These Respect Life action guides* focus on providing parish resources that are easy to use, actionable, and ready-to-go. The materials are designed to complement existing parish life and manifest that the Gospel of life is part of the very fabric of the Gospel itself.

Liturgical celebrations and other annual calendar occasions provide natural opportunities to help build a culture of life. The action guides are structured around five main calendar occasions to help leaders take advantage of opportunities to highlight and integrate Respect Life themes throughout the year: ​

  1. January 22: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children and related events

  2. March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

  3. April: Divine Mercy Sunday

  4. May: Mother’s Day

  5. October: Respect Life Month

*These five action guides, originally developed as part of the 2019 Respect Life Program, are in the process of being updated with minimal changes for perennial use and will be posted on this page as they become available. The 2019 action guides can be found in the 2019 Respect Life Resource Guide

What is an action guide?

Each action guide focuses on a specific occasion that relates to respect for human life and gives natural opportunities for building a culture that protects, cherishes, and celebrates life. The guides feature tools to help you build such a culture in your own parish or school. They contain sample timelines, “simple steps,” activities, sample announcements, sample intercessions, and homily helps. Each contains ways to help you integrate your efforts into regular programming, so as to reach the greatest number of people in a given parish, school, or ministry—all without having to plan separate events. (Although, ideas for separate events are also included).

Who are the action guides for?

While the action guides have been developed primarily with parishes in mind, they also offer ideas for adaptation for use in schools, ministries, and even by families at home. These action guides can be used by diocesan, parish, school, and ministry staff and volunteers, as well as anyone who desires to build a culture of life in their particular faith community.

How do I use these action guides?

The action guides are intended to help you integrate respect for human life into your respective work and/or ministries. While dates and general timelines are often provided, they are only included as suggestions. You're welcome to use any of the ideas and activities included in the action guides at any time. 


While suggested action steps are provided, you are encouraged to adapt each guide as needed to best serve your parish, school, or ministry. When implementing these action guides, always remember to follow local policies and procedures, especially regarding safe environment and health guidelines. If you have any questions about local policies, consult your diocese, parish, school, or ministry staff. 


The provided action guides are meant to serve as basic frameworks and jumping off points for your own creative ideas. Don’t be afraid to make these plans and activities your own. We’d love to see how you use the action guides. Let us know what you’re doing by emailing, or tag us on Facebook (USCCB Respect Life) or Twitter (@usccbprolife).


Thank you for your dedication to building a culture in which every human life is cherished!

Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates January 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides resources to help parishes, schools, families, ministries, and individual Catholics participate in this important day of prayer and penance. 

January Action Guide

The following resources are contained in the full January action guide (available as a Word or PDF file): an introduction, "Simple Steps," a sample timeline, sample announcements, sample intercessions, homily helps, and a sample activity. All components are also available as individual PDF files.

Parish Webinar

In this introductory webinar, USCCB staff walks through the website and materials available, explaining how the available tools can help parish communities share the Gospel of life in January.

Additional Resources


©2020 by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.