to the Pledge of Allegiance when it is recited in the schools and at other functions.
16) Sponsor a pro-life essay/poster contest among the children of the school and CCD programs. Display winning posters in the school or in the Church vestibule, and print winning essays in the bulletin.
17) Have readily available at all times concrete information about alternatives to abortion. Place one of more of these numbers on the cover of your parish bulletin as a standard item. Get this information to women in need, to local doctors, and to the secular press. Some of the national hotlines ready to help women anywhere in the country are:
CRISIS PREGNANCY HELPLINE 1-888-4-OPTIONS
PREGNANCY HOTLINE 1-800-848-LOVE
BETHANY CHRISTIAN SERVICES 1-800-238-4269
NURTURING NETWORK 1-800-TNN-4MOM
SEVERAL SOURCES FOUNDATION 1-800-NO-ABORT
AMERICA’S CRISIS PREGNANCY HELPLINE 800-67-BABY-6
GOOD COUNSEL HOMES 800 723-8331(Answering machine for this number after business hours.)
18) Have information available on post-abortion healing programs like Project Rachel. Call 414-483-4141 or 1-800-5-WE-CARE.
19) Bring people out for a Life Chain or peaceful prayer vigil on the street or at an abortion mill.
20) Encourage a parish pro-life committee to form and grow. Give it constant encouragement.
21) Commission the pro-life committee at a special liturgy. Priests for Life provides a suggested prayer for such a commissioning.
22) Read good books and periodicals on the issue, consult with experts, and take advantage of resources provided by the local diocesan pro-life office, the Bishops' office for pro-life activities, and Priests for Life.
23) Have a plaque or monument erected in memory of the children in the community who died from abortion. Have a school yearbook dedicated to those killed by abortion.
24) Establish some sort of memorial to mothers who have been killed by their abortion. A list of the names of some of these women is available either in printout or poster form. Contact Priests for Life for information.
25) Call for special parish days of voluntary prayer and fasting to end abortion.
26) Establish a parish pro-life newsletter for the parish or community.
27) Participate as a parish in the National Night of Prayer, held each December across the country to pray for an increased respect for life.
28) Take part in The Gabriel Project, a pastoral program whereby the local parish directly assists pregnant mothers. Contact Priests for Life for more information.
PRO-LIFE ACTION ITEMS BY SEVERAL PRIESTS
1) Review the current pro-life programs of the diocese and discuss ways to foster them.
2) Plan regular pro-life holy hours and/or masses to be held in a different parish each time, and promote each one in all the parishes of a given area.
3) Have an annual deanery/vicariate/diocesan pro-life Mass, with all the pro-life groups of the area represented. Pro-lifers can have a chance to socialize with each other after the Mass.
4) Plan educational evenings with a pro-life speaker. Draw on the population of a group of parishes, vigorously promoting it in each one. Then, at the meeting, have key pro-life leaders from each parish share what they learned in their own parish. A video of the talk can be made and duplicated for the parishes. Similarly, audio taped or written summaries for the bulletin can carry the message to those who did not attend.
5) Have an area-wide collection of baby and maternity items to assist a local crisis pregnancy center. Use this project as an opportunity to spread the word through Christian and secular channels that alternatives to abortion are available to the local community. Make sure every priest in your area has the phone number of the local crisis pregnancy center handy.
6) Have a Life Chain or march, with participation from many parishes. Consult the Priests for Life manual, "Our Media is the Streets."
7) Arrange pro-life luncheons to encourage more clergy to be active in the pro-life movement and to have local pro-life groups explain their activities.
8) Issue a joint statement on pro-life concerns to the local secular press. Such a statement from a body of priests shows unity in the Church and encourages the laity.
9) Combine local resources to rent a billboard carrying a pro-life message and a phone number for local alternatives to abortion. A paid newspaper ad can also reach women in need.
10) Speak with one voice to the local community by deciding to publish certain items jointly in the parish bulletin at various times.
11) Erect a local monument to the babies who have died from abortion. This serves to remind the public that abortion takes real human lives, and also assists mothers to grieve for their lost children.
12)Celebrate regional memorial Masses for the unborn, and Masses for hope and healing for women who have lost their child through abortion or in other ways. Special opportunities for penance can also be provided.
13) Have discussions among the clergy about homily ideas on pro-life concerns.
14) Arrange for pro-life retreats and days of recollection for both clergy and laity.
15) In individual parishes or jointly, sponsor the Rosary for Life. Have parishioners commit to pray the full rosary once a week for an end to abortion.
16) In individual parishes or jointly, sponsor the Spiritual Adoption of Mother and Baby. In this program, parishioners promise to pray every day for nine months for a mother and her pre-born baby. Each month an update of the preborn baby's development can be given in the bulletin. At the end of the nine months, a baby shower can be sponsored.
17) Enlist the prayers and sufferings of the sick, the elderly, and the homebound. There is no such thing as a purely passive member of the Body of Christ or of the pro-life movement!
18) Produce a local cable TV program on a pro-life theme.
For more information or to send us your own ideas, please contact: Fr. Frank A. Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life