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:
January 22: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children and related events
March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
April: Divine Mercy Sunday
May: Mother’s Day
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
JANUARY ACTION GUIDE
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.
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.
Covid-19 Considerations and Adaptations (January 2021)
Word of Life: January 2021
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Choices of Readings for Mass on January 22
9 Days for Life: Homepage
9 Days for Life: Novena
9 Days for Life: Graphics, Flyer & More
Living Out Christmas in the New Year
Setting Up a Display Table
Order for the Blessing of Pro-Life Pilgrims
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
In modern times, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord has taken on special meaning in Respect Life ministry. Scientific advances have allowed us to confirm that human life begins at conception. This solemnity calls us to reflect on how we are to care for, protect, and welcome new life, as the Blessed Mother did for the Christ child.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation also coincides with the anniversary of the papal encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life). This Church teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life remains an indispensable source of truth for all people. Written by Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium vitae was appropriately given in Rome on this feast on March 25, 1995.
Annunciation Action Guide
The following resources are contained in the full Annunciation action guide: an introduction, "Simple Steps," a sample timeline, sample announcements, sample intercessions, homily helps, and a sample activity.
In this introductory webinar, USCCB staff walk through the website and materials available, explaining how the tools can help parish communities share the Gospel of life through the observance of the Solemnity of the Annunciation.