Texas, nation to commemorate Respect Life Month with walks, rallies

October 13, 2015

HOUSTON — During the month of October the Catholic Church throughout the United States observes Respect Life Month. This annual tradition is now in its 44th year. 

Respect Life Month offers the nation's Catholics to renew their personal commitment to defend all human life, especially the most vulnerable members of the human family. 

Sean Cardinal O'Malley, archbishop of Boston and chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said that a person's worth is based not on their skills or levels of productivity. Rather, people discover their worth when they discover their true identity found in the unchangeable, permanent fact that humans are created in God's image and likeness and called to an eternal destiny with him. 

"Absolutely nothing can diminish our God-given dignity, and therefore, nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives," he said in this year's Respect Life Month statement. "Others may fail to respect that dignity — may even try to undermine it — but in doing so, they only distance themselves from God's loving embrace. Human dignity is forever." 

Cardinal O'Malley stressed that, whether it lasts for a brief moment or for a hundred years, each human life is a good and perfect gift at every stage and in every circumstance. 

"An elderly man whose health is quickly deteriorating; an unborn baby girl whose diagnosis indicates she may not live long; a little boy with Down syndrome; a mother facing terminal cancer — each may have great difficulties and need our assistance, but each of their lives is worth living," he said. 

Respect Life Month also begins the new, yearlong cycle of the Respect Life USCCB program, which continues through the following September. It is a time dedicated by the U.S. bishops for the Church nationwide to bring attention to, celebrate, work and pray for the protection of the gift of human life. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes new materials each year on various human life issues to aid the local efforts within the Church of building a culture of life throughout the year. The theme of the 2015-16 Respect Life Program is "Every life is worth living." 

"When we encounter the suffering of another, let us reach out and embrace them in love, allowing God to work through us," Cardinal O'Malley said. "This might mean slowing down and taking the time to listen. It might mean providing respite care or preparing meals for a family facing serious illness. It might mean simply being present and available. And of course, it always means prayer — bringing their needs before the Father and asking him to work in their lives." 

Catholics throughout the nation will demonstrate this commitment in a variety of ways — by participating in prayer services and educational conferences, engaging in public witness and advocacy and helping to offer Church and community services to those in need. One of many events being held is "Standing Against the Death Penalty." 

On Oct. 23 at the Texas Legislative Conference in Austin, activists and policymakers will have a discussion on capital punishment reforms in Texas beginning at 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. On Oct. 24, a prayerful march and rally against the use of the death penalty will be begin with a Mass at 8 a.m. at St. Austin Catholic Church, located at 2010 Guadalupe in Austin. 

The walk and rally include lunch and workshops. For more about the event visit www.txcatholic.org or email pmacy@staustin.org.