By Bishop Alberto Rojas
Peace and wellbeing to you. The month of October is designated by the Catholic Church in the United States as Respect Life Month. This year’s theme is The Eucharist and Radical Solidarity. The Church is experiencing a national revival meant to restore understanding of Christ’s real presence in this Sacrament. The words spoken by the priest every time we live Mass are a reminder of this sacrifice, “Take this all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.” A sharp contrast to the unfortunate words often uttered in the world today— “my body, my choice.” By contrast, the Eucharist fortifies us in our response against the culture of death so that every life from conception to natural death is respected, protected, and supported in the Body of Christ, His Church.
Beginning on October 1, Respect Life Sunday, our parishes will begin the Sanctity of Human Life Collection, which gives the Catholic faithful an opportunity to bring their faith into action and support the Respect Life and Pastoral Care programs in our Diocese, 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 the office provides. These include facilitating English and Spanish post-abortion healing retreats, supporting women in a crisis pregnancy, educating and training parish leaders, implementing Caring for the Whole Person ministries in parishes, developing practical resources, and providing education for end-of-life decision making.
In reaction to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, we are encountering new challenges but also new responsibilities to build a civilization of authentic love. We need to all be engaged in these new responsibilities to care for human life. Participating in this collection is just one of many ways we can get started in this effort. Some parishes prefer to conduct the collection between Respect Life Sunday and January.
Let us continue responding in radical solidarity to bring forward a culture where all are wanted, cherished, and loved. With your support and prayers, we can continue in this important work and imitate Christ’s self-giving love.