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©2019 by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

LEADERS' KIT

Youth Ministry

This leaders' kit is provided to help youth ministry leaders build a culture of life during Respect Life Month (October) and throughout the year. However, even if you aren’t able to utilize these ideas and resources during October, they can can be used at any time. This year’s theme and Respect Life Program cycle kicks 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 your youth ministry programming.

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

POSTER

Consider hanging the 2019-2020 Respect Life poster in your youth room or regular meeting space during Respect Life Month (October), and use it to introduce the Church's teaching on the dignity of the human person. Or, hang it up at another time when you're planning to highlight Respect Life themes.

 

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 youth ministry meeting 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 together to open a larger discussion or lead into a time of prayer, possibly before the Blessed Sacrament. Or, it could also be used as a small group prompt, with a series of discussion questions.

For example: 

  • What was a challenging time in your life when you felt God was with you?

  • How has a season of pain or suffering helped you to grow in your relationship with the Lord?

  • What are some ways that human life at its most vulnerable stages is attacked?  

  • What does Christ's Incarnation as an infant in Mary's womb reveal to us about the dignity of children who are still in their mothers' wombs? 

  •  What do you think it means to say that "the one who has hope lives differently" (Spe salvi 2)?

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. Consider using them during a regular youth Mass, on Respect Life Sunday (October 6), or throughout Respect Life Month. Additionally, several of these intentions can be used throughout the year. 

If you open or close your gatherings 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 each youth home with a specific intention to pray for throughout Respect Life Month and encourage them to pray for the intention with their families.

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 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.

ARTICLES

This year's Respect Life Program features ten articles on various topics. These articles are especially helpful as catechetical tools and discussion starters. Each article is available as a webpage or can be downloaded and printed. The articles can be helpful in illustrating the application of Catholic moral teaching in real-life scenarios. They can also be used to demonstrate a pastoral response to those facing challenging circumstances.

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.

SAMPLE ACTIVITY

Respect Life Bulletin Board

This activity* utilizes the Respect Life Program poster to help unpack the theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life.” The idea is to hang the Respect Life Program poster in the center of a large bulletin board or other prominent area with space around it. Then, invite members of your youth group to add their own items illustrating and unpacking the Respect Life theme to the board or to the surrounding area.

For a youth group setting, consider having a stack of old magazines on hand that can be used for clipping words and photos that can be posted to the Respect Life display.

You can find this activity in our Respect Life Month Action Guide, or download the printable version using the button to the right.

*This activity can also be completed individually. Download the blank poster template as a double-sided PDF with instructions to allow each youth to create their own display. 

MORE IDEAS

If you're looking for even more ideas for your youth ministry, 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, Catholic 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 ministry 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 and Spe salvi © 2007, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved.