WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A day before the Jan. 19 March for Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is launching what it calls a virtual pilgrimage through the "9 Days for Life" event, asking Catholics and people of goodwill to participate, in person or via social media, in a variety of prayers.
"We're calling it a digital pilgrimage for life, of prayer and action, focusing on cherishing the gift of human life," said Anne McGuire, USCCB assistant director for education and outreach.
The centerpiece of the event is a novena, a nine-day series of prayers and devotions, highlighting a different intention each day. The overarching intention of the novena is an end to abortion, said McGuire.
"Every day has its own intention, reflection, (suggested) action that people can take," McGuire said. Intentions will include end-of-life care, human trafficking, healing after abortion, the death penalty and other life issues.
The idea behind the prayers is to take a journey together as the March for Life begins and to keep focused on its goals after it's over, she said.
"It's both for pilgrims who are moving and traveling (to the March for Life in Washington or another location) as well as a journey that we're all taking together to deepen our relationship with God within the context of life issues," she told Catholic News Service. "It's not a matter of stepping up on one particular day. It's a matter of approaching (this) year-round."
It also encourages participants to take part via social media, making use of Facebook tools, such as frames, to show participation in the March for Life or the "9 Days for Life" event Jan. 18-26. During the nine days falls the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children Jan. 22, which marks the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
The "9 Days" website also provides a list of social media tools for participants and leaders as well as English- and Spanish-language hashtags to use with posted content. These and include: #9daysforlife, #ourprayersmatter, #9diasporlavida, #Nuestrasoracionescuentan.
The intentions and other information on the event can be found at www.9daysforlife.com.