"Every Life is Worth Living"- Respect Life Month 2015
Pope Francis visit to the United States last week was the perfect precursor to Respect Life Month. Pope Francis remarks at his various stops fit well with this year's Respect Life theme - "Every Life is Worth Living."
Like all of you, I was totally captivated by Pope Francis's visit to the United States. It was hard to get enough of the Pope and his inviting and pastoral way. We eagerly followed Pope Francis to Washington, New York, and Philadelphia with history-making speeches including the first Pope to ever address the joint houses of Congress. At every stop the crowds were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Everyone seemed to want to just get a glimpse of the Vicar of Christ. These special moments were especially moving when we saw the Holy Father tenderly kissing and hugging infants, children and the disabled. It seemed to bring to life the parable of the friends of the paralyzed man who lowered their friend into the crowded house in order to be healed by Christ, or the woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years and simply wanted to touch the fringe of His cloak;
The "Francis effect "was tangible, Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers, republicans and democrats, for a time, seemed genuinely united in soaking in the prophetic words of the Pontiff. Archbishop Kurtz summarized the Papal visit well, "When I hear our Holy Father speaking, I feel like I'm going back on retreat. I'm going back to when I first was drawn to become a priest."
And Pope Francis's pastoral words, spoke directly to so many human life issues:
Religious freedom (White House speech) - "Freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions" and he called on all citizens to "preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it".
Defending the inherent sanctity of all human life (U.N. speech) - "The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic."
Death penalty - (Congress speech) - "Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."
Family and marriage (Congress speech) - "Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life."
Immigration (Congress speech) -"In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants."
Environment effect on humanity (U.N. speech) - "Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity." - Pope Francis speaks at the U.N. about the environment." Pope Francis, as in Laudato Si, identifies the interdependent relationship between the environment and man, and this is why he is so concerned about the environment - because of the effect that it has on people, especially the disproportionate affect on the poor, the most vulnerable, and the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person,
As we enter into Respect Life Month, let us recall Pope Francis not only spoke about life issues, he has called us to action, "Keep moving forward, going out into the world with the Gospel." This is the purpose of Respect Life Month - to draw attention to the full spectrum of "Life" issues and to encourage faithful Catholics to get involved and find our passions. Therefore, the Pro-Life Office of the Archdiocese of Louisville is promoting several Respect-Life events during the month of October:
October 14th - Holy Family Church - Suicide Prevention Talk & Prayer Service - Deacon Adam Carrico
Have you or someone you know been touched by suicide? Have you ever wondered what the church really has to say about this subject? Please join Deacon Adam Carrico and Martine Siegel, Director of Counseling Services and Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Louisville for an honest and uplifting evening of information, prayer, testimony and discussion on this most difficult of subjects. The event will be held at Holy Family Church, 3926 Poplar Level Road, at 7:00 PM on Wednesday October 14. All are welcome!
October 26th - Persecuted Christians & Refugee Crisis - Education, Prayer and Advocacy - Fr. John Johnson
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is seeking to raise awareness among the faithful to address the growing refugee problem resulting from political instability, and war in the Middle East. As faithful Catholics our witness of prayer and advocacy is sorely needed to draw attention and help the suffering persecuted Christians around the world, and to express solidarity with them and all victims of religious persecution. Please join us at St. Albert Church, 1395 Girard Drive, at 7:00 PM on Monday October 26th. All are welcome!
40 Days for Life (September 23rd -November 1st)
Discover the worldwide 40 Days for Life movement of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach that is uniting hundreds of thousands of Christians in the largest and longest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization in history, saving thousands of lives from abortion, helping mothers find alternatives to abortion, and enabling workers to leave the abortion industry. 40 Days for Life is based on 3 biblical pillars:
Prayer and Fasting - inviting people of faith throughout our city to join together for 40 days of fervent prayer and fasting to ask God to change mothers and fathers hearts, to save them from a lifetime of regret, to pray that unborn children's lives will be saved, and ultimately that in God's perfect timing abortion will end that now is the time ultimately and end to abortion.
Peaceful Vigil - standing for life through a 40-day peaceful public witness outside the local abortion facility.
Public Witness - promoting a positive, upbeat "Sanctity of Life" message to our Church community and fellow-citizens.
By the grace of God, 40 Days for Life has achieved a stunning track record of life-saving results since launching in 2007 and rapidly becoming a worldwide movement:
- More than 650,000 participants, 17,500 churches, 579 cities, 27 countries.
- 10,331 children have been saved from abortion.
- 20,662 Mothers and fathers - have been spared from the pain and regret of abortion.
- 60 abortion facilities have gone out of business following 40 Days for Life campaigns.
- 118 abortion workers have quit their jobs due to 40 Days for Life efforts.
- 54 mothers chose life in the last 3 campaigns.
- Over 700 volunteers from Kentucky and Southern Indiana from dozens of churches.
October 22nd - Holy Spirit Church - Catholic Charities Services Overview
Learn about the many life-affirming services of Catholic Charities and ways that you get involved. Catholic Charities provides a comprehensive set of community outreach ministries for people in need, including adoption, mother-infant, human trafficking, elderly, aid to the poor, immigration, migration, refugee, and disaster response programs. Catholic Charities calls upon the entire church and other people of goodwill to do the same. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Louisville is a member of Catholic Charities USA. Please join us at Holy Spirit Church, 3345 Lexington Road, at 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 22nd. All are welcome!
Respect Life Month should be lived year round, and is summed up well by Archbishop Kurtz in his recent article in The Record. Archbishop Kurtz talks about Pope Francis inviting us to cultivate a "culture of care" and this is where we "find our deep identity - by our care for one another."
Archdiocese of Louisville