WASHINGTON (CNS) — This year’s theme for Respect Life Month, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life,” is “particularly suited for our times,” said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
“Attacks against human life seem to grow ever more numerous and callous,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and he urged Catholics who feel discouraged by these attacks to “hold fast to Christ, our hope.”
“We know that Christ has conquered sin and death. Through our Christian hope in the Resurrection, we are given the grace to persevere in faith,” he said in a Sept. 26 statement.
The need to “cherish, protect and defend human life” is year-round, Archbishop Naumann noted, but he said the U.S. Catholic Church sets aside each October as Respect Life Month to bring special attention to all life issues. The first Sunday of October, Oct. 6 this year, is Respect Life Sunday.
Every October, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launches a new yearlong cycle of the Respect Life Program — a nationwide effort “to help Catholics understand, value and help cultivate respect for human life.”
The USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro Life Activities has prepared a packet for the 2019-2020 program containing materials and resources. The materials are available online at https://www.respectlife.org/october.
During the year, the Catholic Church will celebrate the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”), which addressed the sacredness of all human life and is considered a social encyclical by many people because it included strong statements on the need for the political world to do its part in protecting human life.
“The church’s teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life remains an indispensable source of truth for all people,” Archbishop Naumann said in a letter with the USCCB pro-life materials found online.
“As ‘Evangelium Vitae’ highlights,” he said quoting the document, “together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.”
He said the Catholic bishops need the help of the laity and their witness to help “change hearts and minds” and build “a true culture of life” that upholds the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
“Jesus asks us to be as leaven in the world, to bring his light to the darkness,” Archbishop Naumann said in his Sept. 26 statement. “Our daily activities take each of us to places only we can go, to people only we will meet. May we allow Christ to renew and strengthen us, that He may work through us in each moment of every day.”