WASHINGTON – The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from Thursday afternoon, January 18 to Friday morning, January 19, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Over 20,000 pilgrims from around the nation will pray there for an end to abortion before the annual March for Life. The Vigil marks the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 58 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.
The principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Opening Mass will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. His fellow cardinals and many of the nation’s bishops and priests will concelebrate with him in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Vigil continues overnight in the Crypt Church with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Byzantine Rite Night Prayer, and Holy Hours led by seminarians from across the country from 11 p.m.- 6 a.m.
“This year, pilgrims have been given a special spiritual gift. A plenary indulgence. . . may be obtained under the usual conditions by participating in the National Prayer Vigil for Life or the other sacred celebrations surrounding the March for Life,” said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).