The National Night of Prayer for Life held on Dec. 8/9 has been celebrated in hundreds of parishes across the nation and this year marks its 31st anniversary praying to convert America’s heart to cherish Life. This program began 30 years ago on Long Island in the Diocese of Rockville Centre as a grass-roots endeavor spearheaded by founder Anne Murphy to expand the “Adoration for Life” devotion taking place in several local parishes at the time.The National Night of Prayer for Life is now operating within St. Francis of Assisi parish in Greenlawn, New York.

In 1989, Anne and a core group of pro-life Catholics developed a four-hour adoration service dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The founders are convinced that it was through Our Lady’s intercession that a national mailing list was developed to launch the NATIONAL NIGHT OF PRAYER FOR LIFE as it currently exists. The activity extended far beyond Long Island and eventually reached from the East to the West coast covering most of the continental United States and all four time zones. Hawaii, Alaska, and various foreign nations also participate. Today, over 700 parishes and organizations have formally reported their participation to pray that our nation renew its commitment to live the Gospel of Life.

Many people have asked, “What is the special significance of this apostolate and why is the four-hour period begun on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, December 8?” It was on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (then celebrated on Dec. 9), that Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the Unborn, first appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. The NATIONAL NIGHT OF PRAYER FOR LIFE bridges these two feasts to honor Our Blessed Mother and to invoke her intercession in bringing about a profound love for all human life, especially the innocent Unborn. It should also be noted that the U.S. was consecrated to Our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception by the American Bishops in the 19th century. Under this title, she is the patroness of our nation. As mentioned, Our Lady of Guadalupe is Patroness of all the Americas and is special Patroness of the Unborn as she appears with Our Lord in Her Holy Womb, the only apparition of Our Lady with her Unborn Son.

One very important feature of the Night of Prayer is the HOUR OF UNITY at 12:00 midnight (EST-USA). At that hour all four American time zones are united in prayer. What a hopeful sign, to see thousands of Americans, from coast to coast, on their knees in supplication to Our Lord through His Holy Mother, to have mercy on our country and to enkindle a new love and respect for God’s greatest gift---Life!!!! In that way, it is hoped that a new era of Life, Light, Hope, and Peace will be granted to our nation and world. For sure Our Lord and His Holy Mother will look kindly on a nation united in prayer to further His Kingdom and live His Divine Will!!! All are encouraged to invite others to participate in this Life-Giving Apostolate.