Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace and well-being to you! October is designated by the Catholic Church in the United States as Respect Life Month. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning to the end of their lives, and at every point in between. This year, as part of the Year of St. Joseph, Respect Life Month highlights and focuses on St. Joseph as a Defender of Life. His unhesitating adherence to God’s will as he faithfully and lovingly protected the Christ Child and the Blessed Mother bears witness to our own calling as Christians.
During this Year of St. Joseph we have come to know the foster father of Jesus even better. We have meditated upon the different titles of St. Joseph and have realized the great importance of this humble and often hidden carpenter of Nazareth who became the faithful protector of Mother and Child. In his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, Pope Francis refers to St. Joseph as “a creatively courageous father ... who was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence” (PC 5). St. Joseph is our support and guide in times of trouble, our example in the defense and protection of life, and our model for saying “yes” to God and trusting in His plans. For all these reasons and more, we look to St. Joseph more closely as a defender of life during this Respect Life Month, so that we too may follow his example and continue to love the child and his mother through the various realities of our time.
As in every year, I encourage you to contribute to the Sanctity of Human Life Collection taken at your parish, which gives you the opportunity to put your faith into action and support the diocesan Respect Life and Pastoral Care programs which advocate for the sanctity of all human life. It is an opportunity for those who can give to support many of the lifesaving programs this Office provides. Some of them include our English and Spanish post abortion healing program, supporting women in a crisis pregnancy, accompanying families as they prepare their loved ones for their final journey, developing practical resources and providing education for end-of-life decision making.
Some parishes prefer to conduct the collection between Respect Life Sunday (Oct. 3 this year) and the Commemoration of Roe v Wade in January. Look for liturgical and educational resources at your parish that are issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and created specifically for this time. These resources provide a wonderful opportunity for evangelization through the example of St. Joseph.
Let us continue to be creatively courageous as St. Joseph was and find our hope in our Father in Heaven to continue our life affirming work. With your support and prayers, we can continue building a Culture of Life and advocating for the dignity of all persons. With this, we remember then, that God’s Love is all we need!
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Alberto Rojas