NEW YORK –– The National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life has declared the month of June to be Abortion and All Acts of Violence Awareness Month.

It is the 15th annual declaration by the New York-based organization. “Wake Up, Rise Up and Do Something” is the theme for this year’s observance.

Therese Wilson Favors and Franciscan Father James E. Goode, representing the apostolate’s board of consultants, announced the observance May 31, the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

They called on black Catholics “to actively raise their consciousness regarding the evil of abortion and acts of violence within our community.”

Throughout the month and the rest of the summer, Wilson Favors said, “all black Catholic parishes are encouraged to make a sincere effort to pray the ‘Prayer for Life’ during the prayer of the faithful at all their Masses.”

The text of the prayer can be found at The site has other information about the observance as well as a catechetical reflection by Wilson Favors, who is director of the Baltimore Archdiocese’s Office of African American Catholic Ministries.

June was chosen because it is the month of the Sacred Heart, according to Father Goode, founder and president of the apostolate.

“As black Catholics, we will not lighten up as we boldly call our people and our communities to end the evil of abortion and all acts of violence that destroy human life,” stated the priest, who also ministers in the Archdiocese of New York.

The apostolate also suggested black Catholic parishes “gather our young people to discuss strategies and avenues of peace and the culture for Life; organize discussion groups on the evil of abortion and all acts of violence; and call forth our elders to evaluate and shape efforts of outreach and mentor our young people.”

“Together let us defend the sacredness of all human life,” it said.