Happy Respect Life Month!
The first Sunday in October is Respect Life Sunday, and this kicks off the Respect Life Month of October each year, which also begins a new Respect Life Program for the year. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes new Respect Life Program materials each year to highlight various Respect Life issues. These Respect Life Program materials respond to the needs of parishes, schools and other ministries for basic presentations of life issues. This year’s theme is Every Life is Worth Living, which not only sheds light on the sanctity of life at all stages (in response to the renewed push for legalizing assisted suicide in many states), but it is also applicable to the wide spectrum of life issues. The program is emphasized in liturgies and featured through numerous programs and events that take place not only during Respect Life Month, but also throughout the whole year. The events occur at various locations-including parish, local, diocesan, state, and national levels. Just a few of these events include:
Life Chain: This is an international, peaceful, prayerful, pro-life, public witness where Respect Life advocates join together and stand outside along streets, hold signs, and pray in silence for the unborn, for those considering abortion, and for those who have been wounded by abortion. Life Chain typically occurs on the first Sunday in October. This year I stood in the cold, rainy weather with my fellow parishioners, held a sign, and prayed in silence. Some of those passing by honked in support and some showed signs of opposition, but there is no telling who was impacted in what way. Whether it was a woman in need of healing from an abortion who saw the sign, Jesus Forgives & Heals, or a man pushing for an abortion who saw the sign, Adoption The Loving Option, if only one baby was saved by the sign that read Abortion Kills Children, that is one baby saved, and every life is worth it.
March for Life: Hundreds of thousands of Respect Life advocates march in unity and peace in Washington D.C. on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. There is a Rally at noon and the March begins at 1:00 pm. Please visit http://marchforlife.org/ for more information about the March and related events. The Dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh celebrate a Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine each year just before the March for Life. Next year the North Carolina Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 am on Friday, January 22, 2016 in the Upper Church. Bishop Peter Jugis will be the principal celebrant for the mass in 2016. Hope to see you there!
March for Life Charlotte: For those who are unable to attend the March for Life in DC (or for those who want to do both), there is a March for Life in Charlotte, which usually occurs the Friday before the March for Life in DC. This is another peaceful, powerful way to pray and witness for Life at the local level. Next year, the 10th Annual March for Life Charlotte will take place on Friday, January 15, 2016 at noon. Before the March, there will be a mass and speaker. Please visit http://www.marchforlifecharlotte.org/ for more information.
9 Days for Life: 9 Days for Life is a focused period of prayer, penance, and pilgrimage. Marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court case which legalized abortion during all 9 months of pregnancy), this novena has as its overarching intention the end to abortion (USCCB). Next year the Novena is scheduled for January 16-24, 2016. Please visit www.9daysforlife.com for more information and to sign up for alerts. There is also an app to use during the 9 Days for Life Novena.
These are only just a few of the many Respect Life events in which you can participate or for which you can pray throughout the year. Please visit the USCCB Respect Life website for more information and Respect Life Program materials to download, as well as more events at the national level: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/index.cfm. Please visit the Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte website for more information and events at the diocesan level: http://ccdoc.org/respectlife. Please visit your local parish websites for more information about events at the local level. If you are located near Charlotte, you can also visit the C-PLAN (Catholic Pro-Life Action Network) website at http://www.prolifecharlotte.org/ for more information about events in the greater Charlotte area. I encourage you to find at least one Respect Life event in which you can participate during the upcoming year!
“Let’s say ‘Yes’ to life and ‘No’ to death.” –Pope Francis
By Jennifer Ganser,
Respect Life Program Director