Respect Life Month

By | September 28, 2011

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who oversees the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered words of encouragement to the faithful on the eve of Respect Life Month. In a message released Sept. 26, he said that dignity of people on the fringes of life is under attack.

“The unborn child, the aging parent who some call a ‘burden’ on our medical system, the allegedly ‘excess’ embryo in the fertility clinic, the person with a disability, the cognitively impaired accident victim who needs assistance in receiving food and water to live — each today is at risk of being dismissed as a ‘life unworthy of life,'” Cardinal DiNardo said.

In this week’s issue, The Compass offers a special section featuring stories about people who want to make a difference and promote the dignity and sanctity of human life. Yet there are countless other stories that go unwritten.

As people of faith make connections to the value of life, they put thoughts and convictions into action. These actions, or acts of faith, run the gamut:

n Outdoor vigils and prayer services. Our friends and neighbors are taking to the streets, with rosaries in hand, and offering prayers for life. Check out the listing in our Respect Life Section.

n Homeless shelter ministry. With summer weather now a memory, parishes around the diocese are signing up to offer food, clothing and comfort to those who have no place to call home. One example is overnight retreat experience sponsored by St. John Homeless Shelter in Green Bay. This retreat, held at the shelter and open to anyone 18 or older, gives retreatants a chance to experience for one night what shelter guests live daily. To learn more about the retreat go to

n Serving food and offering clothes: Food pantries and clothing shops, such as St. Vincent de Paul ministries, help people of every age make a connection to hunger and poverty. By collecting bags of food, making meals and donating used clothes to organizations like SVDP, we can touch the lives of people who are struggling because of job loss, poor health or other situations that may one day affect us.

n Nursing home visits. A smile and willingness to listen are all that friends of the elderly need to make a difference. The same goes for reaching out to children and adults with disabilities. When we make a connection to people struggling with a physical or emotional challenge, we embrace their dignity as a person and celebrate God’s gift of life.

n Praying and speaking out for justice. From the unborn who are aborted to men and women awaiting execution on death row, we are called to express outrage for the legal assault on life.

These are a few examples of how we can live out our faith and promote respect for life. When we make a connection in one area, it helps us to see the bigger picture. In small ways, we can do our part in weaving a fabric in society that values life.

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “A society can be built only by tirelessly respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person.”

This month, let’s each find our thread and help weave the fabric of life. That way we can live out Jesus’ words, which serve as the theme for Respect Life Month: “I came so that all might have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10)

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