October is Respect Life Month – The Most Reverend Larry J. Kulick, JCL, Bishop of Greensburg
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During this Respect Life Month, I encourage you to join me for the annual Pennsylvania March for Life Rally and Mass Oct. 16. Five buses will transport the faithful to the Pennsylvania State Capitol for the day from various points in our four-county Diocese. I will be the main celebrant for Mass at Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg during this important day.
As Catholics, the march, rally, Mass and meeting with elected officials is an important opportunity for us to safeguard this preeminent social justice issue of supporting life at all stages – from conception until natural death.
I invite you to register for the march and rally here.
We must, as Catholics, continue to be vigilant every day in looking for opportunities to safeguard this preeminent social justice issue of supporting life at all stages – from conception until natural death.
That is why the annual March for Life is so very important for all of us. It is one of those important opportunities to advocate for the unborn, and we must act and speak up. There is no other position in the Catholic Church, or for someone who is Catholic, other than a position of pro-life. This isn’t human law – it’s divine law.
Because of our efforts and the efforts of the Catholic Church, we have been witnesses to much progress. Last year, we watched as Roe v. Wade was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. Year after year, the faithful were willing to use their voices in advocating for those who are unable to speak – the unborn.
Despite the progress, now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. If we retreat or remain silent, we guarantee a fast track to a continuation of policies against human dignity and an implicit acceptance of the evil of abortion.
Pro-life issues remain a priority for me, which is why I wrote a Pastoral Letter last year titled “Donum Vitae: The Gift of Life.” In it I wrote, “As disciples of Christ, we know life is a divinely designed gift given to us from God. This cherished gift allows humanity to build up and propagate the Kingdom of God. The right to life is preeminent. It is the fundamental right. As Bishop, and as a successor to the Apostles, asserting these teachings with clarity and without ambiguity is one of my most important pastoral responsibilities. I must clearly convey these teachings so that they are known and understood and so that there is no confusion on the part of the faithful when forming and informing conscience, in order to advocate for the truth in the world.”
My formation on pro-life issues came well before seminary, the priesthood and being ordained Bishop. In my early years, I participated in many pro-life marches and rallies, vigils and Masses. It was tradition and ingrained in me that we all need to be vocal stewards and advocates for human life issues with clarity and without ambiguity.
I often wonder if our younger Church is being formed in those same traditions and teachings. Despite having the world in the palm of their hands with information on demand, texting and liking or disliking social media posts, I sense a disconnect. However, I am delighted when I speak to the young Church and they tell me they want to learn more, and they want to pray more, and they want to be involved.
We have an important responsibility to keep our young church connected to these issues by providing them with a roadmap.
Over the years, I have been very happy to see young people participating in the annual Pennsylvania March for Life. Participation by our young church must be nurtured and encouraged.
Our young people tell me they want to be more prayerful and want to learn how to pray. We need to reach out to them and teach them. It is so important for parents, grandparents and great-grandparents to make our prayer life an example for the young Church to follow. Help them understand how we pray, why we pray, our devotions and why they are important in our faith lives, in our parishes and in our universal Church.
We must also talk about the dignity of all human life in our faith formation programs. We must teach the young that God’s Divine plan is not up for negotiation, and why. We must share our belief that life begins at conception and ends in natural death.
We must also teach the young to be responsible citizens. It is so important that we talk about the issues. We must help them to understand the positions of candidates and those holding office on the issues of the dignity of human life. One of the most important responsibilities we have as a means of advocating for the unborn is in the voting booth. Share with your children and grandchildren why they must register to vote and exercise this very important right we as citizens are blessed to have.
And finally, whether it’s at our kitchen tables or in our cars heading to a practice for soccer or football, it’s never too early to talk with our young people about Christ’s love for them and that they have been uniquely created in God’s image. As a parent or a grandparent, invite the young to attend a pro-life march or a rosary rally with you. As you set the example, we will pray that our young Church will follow.
During Respect Life Month, and throughout the year, I ask that you join me in praying for the younger people in our Diocese in asking that the Holy Spirit guide them in following our Church tradition on the dignity of all human life.
I would also ask that you join me in praying for the conversion of hearts and minds to protect the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death and for the salvation of souls so that we may experience the fullness of human life in eternity with Christ.