NEW YORK (CNS) — 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 18th annual declaration by the New York-based organization.

“Our message is powerful and prophetic: Pray for the end of abortion and all acts of violence and hate in our communities,” said a statement announcing the observance.

“Go tell it in our neighborhoods, churches, schools, on our streets … everywhere. Abortion is not an option but life is. Acts of violence are not options but goodness and mercy are. We are expecting miracles.”

Franciscan Father James E. Goode, founder and president of the apostolate, released the statement on behalf of the organization and its National Board of Consultants, said the month has been placed at the feet of Mary and St. Joseph.

More about the observance and the apostolate can be found at

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

“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 priest said the apostolate also sought “the heavenly assistance” of St. Martin de Porres, patron of black Catholics; St. Josephine Bakhita; and four others who are candidates for sainthood: Father Augustus Tolton; the first African-American diocesan priest; Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence; Mother Henriette Delille, foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans; and Pierre Toussaint, who was brought to New York as a slave and later became a well-known philanthropist. The last two listed have been declared venerable.

“Family of God, come join us as we give witness to God’s gift of life, and pray for the end of the abortion and all acts of violence and hate,” it beckoned.