Every year the US Catholic Bishops set aside October as Respect Life Month. This year our commemoration has special significance. The pandemic of the last year and a half has shown the fragility of life. To date, just under 700,000 Americans have met an untimely death because of COVID-19. For the first time in history, some states have recorded more deaths than births. Life is very fragile, and the unnecessary loss of any life is tragic. We must take every action possible both as individuals and a community to protect life at every stage from conception to natural death.
Protecting life has to go beyond only passing laws against abortion, euthanasia, and other practices that destroy life. We must set up a safety net to help children, the elderly, and the marginalized to enjoy the fullness of the gift of life. We must support the right to life of even some people we might find objectionable. Two groups who have particularly suffered in the Covid crisis have been those incarcerated in prison and refugees detained as they await possible acceptance into our country. Every life is precious to God and needs to be valued by everyone.
Celebrating life is also particularly important this year because of the possibility of the US Supreme Court reconsidering the Roe v Wade decision and our Massachusetts Legislature considering the legalization of euthanasia. Contact your Congressional and state representatives and express your support of every life.
Also appropriate is that this year is the Year of St. Joseph when we have been honoring Jesus’ foster-father. Mary’s conception of Jesus was very challenging for both Mary and Joseph. Yet, their openness to God’s grace helped them through many difficulties,
The bishops write:
During this Year of St. Joseph, each of us can find in him “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble” (PC, Intro). Joseph shows us how to say “yes” to life, despite our own fears, frailties, and weaknesses. For it is Joseph who was “chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true ‘miracle’ by which God saves the child and his mother” (PC 5).
May we, too, be miracles in the lives of those who are most in need, especially at the beginning and end of life. Dear St. Joseph, you who were “able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence” (PC 5), help us to imitate your faithful trust and courage.
Respect Life Kick-Off Conference
The Family and Respect Life Office plans an October Respect Life Month Kick-Off Conference for Saturday, October 9, 2021, from 8:30 AM-1:30 PM at St. Julie Billiart Church, 494 Slocum Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747. The day will begin with Mass, Morning Refreshments, Feature Talks, Q&A Panel Discussion, ending with a light lunch. There is a $5 entrance fee collected at the door. Please RSVP to the Family and Respect Life Office @ www.FamilyRespectLife.org or phone (508)669-7966 by October 5, 2021.
Please also save the date of Sunday, October 3, 2021. Bishop Edgar da Cunha will be the celebrant of the Annual Pro-life Month Mass at 10:30 AM at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Fall River. The Mass is in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus of the diocese.
Bishop Releases Pastoral Letter
On Friday, September 24, Bishop da Cunha issued his fourth pastoral letter, Journeying Together: With Jesus on the Path of Faith & Hope. The bishop shares,
“God is calling us to move forward and not stand still. My hope in this pastoral letter is to offer you a vision for how we can do this and how you can join us in moving forward into the future as a Diocese.”
The letter focuses on three areas: Invitational Witness, Sacramental Living, and Vocational Pathways, with each section offering mission steps-the actions that individuals, parish communities, and diocesan ministries need to take to make the vision a reality over the next four years. Please take the opportunity to review the letter along with the accompanying guidebook at www.fallriverdiocese.org/journeying-together.
Blessing of the Animals
Monday, October 4, is the Feast of St. Francis of Asissi. St. Francis is the patron of animals. Sunday at Noon, we will conduct our parish Blessing of Animals. Bring dog, cat, ferret, or any pet to our parking lot so Fr. Sullivan can bless them. Pets are so loyal and loving. They are God’s gifts of companionship for us.
Scientific Evidence of God
The secular world often tries to contend there is a conflict between faith and science. They overlook the reality that many great scientists have been and are people of faith. The Catholic Schools Alliance of the Diocese of Fall River is sponsoring a talk by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, on There is Scientific Evidence of God’s Existence. The lecture will be held at the Bishop Connolly High School Auditorium, 373 Elsbree Street, Fall River, MA, on Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 7-8:30 PM. There is no admission charge. The topic is interesting to students in grades 6-12, college students, parents, grandparents, and educators.
Fr. Spitzer is a renowned Jesuit philosopher of ontology and science. He has made numerous television appearances on programs such as Larry King Live, The Today Show, The History Channel’s “God and the Universe, PBS “Closer to the Truth,” and his own EWTN series “Father Spitzer’s Universe.” To reserve a seat, RSVP to email@example.com or call (508) 687-7301.
Bereavement Ministry Plans New Series
“We do not grieve as those who have no hope.”
The Holy Redeemer Bereavement Ministry holds its next series of support group sessions, “Journey from Grief to Hope,” in the Parish Center beginning Tuesday, October 5, from 10:00 AM-11:30 AM. Sessions will be held for six weeks. The death of a loved one is an intense and painful experience for most people. Having the proper support makes all the difference, and here at Holy Redeemer, we want to make the difference by reaching out and helping members and families through their grief.
Participants will follow CDC COVID guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing.
Attendees, RSVP to Marilyn Whelden at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-776-6795.