Cardinal O'Malley announces the 2014 Respect Life theme, one that echoes Pope Francis.
Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, introduced this year’s annual Respect Life Program with a reflection on its theme—”Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation”—adapted from Pope Francis’ 2013 Day for Life Greeting.
His statement begins by describing how Pope Francis continues to witness to the dignity of every person:
“At the heart of each of these interactions is a truth which resonates in our hearts, revealing to us something essential to understanding ourselves and our purpose.
“We are loved.”
The key to building a culture of life, continued the Cardinal, is for us to “draw close to Jesus in prayer and the sacraments,” asking for the “grace to see ourselves and others as he sees us,” for when “God created us, he did so with precision and purpose, and he looks on each of us with love than cannot be outdone in intensity or tenderness. We must look at ourselves and at others in light of this truth and treat all people with the reverence and respect which is due.”
Since its inception in 1972, the bishops’ annual Respect Life Program kicks off each year on the first Sunday of October (this year October 5). The entire month is dedicated to conferences, prayer services, events to raise awareness of current threats against life and to foster greater reverence for life, as well as fundraising activities for the benefit of pregnancy care centers and other programs to aid vulnerable groups. In addition to miniposters, a video and flyer to highlight the theme, this year’s program offer six articles that use personal stories to demonstrate the wisdom of the Church’s teachings on human dignity.
Articles address the following topics: advance medical directives, the tragic human costs of reproductive technologies, the joy of adoption, healing from a prior abortion during marriage, the vicious cycle of poverty and abortion, and a pastoral response to miscarriage.
Susan E. Willsis spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English-language edition.