National Night Of Prayer For Life Bodes To Be Biggest Ever

(Note: This article, speaking of the 1997 National Night of Prayer, is posted as an encouragement to take part in this observance each year on the night of December 8 in parishes across the country. If you are a priest, please plan for your parish to participate; if you are not, please consider bringing this article to your priests to encourage them to get the parish involved. --Fr. Frank Pavone)

By Henry V. King

CENTRAL ISLIP, NY Fighting the scourge of abortion with prayer and eucharistic adoration under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholics from all parts of America will again kneel in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for four hours, starting at 9 p.m. on Dec. 8th, until 1 a.m. on Dec. 9th. This will be the eighth annual National Night of Prayer for Life.

The four hours, coinciding with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and extending one hour into Dec. 9th to mark the day in 1531 when Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared in Mexico to Blessed Juan Diego, will be observed to atone for "the senseless slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent preborn babies each year in the United States."

With parishes signing on at an impressive early clip, there are expectations for another record breaking turnout, according to Anne Murphy. The widowed mother of four children, Mrs. Murphy founded and heads the all volunteer enterprise.

At deadline, Mrs. Murphy reported to The Wanderer that there were 192 churches and three cathedrals already lined up to participate in a night of prayer. The event, in addition to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will feature recitation of 15 decades of the rosary, special prayers, and, in most parishes, benediction.

Last year's nationwide night of worship, with Our Lady of Guadalupe designated as special intercessor, saw a record 695 parishes from Maine to Alaska participate. All told, churches in 46 states and the District of Columbia took part in 1996, as did 11 parishes in Canada.

St. Thomas More Cathedral in the Diocese of Arlington, Va. will again open its doors for eucharistic adoration. So will Epiphany Cathedral in Bishop John J. Nevins' Diocese of Venice, Fla., and St. Agnes Cathedral in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

In the Rockville Centre Diocese, Mrs. Murphy's home territory, each pastor is being asked by Bishop John R. McGann's Respect Life Office "to consider keeping your churches open so these faithful pro-life people may worship." In 1996, 51 churches in the two county Long Island diocese participated in the special services.

From Lincoln, Neb., Greg Schleppenbach, director of the Bishop's Plan for Pro-Life Activities, sent word that parishes in all three dioceses in the Cornhusker State - Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island - will be highlight special night of prayer.

One outstanding parish already on board for Dec. 8th-9th is the Redemptorist St. Gerard's Church in Lima, 0., where last year 150 persons, according to pro-life director Clementine dePalma, stayed long and late to pray with Fr. Dennis Sweeney and two fellow Redemptorist priests.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington, N.J., will again be a leading participating shrine.

Mrs. Murphy also has pledges from nearly a score of parishes that will take part for the first time. These include St. Joseph's Church in West St. Paul, Minn.; Holy Trinity in Westmont, Ill.; St. Joseph's Church in Shawnee, Kans.; St. Patrick's Church in Cleveland, 0.: St. Francis Xavier Church in Moundsville, W.Va.; St. Mary's Church in Charlotte, Mich.; St. John's Church in Lancaster, Pa.; and St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville, NY

Again helping to boost participation in the Nationwide Night of Prayer for Life is Fr. Frank Pavone, the Holy Father's worldwide prolife leader. Fr. Pavone in a recent memo to several hundred U.S. prolifers urged that they "keep working and praying to assist our nation to a greater awareness of the hideousness of abortions, and to reject them."

To promote night of prayer devotion in their parishes, Catholics are urged to contact their pastors and their friends and relatives. Later, they should press for announcements from the altar, and notices in parish leaflets and bulletins. For further information, Mrs. Murphy may be contacted by phoning 516-234-6921, or by writing to her at 365 Clift St., Central Islip, NY 11722.

in 1996, in addition to cathedrals in the Dioceses of Arlington Venice, and Rockville Centre, worshipers were welcomed in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville, Tenn.; Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Tyler, Texas; St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral in La Crosse, Wis.; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Rapid City, S.D.; and St. Agnes Cathedra in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Mo., Diocese.

Priests for Life
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