Respect Life Program for 2020-2021: Live the Gospel of LIFE
The Respect Life Program, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, started in 1972 and begins anew each October—the month set aside by the U.S. bishops as “Respect Life Month.” The program promotes respect for human life in light of our intrinsic dignity as having been created in God’s image and likeness and called to an eternal destiny with him. New materials are designed each year to assist those in various roles within the Church to help Catholics understand, value, and become engaged with supporting the dignity of every person, especially by cherishing God’s gift of life.
To celebrate Respect Life Month, the Risen Savior Respect Life Committee hosted a Rosary for Life, featured bulletin articles on life issues throughout October, and organized their annual Baby Bottle Collection in support of Pregnancy Choices (Apple Valley). Click on a topic below to read the bulletin article for each week in October.
October 4: Live the Gospel of Life Introduction
Click here to access the bulletin insert from this Sunday explaining the theme “Live the Gospel of Life” and how you can be a part of it!
October 11: Advance Medical Directives–Planning for Your Future
Human life is good and to be protected. All medical decisions ought to reflect this core belief. Yet some medical and legal documents used to define a patient’s future care can be harmful. No matter how well-crafted, they can’t predict all the possible scenarios and best courses of action. In each set of circumstances, we need to judge whether a given treatment will provide real benefit to the patient, without causing harm or disproportionate burdens. The safest option is to designate a health care agent to make decisions if you become incapable of doing so. It’s best to appoint a responsible, trustworthy person who understands and shares your Catholic values, and can apply them when the need arises.
[This is a summary of a USCCB Respect Life Program article by the same name and is reprinted with permission. © 2019, USCCB, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.] The full version of this article is found at respectlifeprogram.org/advance-directives
October 18: Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery
According to the Global Slavery Index, there were over 40 million slaves (“forced labor”) in over 100 countries in 2019. The International Labour Organization estimates that 26% of modern-day slaves are children. Slaves are often targeted from minority populations of Christians, Uyghur Muslims, Yazidis, Hindus, and other religious/ethnic minorities around the globe. These people are used for a wide variety of purposes: factory and agriculture workers, organ harvesting, girls & women are sex-trafficked, and boys & men are forced to fight in government-backed militias that are engaged in civil wars. A study from March 2020 by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute revealed 82 well-known worldwide companies have “directly or indirectly” profited from slave labor.
Proposed in July 2020, the Slave-Free Business Certification Act (S.4241) would require every American business that takes in $500 million worldwide to certify to the Dept. of Labor that their companies are not using slave labor in their supply chains or face substantial fines. If you would like to help end modern slavery, consider contacting your Senators and Representative to support this legislation.
Another way to get involved is to work on learning where your purchases come from. The app “Sweat and Toil” and the website knowthechain.org are resources that help consumers and businesses make ethical choices to avoid supporting businesses that use forced labor.
October 25: Everything is Connected
Our relationship with Christ—strengthened by receiving him worthily in Holy Communion—helps us understand our relationships with one another and with creation. When any of our relationships are out of balance—with God, one another, or the rest of creation—all our relationships suffer. Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Charity in Truth, Pope Francis explains further:
“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? ‘If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away’” (LS 120).
If we are filled with the love of God, a culture of encounter and solidarity will begin to bloom. Pope Francis stresses, “We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next” (LS 226). With this attitude of heart, we neither treat other humans as disposable, nor neglect to care for God’s creation at any level.
Click here to access an article featured in the Sept. 24th issue of the Catholic Spirit highlighting the theme of Living the Gospel of Life!
Respect Life Committee of Risen Savior
We promote life and dignity of the human person, an essential tenet of Catholic Social Teaching.
Our Mission: Affirm and help instill in all of us the respect for the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. We pursue this goal within our parish and community through every available means, including prayer, education, communication, example, and Catholic action.
Volunteers collect donated goods and funds to support people facing crisis pregnancies, and plan events and provide information to promote awareness of respect life issues.
Meets as needed, typically on Monday evenings.
Contact: Grace Koleczek, Adult Faith Formation and Social Justice Coordinator. Or, you may also fill out the form at the bottom of this page if you have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding the Respect Life initiatives at our parish.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Justice, Peace, and Human Dignity
Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis Respect Life Department