My dear friends in Christ:
Each October during Respect Life Month, the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops launches a new cycle of the Respect Life Program – a year-round, nationwide effort to help Catholics understand, value and help cultivate respect for human life.
As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do to build a culture of life on a daily basis. Your efforts on behalf of the unborn, the dying, the elderly, the imprisoned, the poor and so many others have a profound impact, both now and in the life to come.
This year’s theme, Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life, is particularly suited for the times in which we live. The attacks against human life seem to grow more numerous and callous by the day. Despite these challenges, we know that Christ has conquered sin and death once and for all. Through our Christian hope in the Resurrection, we are given the grace to persevere in faith. Our sacrifices on behalf of the Gospel of Life can contribute to the redemption of this current culture of death.
During the 2019-2020 Respect Life Program cycle, we also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the papal encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), written by St. John Paul II. The Church’s teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life remains an indispensable source of truth for all people. As Evangelium vitae highlights, “together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love” (EV 6).
We bishops need your help. While there may be opportunities for decisive political action, we know that to build a true culture of life, we must seek to change hearts and minds. And your witness is essential.
It is the vocation of the laity to go out to be as leaven in the world, a light in the darkness. Your daily activities take you to places I cannot go; they bring you to those I will never meet. May you allow Christ to renew and strengthen you, that He may work through you in each moment of every day.
Be assured of my prayers for you and for our common efforts to bring about a world in which every life is cherished. And so together may we “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19).
Sincerely yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Committee on Pro-Life Activities