WASHINGTON – For Catholics in the United States, Jan. 22 is a day of penance and prayer in commemoration of the Roe v. Wade decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on that date in 1973.
The 7-2 court decision, which was effectively overturned last year, established a constitutional right to abortion.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373, states: “In all the dioceses of the United States of America, Jan. 22 … shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.”
In addition to prayer, Catholics should perform an act of penance, such as abstinence from eating meat or fasting.