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Order for the Blessing of Pro-Life Pilgrims Before Their Departure for the March for Life in Washington, D.C.


(This may be used for any related pilgrimage.)

Gathering Song(One of the following or another appropriate song is sung, or Psalm 122 may be recited.)

Anthem, G2, GC, GP2
Let All Things Now Living, GC, W3
Nada Te Turbe, FC
Pescador De Hombre/Lord, When You Came, BB, FC, GC, GP2,
O God, Our Help In Ages Past, BB, CE, GC, LM, W, W3,
Take Christ to the World, BB, GP2,
We Shall Overcome, GC, GP2, LM

Key: BB=Breaking Bread (1998); CE=Celebrating the Eucharist (Liturgical Press); FC=Flor y Cantos; G2=Gather (blue); GC=Gather Comprehensive; GP2=Glory and Praise 2; LM=Lead Me, Guide Me; W=Worship II; W3=Worship III

Introductory Rites

Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Assembly: Amen.

Leader: May God, our life, our strength, and our salvation be with you all.
Assembly: And also with you.

Leader: Sisters and brothers, as we set out on this journey, let us reflect upon the reasons for this undertaking. Let our desire for justice and dignity for all human life strengthen our resolve. May we be examples of faith, of hope, and of love, so that others may be strengthened and enriched by our presence among them. May the Lord remain with us and guide our steps along right and peaceful ways during this journey.

Reading of the Word of God

Reader: A reading from the book of Tobit (5:4-8; 6:7):

Tobit went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media. As soon as he went out, he found the angel Raphael standing before him, "Who are you, young man?" He replied, "I am an Israelite, one of your kinsmen. I have come here to work." Tobiah said, "Do you know the way to Media?" The other replied: "Yes, I have been there many times. I know the place well and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media; I used to stay with our kinsman Gabel, who lives at Rages in Media. Tobiah said to him, "Wait for me, young man, till I go back and tell my father, for I need you to make the journey with me." Raphael replied,"Very well, I will wait for you; but do not be long." Afterward they traveled together till they were near Media.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 91:1-6, 10-11

God has put his angels in charge of you,
to guard you in all your ways.

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
say to the Lord, "My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust."

God will rescue you from the fowler's snare,
from the destroying plague,
Will shelter you with pinions,
spread wings that you may take refuge;
God's faithfulness is a protecting shield.

You shall not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the plague that ravages at noon.

No evil shall befall you,
no affliction come near your tent.
For God commands the angels
to guard you in all your ways.

(The Antiphon is repeated)


Leader: God is the beginning and end of every road we take. In confidence we call upon him, saying:

Assembly: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Loving God, of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protection as we begin this journey, so that we may return home again in safety. We pray:

You gave us your only Son as our way to you; make us follow without faltering wherever he may lead. We pray:

You guide your pilgrim Church on earth through the Holy Spirit; may we seek you in all things and walk always in the way of your commandments. We pray:

You gave us Mary as the image and model for following Christ; grant that through her example we may live a new life. We pray:

You lead us along right and peaceful paths; grant that we may one day see you face to face in heaven. We pray:

Prayer of Blessing

(The Leader and/or those of the parish community who are sending the group forth are invited to
extend their hands in a gesture of blessing.)

Leader: All powerful God,
You always show mercy to those who love you and you are never far away for those who seek you. Remain with your servants on this journey and guide their way in accord with your will. Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night, and, as their companion on the journey, bring them to their destination in safety.1

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Assembly: Amen.

Concluding Rite

Leader: May the Lord guide us (you) and direct our (your) journey in safety.
Assembly: Amen.

Leader: May the Lord be our (your) companion along the way.
Assembly: Amen.

Leader: May the Lord grant that the journey we (you) begin, will end happily through his protection.2
Assembly: Amen.

(It is preferable to conclude the celebration with an appropriate song.)

Order of Blessing for Pro-Life Pilgrims as they Return from the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Introductory Rite

Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Assembly: Who made heaven and earth.
Lector: A reading from the book of Tobit (12:6-7)

Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: "Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all people honor and proclaim God's deeds, and do not slack in praising him. A king's secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of the God are to be declared and made known. Praise them with due honor. Do good, and evil will not find its
way to you."

Leader: All-powerful and ever-living God, when Tobit set out on his journey, you sent your angel Raphael to guide and protect him. Protect us, who also are your servants: walk by our side to help us; be our companion and our strength on the road, and our refuge in every adversity. Lead us, O Lord, so that we will reach our destination in safety and happily return to our homes.3

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Assembly: Amen.


1. Book of Blessings, approved for use in the Diocese of the United States of America by National Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Apostolic See. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1989. Chapter 8: Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims. "Intercessions"; and "Prayer of Blessing," [602; 603], 262-263.
2. Ibid., [604], p. 264
3. Adapted from Book of Blessing, Chapter 9: Order for the Blessing of Travelers, "Prayer of Blessing," [632], p. 277

Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3070

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