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My dear friends in Christ:
The month of October is annually observed by the Catholic Church in the United States as Respect Life Month. We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.
Yet this year, as we approach Respect Life Sunday on October 7, our hearts are heavy with revelations of how those who should be most trustworthy have not only failed in this regard but have inflicted immense evil. As USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed, "the Body of Christ is lacerated."
At such a time as this, we become even more aware of the need for messengers of God's love and instruments of His healing. We realize again, with renewed urgency, our personal call to help others encounter God's transforming, life-giving love and to defend the sanctity of every person's life, at every stage and in every circumstance.
This year's Respect Life theme is "Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent," highlighting our call to build a culture of life as missionary disciples. Drawing upon the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, this theme is briefly unpacked in a short reflection. I humbly invite you to read and reflect on it this Respect Life Month (www.usccb.org/respect-life-reflection). (There are also many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife that are available for use this month and throughout the year.)
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us, "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. …If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it" (1 Cor 12:12,26).
We are called and sent 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. The Body of Christ needs you. The world needs you.
Cardinal Dolan is Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop of New York. Please visit www.usccb.org/respectlife to learn more about this year's Respect Life Program.
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