By George P. Matysek Jr.
October is a month set aside by the U.S. bishops as a special time for showing support for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. It will be marked as a time for prayer and action, with this year’s theme taken from a quote from Pope Francis, “Open your hearts to life!”
“This Respect Life Month and every month, I invite the people of God of this archdiocese to first pray for a culture that affirms life,” Archbishop William E. Lori said. “I would also ask that they consider how they might lend their own talents to pro-life efforts, beginning with those in their own parishes.”
Archbishop Lori noted that there is dignity in every human being and that every person is created in God’s image and “called to friendship with him.”
There are many threats to the dignity of human life, he said. Parishes and Catholic institutions are present “to shine the light of God’s love on the darkness cast by this culture of death,” he said.
“There is always a need for more people to carry that light,” Archbishop Lori said, “and to stand as witnesses to our creator’s love for us.”
Citing the March for Life, the Youth and Young Adult Pilgrimage and conversations with high school and college students, the archbishop said he has found “that our Catholic young people, through their own faith, through reason and through their own personal experiences are convinced that life begins at conception and that they vigorously wish to defend it.”
The following events will be held during Respect Life Month:
· 40 Days for Life – Prayer, fasting, vigils at abortion clinics Sept. 25-Nov. 3. 40daysforlife.org
· Awards dinner – The Center for Pregnancy Concerns will honor Mary Bergin and Tim Hughes Oct. 3 for their work as pro-life counselors. Event begins at 6 p.m. at the Hunt Valley Inn Baltimore. Marta Mossburg will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $50; 410-391-6699.
· Respect Life Mass – Archbishop Lori will celebrate the archdiocesan Respect Life Mass at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Homeland, Oct. 6; 410-547-5537
· Life chains – To be held at various locations throughout the state Oct. 6; lifechain.net