Defending life and promoting the dignity of the human person are core teachings of our Catholic faith. While October is officially observed as Respect Life Month in the U.S. Church, our responsibility to build a culture of life extends throughout the year. This month of January provides some special opportunities to be a pro-life witness:
People from around the country will gather Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. This year’s theme is “Unique From Day One: Pro-Life Is Pro-Science.” It was chosen because medical and other scientific advancements continue to reaffirm what many of us already know: Life begins at conception and the child in the womb is a genetically distinct, vulnerable human being who needs care and protection.
Minnesota pro-lifers will similarly gather Jan. 22 — the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion — for a prayer vigil and march in St. Paul.
The 2019 Minnesota legislative session begins Jan. 8, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) has identified several beginning- and end-of-life issues to monitor and oppose, including possible efforts to legalize physician-assisted suicide and legitimize commercial surrogacy arrangements, which commodify children and prey on vulnerable women. On the proactive side, MCC will advocate for “prenatal to 3” initiatives that invest in mothers and children during the earliest and most formative stages of life.
Among the state’s most vulnerable populations are immigrants and refugees. Immigration Sunday on Jan. 6 — the feast of the Epiphany — is an annual observance that seeks to educate people about the challenges and dangers migrants face in their homelands, the reasons they leave and the call of our Church to welcome them as they work to build better lives and contribute to their communities. Ensuring that the dignity of immigrants and refugees is protected is an essential component of a culture of life.
Last month, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn. As such, she serves as a bridge between communities and as a mother, whose care and concern for the unborn, the poor and the otherwise vulnerable, is a model for protecting human life and promoting every person’s God-given human dignity.
In the spirit of Our Lady, in what ways can you be a pro-life witness this month?
- Will you march in Washington or St. Paul?
- Will you write a state legislator or member of Congress to advocate for life-affirming laws and policies?
- Will you educate yourself about the challenges facing migrants, the poor and other vulnerable groups and then look for opportunities to assist them in your parish or community?
- Will you pray with our diocesan mission statement in mind, listening for ways in which Christ may be calling you to be his “heart of mercy, voice of hope and hands of justice” to people in need?
I hope you enjoy this inaugural issue of The Central Minnesota Catholic. If you have feedback or questions, please contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320- 258-7624.
Joe Towalski is the editor and the director of communications for the Diocese of St. Cloud.