We bear the image of God’s Glory, in every shape and hue. In Evangelium Vitae , we are called “to respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life. Each life is a gift from God and ultimately belongs to him. He has sole authority over life and death. We are therefore called to reverence and love every human person, loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is our responsibility to care for and protect human life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable among us,” often the elderly and the unborn.
October is Respect Life Month, with resources to help . As Individuals, as a family, and as a parish, we can grow as People of Life through the four suggested pillars of prayer, education, service, and advocacy. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose a few suggestions or add your own to apply this month, and may the glorious truth of your own inherent dignity and worth sink deeply into your heart.
Begin with this foundation. How am I living the Gospel of Life? Do I recognize the incomparable dignity of every person and treat them with respect? Do I remember I am made in God’s Image? How can I pray to be a person of life?
Include a regular petition in the prayers of the faithful for the sanctity of every life from conception to natural death and those in the margins. Pray these prayers with your children at meals.
Sign up for an hour vigil during this fall 40 Days for Life Campaign . Pray to show God’s love and mercy to those entering the abortion facility and for an end to abortion.
Pray a Novena to St. Gianna Beretta Molla , physician, wife and mother, powerful patron for pregnant and parenting mothers during this pandemic; living through the Spanish Influenza, which took the lives of three siblings. She also struggled with a challenging medical diagnosis during pregnancy.
Offer a Rosary, Holy Hour or Mass to thank God for the gift of life, for the courage to speak up for the most vulnerable and for the strength to commit to building a culture of life.
Create a Life Matters Column in your bulletin and highlight various life issues throughout the year.
Racism is one such prolife issue because it attacks human life. Resources to help us combat this sin include Open Wide our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love , A Pastoral Letter against Racism 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops write, “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue. Accordingly, we will not cease to speak forcefully against and work toward ending racism”. Small groups in the parish or together with another family to study this letter and discuss would work very well.
Another great small group parish study that will be available soon is the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities materials on Evangelium vitae, including the Gospel of Life compendium and study guide exploring our Gospel call to bring help and hope to those on the peripheries.
Mercy in Action
What are the greatest needs in your parish to offer concrete support that upholds the dignity of life? Perhaps a diaper drive for the pregnancy help center or parish clothes closet, clean warm socks for the homeless or prison ministry, yard cleanup for the elderly, or homemade cards for your local nursing home.
Sign up for the Michigan Catholic Conference Advocacy Network to receive Life Issue updates. Parish resources also available
Mary, Mother of the Church, graciously help us build a culture of life and a civilization of love, together with all people of good will, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen.