Respect Life Sunday is commemorated today, October 7th. Parishes across the country will be hearing a pro-life homily, and many parishioners will be participating in a “Life Chain” event on the streets outside their parishes.
The American Catholic bishops initiated Respect Life Sunday in 1972, the year before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in the U.S.A.
Each year on the first Sunday of October, Catholics across the country observe Respect Life Sunday with special devotions and pro-life prayers and activities in order to advance the culture of life in our nation.
Incidentally, the month of October is also the month of the rosary! And it is only through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s help that our culture will renew its recognition of the sanctity of all human life.
So, what can you, your parish, your prayer group, or your Bible study group do to mark this special day? Here are some great resources that will help you in advancing the culture of life.
A Huge Resource: The USCCB Respect Life Program
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a great online resource called the Respect Life Program with liturgical guides, pamphlets, bulletin inserts, posters, and fliers available. You can order these materials, or print them from the PDFs right from the website.
From their website: “The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. These materials are especially helpful for priests, parish groups and other organizations.”
Be sure to check out this site! With a great resource like this at your fingertips, you can be well-prepared to mark Respect Life Sunday in a special way. Keep this website bookmarked for future reference too!
Great Pro-Life Books
There are many great Catholic Pro-Life books that are of interest to the respect life cause. One of the most notable and widely discussed is the book UnPlanned written by by Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood administrator turned pro-life activist. Abby Johnson left her job at Planned Parenthood and immediately joined the ranks of the pro-life movement after having to participate in an ultrasound-guided abortion.
There’s also a new book out now from St. Benedict Press called Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars by Monica Migliorino Miller. This pro-life book is from the perspective of an abortion activist from the early years after the passage of Roe v. Wade up until today.
One of my personal favorite authors in the pro-life movement is Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston college. His professional website is a great resource for how to philosophically equip yourself for the pro-life debate. Additionally he also has a great book called Three Approaches to Abortion: A Thoughtful Compassionate Guide to Today’s Most Controversial Issue. Peter Kreeft is one of the most lucid and compelling apologetic writers in the Catholic Church, and this book giving his apologetic on pro-life issues is no different.
Pro-Life Prayer Tools
There are a number of specifically pro-life products available today including pro-life prayer books and pro-life rosaries. This is very important, because the respect life movement is first and foremost centered on prayer. The Priests for Life website is also a great prayer resource that includes prayer intentions for daily Mass, pro-life rosary meditations, novenas, and other pro-life prayers that you can access right from their website.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the official patroness of the unborn as well as the patroness of the Americas. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the Aztec culture in the 16th century during a time when they practiced infanticide. The Virgin Mary revealed an image of herself on the tilma of St. Juan Diego, which is still preserved and venerated today in Mexico City. In this image Mary is wearing a sash around her waist, a sign that indicated pregnancy in the Aztec culture. Because the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed herself as a pregnant mother with eyes closed and hands folded in prayer, and did so on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a message of hope for expecting mothers as well as a hopeful sign for the universal pro-life movement.
With these tips on respect life resources and products, I hope you will be able to mark October 7th in a special way as Respect Life Sunday for our Catholic Church here in the U.S.A.
“It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life
Copyright 2012 Gretchen Filz