LEADERS' KIT

Youth Ministry

This leaders’ kit is provided to help youth ministry leaders build a culture of life throughout the year. Each year’s theme and Respect Life Program kicks off with Respect Life Month (October), but continues through the following September. 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 Respect Life poster in your youth room or regular meeting space, and use it to introduce the Church's teaching on the dignity of the human person.

 

Order or download today!

REFLECTION

The Respect Life reflection unpacks the year’s Respect Life theme. You can use the reflection to help inspire a youth ministry meeting highlighting Respect Life topics. 

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 does it mean to live out the Gospel of Life?

  • Why is life often most vulnerable at its beginning and end? What particularly threatens the unborn and the elderly?

  • What does Christ's sacrifice on the Cross reveal about the dignity of the human person?  

  • 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 are some ways you can personally live out the Gospel of life?

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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 in a Mass being celebrated during a youth event or at a parish Mass where you know many youth will be present.

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 the week and encourage them to pray for the intention with their families.

For all Catholics:
That on this Respect Life Sunday
our resolve may be strengthened
to uphold the dignity
of every human life;
We pray to the Lord:

 

That during this Respect Life Month
our resolve will be strengthened

to cherish and protect
the gift of every 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 person,
from conception to natural death,
will 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,

Project Rachel, 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

Our library of Respect Life 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 Poster to help create an interactive Respect Life bulletin board. 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 to the board (or to the surrounding area) that illustrate and unpack the Respect Life theme.

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.

*This activity can also be completed individually. Download the blank bulletin board 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.

 

Six 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 six main calendar occasions: Respect Life Month, the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Divine Mercy Sunday, Mother's Day and Father's Day.

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.

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. 

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©2020 by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.