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©2019 by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

LEADERS' KIT

Priests and Deacons

This leaders' kit is provided to help priests and deacons build a culture of life in their parishes throughout the year. This year’s theme and Respect Life Program cycle kicked off with Respect Life Month, but continues through September 2020. We hope this helps you integrate Respect Life themes throughout the year, whenever they best fit into the life of your parish.

The provided resources, ideas, and activities are only suggestions. We encourage you to adapt them as necessary for your parish community. Feel free to get creative as you build "an authentic civilization of truth and love" (Evangelium vitae, 6).

RESPECT LIFE MONTH STATEMENT

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement in observance of Respect Life Month. His statement highlighted this year’s theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life.”

Consider reading it yourself and reflecting on what you can do in your role to help build a culture of life among the flock God has entrusted to your care. You are also welcome to use it to inspire your own reflection to share with your parish community.

This statement can be accessed and downloaded online.

REFLECTION

The Respect Life reflection unpacks this year's theme, "Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life." It explains that life is gift from God and the various challenges we encounter—especially when our lives are most vulnerable—are opportunities to grow closer to God through the virtue of Christian hope.

 

You can use the reflection to help inspire a homily highlighting Respect Life topics any time of year. 

The reflection could also be used as the basis for a talk for parishioners or a weekly "Pastor's Corner" in the bulletin.

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

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. Several of these intentions can be used throughout the year. 

These intercessions could also be included in lists of prayer intentions published in the bulletin. Or, if you have a regular Holy Hour or parish Rosary, consider including them among the opening or closing prayers.

For all Catholics:
That on this Respect Life Sunday
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 use in your parish year-round?

 

Check out our series of Action Guides, which each include additional intercessions that are connected to annual observances and liturgical feasts. You can also subscribe to our monthly parish liturgical resource, Word of Life.

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”).

Consider using these notes as a general framework to which you can add your own reflections, anecdotes, and insights to make it your own.

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

BULLETIN

BOXES

This year's Respect Life Program features ten new bulletin boxes. These bulletin boxes are summaries of longer articles that are perfect for including in your weekly parish bulletin or other regular newsletters. They are perfect for use when space is at a premium! (Each bulletin box also includes a web address for those who would like to read the full article.)

Consider featuring a different bulletin box in the bulletin each month. You can also mention the Respect Life topic highlighted in the bulletin during your homily. These article summaries cover a wide range of Respect Life topics, and many are pastorally focused.

The bulletin boxes are available in English and Spanish and can be previewed and downloaded from our 'Articles' page

HOMILY CONSIDERATIONS

REGARDING HEALING AFTER ABORTION

By the age of 45, as many as 1 in 3 women have had an abortion, and a similar number of men and family members have been involved. Because of this, some members of the clergy are hesitant to preach about Respect Life topics, particularly abortion. Sometimes they avoid this topic for fear of causing pain to those in their parish community who have been wounded by an abortion experience.

However, the merciful words of a priest or deacon can be a pivotal moment in the healing process. Many wrongly believe that abortion is “the unforgivable sin.” They may be longing to hear that God desires to forgive every sin of those who are sorry, even the sin of abortion.

We have put together a set of Homily Considerations Regarding Healing After Abortion to help equip priests and deacons to address these topics in their homily and proclaim the Lord's mercy to those who are in need of a message of hope and healing.

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.