Knights’ Respect Life Month novena urges prayer, reflection on cause of life

Pro-life advocates participate in a 40 Days for Life vigil near the entrance to a Planned Parenthood center in Smithtown, N.Y., March 19, 2020. “Live the Gospel of Life” is the U.S. bishops’ theme for Respect Life Month in October, drawn from St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical, “The Gospel of Life” (“Evangelium Vitae”). (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Catholic News Service

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Knights of Columbus has organized a “Novena for the Cause of Life” to be prayed over the nine days from Oct. 4 to Oct. 12 during the U.S. Catholic Church’s annual observance of October as Respect Life Month.

“Live the Gospel of Life” is this year’s theme for the month, prompted by commemorations of the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “The Gospel of Life” (“Evangelium Vitae”), which was issued March 25, 1995.

The Knights novena begins on Respect Life Sunday, which is Oct. 4 this year. The full novena can be found on the Knights website at

Each day has a quote from Pope Francis on some aspect of the sanctity of life. Novena participants are asked to reflect on the quote and then pray a decade of the rosary, concluding with a prayer by St. John Paul from his encyclical, which begins: O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life.”

“The cause of life is today’s preeminent priority, as Pope Francis indicated when meeting with the US bishops in January,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said Sept. 22 in a statement announcing the novena.

“The Knights wish to join all Catholics in prayer with Pope Francis for an end to abortion, euthanasia and the many social ills that bring illness, broken families, unhappiness and premature death, especially for the vulnerable” he said. “The theme of this year’s national observance, ‘Live the Gospel of Life,’ says that, with Christ, we are meant to enjoy and foster life, the gift of being fully alive.”

Anderson also touched on the toll taken on this country by COVID-19 and the ongoing turmoil in the over racial injustices and other issues in an election year.

“In 2020, we have lost lives due to the coronavirus pandemic and endured civil unrest,” he said. “As the year enters its final months, we are prompted to pray more and with greater vigor that hearts may be more open to life in all of its stages.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed new parish resources around the theme of “Living the Gospel of Life” for Respect Life Month that are available at

“Pope John Paul’s masterfully articulated defense of the right to life for children in their mothers’ wombs, the elderly, persons with disabilities and the marginalized is more relevant today than ever before,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a Sept. 24 statement.

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