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©2019 by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

LEADERS' KIT

Catholic Education

This leaders' kit is provided to help Catholic educators build a culture of life in their classroom during Respect Life Month (October) and throughout the year. However, even if you aren’t able to plan anything during October, these ideas can be used at any time. This year’s theme and Respect Life Program cycle kicks off with Respect Life Month, but continues through next September.

These resources can be used to integrate Respect Life themes throughout the year, whenever they best fit into your specific curriculum.

The provided resources, ideas, and activities are only suggestions. We encourage you to adapt them as necessary to an age-appropriate level. Feel free to get creative as you build "an authentic civilization of truth and love" (Evangelium vitae, 6) in your classroom!

POSTER

Consider hanging the 2019-2020 Respect Life poster in your classroom or school during Respect Life Month (October) and use it to introduce the Church's teaching on the dignity of the human person. The poster features a bulletin board with notes and images that represent various Respect Life topics from the beginning of life to its end, highlighting the theme, "Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life."

You can order copies of the poster or download and print it yourself. 

REFLECTION

The Respect Life reflection unpacks this year's theme, "Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life." You can use the reflection to help inspire a lesson introducing Respect Life Month—when you hang the poster—or to highlight Respect Life topics throughout the year. 

The reflection could also be read aloud as a class to open a larger discussion. Or, it could also be used as a writing prompt. For example, older students could be asked to reflect on what they read and respond with a short essay on God's presence during a challenging season of their own life. Younger students might be asked to think of a time they were nervous or afraid but felt God was protecting them, and share it with the class.

View and download the reflection as a PDF or Word document.

ARTICLES

This year's Respect Life Program features ten articles on various topics. These articles are especially helpful as educational tools for higher grade levels. Each article is available as a webpage or can be downloaded and printed. The articles can be used to integrate Catholic moral teaching into a variety of academic topics: religion, social studies, science, health, etc. 

Each article is available in a variety of formats: printed brochure, downloadable PDF, and text-only Microsoft Word file. Find the list of titles on the articles page, or navigate to a specific article using the "Articles" tab in the toolbar at the top of the page.

INTERCESSIONS

Prayer is the basis of all our efforts to build a culture of life. 

The provided intercessions are appropriate for use during Mass in the Prayer of the Faithful. Consider using them during a Respect Life Mass with your school community. October is a great time for a Respect Life Mass, but several intentions can be used throughout the year. 

If you open your classes in prayer, incorporate one or more of the intercessions, and invite students to add their own prayer intentions related to the sanctity of human life. Perhaps you could send home weekly or monthly prayer intentions for families to pray for at home. Select one of the following intercessions and encourage students to pray for the intention with their parents.

For all Catholics:
That during this Respect Life Month
we may recommit ourselves
to upholding the dignity
of every human life;
We pray to the Lord:

That during this Respect Life Month
our hope in Christ’s resurrection
will strengthen us in protecting
the gift of human life;
We pray to the Lord:

"...in our daily prayer as individuals and as a community, praise and bless God our Father, who knitted us together in our mother's womb..."

Evangelium vitae, 84

That the life of every human person, 

from conception to natural death, 

might be protected in our laws

and cherished in our hearts;

We pray to the Lord:  

For women and men suffering after abortion:

May the Church’s abortion healing ministry

help them find peace and healing 

through Christ’s endless mercy;

We pray to the Lord:

For those nearing the end of life:
May they receive care that respects their dignity
and protects their lives
as they place their hope
in the promise of eternal life;
We pray to the Lord:

May God grant us the wisdom and courage
to lovingly protect His gift of human life
at every stage, in sickness and in health;
We pray to the Lord:

Looking for more intercessions to incorporate in your classroom year-round?

 

Check out our series of Action Guides, which each include additional intercessions that are connected to annual observances and liturgical feasts.

HOMILY NOTES

Homily notes are provided to help priests and deacons illustrate the Gospel of Life through the Lectionary readings for Respect Life Sunday (October 6, 2019). Each section can be used to supplement a reflection on a particular reading. Or, the entire document could be used as a complete homily to help unpack the 2019–2020 Respect Life theme (“Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life”).

 

If you are planning a Respect Life Mass at your school, share these homily notes with your priest. While the Mass will likely not be on Respect Life Sunday, these notes can still help him unpack the theme for the year.

In the week leading up to Respect Life Sunday, consider highlighting one of the Sunday readings during class each day. Use the provided homily notes to help make Respect Life connections. This is a great way to kickoff Respect Life Month!

Find additional homily notes for various occasions throughout the year in our Action Guides.

SAMPLE ACTIVITY

This activity invites students to create their own Respect Life poster to help them further unpack the theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life.” 

 

Each student receives a poster template with an empty bulletin board. They are then instructed to fill the bulletin board with images and/or words that represent respect for life from the beginning of life to its end.

 

For younger students, they can be asked to color, draw pictures, or write about what reminds them of God's presence in every season of life. Older students can be asked to bring in items and photos that represent Respect Life themes and attach them to their bulletin board. Or, bring in an old stack of magazines and have students cut out words and photos. They can also write their own prayer intentions on their bulletin board.

*This activity can also be completed as a group. Check out our October Action Guide for instructions for a parish setting, and adapt it for your classroom or school. 

The buttons above open the blank poster template as a double-sided PDF with instructions.

MORE IDEAS

If you're looking for even more ideas for your classroom, check out our Action Guides. Liturgical celebrations and other annual calendar occasions provide natural opportunities to help build a culture of life throughout the year.

 

Five new action guides have been developed to help Church, education, and ministry leaders take advantage of opportunities to highlight and integrate Respect Life themes throughout the year. 

The action guides are structured around five main calendar occasions: Respect Life Month (October 2019), the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children and related events (January 2020), the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the 25ᵗʰ Anniversary of Evangelium vitae (March 2020), Divine Mercy Sunday (April 2020), and Mother’s Day (May 2020).

While the action guides were developed with parish Respect Life coordinators in mind, each guide includes ideas for adaption. Many of the ideas, resources, and activities can also be applied in a school or classroom setting.

Each guide can be accessed and downloaded individually by navigating to the "Action Guides" tab in the toolbar at the top of the page. All the action guides are also available by ordering the full Resource Guide.

Models used for illustrative purposes only. Photos courtesy of Wix.com. Excerpts from Evangelium vitae © 1995, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved.