October 29, 2010

More than a month: Bishop says respect for life must be ‘like a fire burning within us, part of who we are’

SAGINAW — As Respect Life Month draws near to its close this coming Sunday, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, is reminding Catholics across the 11-county Diocese of Saginaw of the challenge he issued on the first Sunday of the month: to live out the convictions of their faith more deeply and more publicly.

During the Respect Life Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw on Oct. 4, Bishop Cistone encouraged the faithful who were gathered – and the entire Catholic community – to develop their own faith to the point that the mind and heart of Jesus becomes a very part of who they are.

In this way, he noted that it becomes self-evident that "abortion is wrong, euthanasia is wrong, (and) embryonic stem-cell research is wrong … we could not possibly see life differently because we are seeing it through the eyes of the Lord."

Earlier this year, Bishop Cistone led a group of more than 400 young people to Washington D.C. to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. He is expected to travel with another group of pilgrims to the nation’s capital for the March for Life in January 2011. Those interested in joining Bishop Cistone for this annual pilgrimage can find more information and a video highlighting the experience on the diocesan website, http://www.saginaw.org/.

"We need to publicly demonstrate and fight for legislation that protects all human life from conception until natural death." Bishop Cistone said. "My dear friends, it must be more than just a project, it must be like a fire burning inside us that is a very part of who we are as Catholics."

In July, Bishop Cistone joined more than 150 other protesters in prayerful witness outside an abortion clinic in Saginaw. This month he led the opening prayer during the 20th annual Focus on Life Dinner in Saginaw County and he has also been a featured speaker for Central Michigan Right to Life.

Next month, the bishop will celebrate a special Mass for individuals and families who have lost a child to abortion or miscarriage as their children are remembered with dignity and respect. The annual Mass of Remembrance will take place at 5:30 p.m. on November 7 at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

To learn more about respect life activities and initiatives in the Diocese of Saginaw, contact Sandy Buza, the diocese’s respect life coordinator, at (989) 797-6652.

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