My Dear Parishioners,
October is annually observed as Respect Life Month in Catholic Churches across our nation. Human life is under constant attack in our culture today; from the moment of conception to natural death. Life is threatened because we no longer understand what it means to be human, and what our humanity calls forth from us in our responsibility to care for other persons. St. John Paul II in his encyclical the Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, EV) tells us that “For the Christian, it is an absolute imperative to respect, love and promote the life of every brother and sister, in accordance with the requirements of God’s bountiful love in Jesus Christ.” n. 77
Here is a reflection on the theme for Respect Life 2018.
Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent
In 1531, when the indigenous peoples of Mexico were subjugated and the practice of human sacrifice was still a recent memory, the Mother of God appeared to St. Juan Diego as a pregnant native woman, now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
She sent him with miraculous flowers in his cloak to tell the bishop to build a church where people could receive her Son and her loving, tender care. When St. Juan Diego opened the cloak before the bishop, an image of Our Lady was revealed that remains to this day. The chapel was quickly built, millions embraced Christianity, and the Church increased its protection of the indigenous peoples.
By embracing the mission entrusted to him, St. Juan Diego helped bring Christ’s transforming love to cultures gripped by oppression and death.
Today, we again see the dignity of human life disregarded. Unborn children are destroyed through abortion, and ill people are encouraged and assisted to take their own lives. How do we respond?
The essence of our identity is that we are created in God’s image and likeness and loved by Him. Nothing can diminish the priceless worth of any human life. Every person is cherished.
God creates every person for eternal union with Himself and continually invites us to embrace a loving relationship with Him. Every person is chosen.
We are called to be messengers of God’s love, treating one another as cherished and chosen by Him. In doing so, we help build a culture that respects all human life. Every person is sent.
Like St. Juan Diego, let us embrace our daily mission to help others encounter God’s transforming, life-giving love.
October is also the time when we have our “October Count” during Mass. We count all those in attendance at all of our Saturday night and Sunday Masses and forward those numbers to the Archdiocese. Please pardon the additional clicking noise during Mass, and thank you to our ushers for taking the count.
Finally I want to invite everyone to our 40 Hours Celebration. This is a special time that we set aside to worship Jesus in the Eucharist. It will take place on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, October 14-16. Adoration will begin after the last Mass of the day and continue through to Evening Prayer with Benediction at 7:00 p.m. each day. Our homilist is Fr. Timothy Christy, the Vicar General and the Vicar for Evangelization and Communication for the diocese of Metuchen, NJ. There will be no public recitation of the Rosary that Monday night.
God Bless You!