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Prayer Vigil for Life

January 28, 2021 - January 29, 2021

Catholics across the country are encouraged to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Thursday, Jan. 28 to Friday, Jan. 29, marking the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, more than 60 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

Each January, the National Prayer Vigil for Life is hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry to pray for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life.

Typically, thousands of pilgrims attend the vigil in person each year. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the basilica will not be open to the public for the 2021 vigil. In response, this year – for the first time — in addition to the televised Mass, bishops in dioceses across the country will be taking turns leading livestreamed holy hours every hour on the hour throughout the all-night vigil.

The vigil will begin with a live broadcast at 8 p.m. Jan. 28 from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. with a rosary, followed by Mass opening the National Prayer Vigil for Life. The principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, who is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. After the Mass and throughout the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be broadcast on the USCCB’s website. The vigil concludes at 8 a.m. Jan. 29 with Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.

“Now, more than ever, our nation is in need of prayer for the protection of the unborn and the dignity of all human life,” said Archbishop Naumann. “I am happy to be joined by bishops in dioceses across the country who are hosting pro-life prayer events, including during the overnight hours of Eucharistic adoration. I invite all Catholics to spend time with Our Lord and join in this nationwide vigil for life.”

Below is the schedule of the 2021 National Prayer Vigil for Life. All times are in Eastern Time.

Thursday, Jan. 28

  • 8 p.m. — National Rosary for Life
  • 8:30 p.m. — Opening Mass with Archbishop Naumann
  • 9:45 p.m. — Holy Hour for Life
  • 11 p.m. — Livestream of holy hours throughout the night

Friday, Jan. 29

  • About 8 a.m. — Closing Mass with Archbishop Lori

The live television broadcasts 8-11 p.m. Jan. 28 and 8-9 a.m. Jan. 298 will be provided by the Eternal Word Television Network and will also be available via livestream on the Basilica’s website. Livestreaming information for the overnight bishop-led holy hours from various dioceses will be provided on the USCCB’s website.


January 28, 2021
January 29, 2021
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