The summer of 2020 is heating up and I've been retreating to the greener pastures of the Psalms. I'm especially drawn to Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;
God will help it at break of day.
Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,
he utters his voice and the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Ps 46:2-3,6-8
We are living in tumultuous times. The daily news can be unsettling: we see loss of lives and a callous disregard for human dignity, plus statues toppled, SCOTUS decisions, coronavirus continues, dust storms.... but God is with us! This year's Respect Life theme reminds us to place our hope in Christ. As we continue our pro-life ministry during this sweltering season, let's remember the gift of Jesus' love for us. This transformative love, the love that is needed to bring understanding, healing, and peace to our world, spreads first by growing in our own hearts and then is shown by our own actions. Whether we stay at home or safely get together with others, there is plenty that we can do to show our love for life.
Listed below are some ideas for pro-life ministry that you and members of your parish or group might choose to engage in this summer. Stay safe and keep cool!
1. Pray for our nation (see July 4 prayer below). Consider forming a study group to explore the intersection of patriotism, racism, and immigration. Reread Bishop Taylor's pastoral letter "I was a Stranger and you Welcomed Me" (in Spanish) which proclaims, "The protection of human rights is also a necessary component of our faithful citizenship as Americans." Or watch the short video:Encounter, Accompany, Listen, Learn
3. Organize a Holy Hour for Life for your parish (with your pastor's permission, of course!) On the Feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis said, “Let us also rediscover Eucharistic adoration, which continues the work of the Mass within us. This will do us much good, for it heals us within. Especially now, when our need is so great.
More information about these ideas is found below. I hope you do find this newsletter helpful. I am available by email email@example.com or call 501-664-0340 ext. 326 if you need more information, have any questions, or if I can help in any way.
May God bless you and your ministry. Stay safe! Sincerely in Christ,
Respect Life Director
Diocese of Little Rock
USCCB Pro-Life Response to
recent SCOTUS Abortion Decision
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:
“Abortion violently ends the life of a child, and often severely harms women. Abortion becomes even more destructive when basic health and safety standards are ignored, and profit margins are prioritized over women’s lives. As Catholics, we condemn abortion as a grave injustice that denies the fundamental human right to life. Yet even as we seek to end the brutality of legalized abortion, we still believe that the women who seek it should not be further harmed and abused by a callous, profit-driven industry.
“The Court’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women’s health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent. As we grieve this decision and the pregnant women who will be harmed by it, we continue to pray and fight for justice for mothers and children.
“We will not rest until the day when the Supreme Court corrects the grave injustice of Roe and Casey and recognizes the Constitutional right to life for unborn human beings. And we continue to ask all people of faith to pray for women seeking abortion, often under enormous pressure, that they will find alternatives that truly value them and the lives of their children.”
God, source of all freedom,
this day is bright with the memory
of those who declared that life and liberty
are your gift to every human being.
Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.
Make our vision clear and our will strong:
that only in human solidarity will we find liberty,
and justice only in the honor that belongs
to every life on earth.
Turn our hearts toward the family of nations:
to understand the ways of others,
to offer friendship,
and to find safety only in the common good of all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.
Prayer taken from the Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, 2007, USCCB.
Could your Ministry Benefit from a Mini-Grant?
The Diocese of Little Rock offers Respect Life Grants to selected groups and organizations that promote a consistent ethic of life. Funds may be used for pro-life work in Education and Public Information, Pastoral Care, Public Policy, or Prayer and Worship. A grant applicant is not required to be involved in all pro-life issues, but must neither publicly challenge nor oppose life concerns that are not its own first priority. Please read the complete Respect Life Grant Application Guidelines, access theapplication to print here, on click on the yellow box below to complete the application online (preferred).
While we often think of pregnancy as culminating in the birth of child, we know that the journey is only just beginning. While motherhood brings with it many joys and blessings, it also involves challenges and difficulties. In raising their children and dedicating themselves to their families, mothers participate in a type of “daily heroism,” one for which they “do not always find support in the world around them” (EV 86). Providing and caring for children as a single mother includes additional hardships. Sadly, today, one in four children are being raised without a father. Certainly, there are many reasons this might occur in any given circumstance. However, it is also true that in a culture that largely rejects the Church’s teachings on marriage, life, and sexuality, women and their children are often disproportionately impacted. It was Pope Paul VI in Humanae vitae who warned that, “a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman... no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection” (HV 17). In the midst of this reality, the Church is called to be a beacon of light, hope, and support. May we respond to this call, individually and communally, to surround mothers with assistance and support as they lovingly care for their children.
-Reflection from July 2020 Pray for Life, USCCB.
How might your parish become a "beacon of light, hope, and support"
to moms in need?
Click on the image Walking with Moms in Need image to learn more about how your parish can participate in this initiative. The Respect Life Office is committed to helping parishes to participate in Walking with Moms in Need. Please call 501-664-0340 ext. 326 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need help.
"Celebrate and reverence God's vision of human sexuality."
National NFP Awareness Week
JULY 19 - JULY 25, 2020
For information and resources to celebrate and learn about Natural Family Planning, please visit the USCCB website.
"It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion.... [M]any people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the "contraceptive mentality"- which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act - are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected." (EV, 12).
Covid19 continues to cause death. Please do what is necessary to protect others and yourself from this virus. Wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in public places, and maintain a 6 foot physical distance from those who don't live with you. This is a life issue! "[M]ake these sacrifices out of love, out of concern for the most vulnerable among us. We personally might not be in a high-risk group, but obeying Jesus means that we don’t think only of ourselves. We wear that mask out of love because we don’t want to be a vector of infection for others who are at great risk." Bishop Taylor, May, 2020