Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. -Â Pope Benedict XVI, Address in Hyde Park, London, Sept. 18, 2010
On October 2, 2011, or Respect Life Sunday, the Catholic Church throughout the United States kicked off its annual observation of Respect Life Month, now in its fortieth year.
The 2011 theme for the Respect Life Program is I came so that all might have life and have it to the full. In this brief explanation of his mission (John 10:10), Jesus refers both to our hope of eternal life, to be restored through his death and resurrection, and to our life in this world (fromÂ USCCB’s Respect Life Statement).
How beautiful and comforting that theÂ Church has always proclaimed the inherent value and dignity of life at every stage and condition, if that be on contraception, embryo research, love and marriage, persons with disabilities, reproductive technologies, the death penalty, or assisted suicide and euthanasia.Â The USCCB has a variety of resources available on each of these topics for additional study.
We will be sharing a series of posts throughout the month from individuals and families who have experienced serious and profound life and death decisions – faith-filled, powerful testimonies witnessing to life. And as PopeÂ Benedict XVI said in 2010, “a society can be built only by tirelessly respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person,â€ we believe their stories can do this very thing for those who may stumble upon them.
As Cardinal DiNardo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities stated in his Statement for Respect Life Month:
“During this Respect Life Month, as we celebrate Godâ€™s great gift of life, let us pray and reflect on how each of us might renew our commitment and witness to respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person, thereby shoring up the foundations of a society sorely in need of this guidance.”