WASHINGTON (USCCB) — The 2008-09 Respect Life Program is now available in preparation for Respect Life Sunday, October 5. This year’s theme —"Hope and Trust in Life!"— comes from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily last December 31, in which he described a lack of hope and trust in life as "the ‘obscure’ evil of modern Western society."
The theme complements key messages of the Holy Father during his historic visit to the United States in April. The Respect Life flyer emphasizes Pope Benedict’s call to U.S. Catholics "to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life. … the message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody …" that is at the heart of the new evangelization.
Topics addressed in this year’s Respect Life Program reflect the diversity of pro-life concerns:
• the role of conscience in voting
• advances in stem cell research: where the real hope for cures lies
• the African American community and the culture of life
• "living wills" and persons with disabilities
• male grief and trauma following abortion
Condensed versions of the articles are available in both printed pamphlet format and full-length electronic versions on an accompanying CD and on the Secretariat’s Website. The CD, included in each packet, contains all these materials, a liturgy guide, program models, memorable pro-life quotations and more, in both English and Spanish.
In addition to materials for Respect Life Sunday, this year’s liturgy guide offers Intercessions for Life, suggested preaching reflections for Respect Life Sunday and January 22, Stations of the Cross for Life and various Blessings and Prayers for vulnerable human beings–unborn children, those with disabilities, the elderly, the dying, and those condemned to die.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy. Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States.
NOTE: The Respect Life packets may be ordered from the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities by calling toll-free (866) 582-0943, or by faxing orders to (301) 779-8596. Downloadable copies of Respect Life materials from 1996 onward are posted in English and Spanish on the Secretariat’s Website at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/.