2015-16 Respect Life Program
By Anne McGuire
September 18, 2015
How to celebrate Respect Life Month
Respect Life Sunday (October 4th) marks the
beginning of Respect Life Month and the beginning of the U.S. bishops' annual
Respect Life Program which continues through the following September. The U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has designated Respect Life Month as a
special time to reflect on life issues and to pray for and promote greater
respect for all human life. At the same time, our efforts in this area must
reach beyond one Sunday or one month of the year.
updated 2001 version of their Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign
in Support of Life, the bishops said: "[W]e renew our call for individual
Catholics and the many institutions and organizations of the Church to unite in
an unprecedented effort to restore respect and legal protection for every human
As part of
this effort, the Respect Life Program was launched in 1972 and responds to the
need of parishes, schools, and other ministries for basic presentations on life
issues. It provides resources designed to be helpful to those in leadership
positions as well as others.
2015-16 Respect Life Program Materials
year's theme, "Every Life is Worth Living," is especially timely in light of
the renewed push for legalizing assisted suicide in many states, but is also
applicable to the wide spectrum of life issues. The theme is displayed on a
22" x 17" poster and unpacked in a positive, one-page flyer. The
flyer is ideal for use as a bulletin insert and can also be posted on a school
or parish bulletin board. The flyer and poster are both double-sided, with
Spanish and English on the reverse sides.
The set of
seven new Respect Life articles, available in pamphlet form, uses personal
accounts, quotes, and practical tips to encourage respect for the life of each
person while addressing a variety of topics: supporting a friend with an
unexpected pregnancy, terminal illness, chastity, the dignity of persons with
disabilities, sterilization, and prenatal diagnosis. These articles can be
ordered in English or Spanish and are also available online as bulletin inserts
(in a new format from previous years).
year's Prayer & Program Guide includes suggestions for a parish or school
display, suggested homily notes and intentions, a discussion guide for this
year's articles, and resources for the bishops' annual pro-life novena
surrounding the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, "9 Days for
prayer card, based on this year's theme, is also included in this year's materials
and is conveniently sized to fit in wallets.
materials are also posted at USCCB.org/RespectLife, along with this year's
Respect Life Month Statement by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap.,
chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and a catalog of the
USCCB's other pro-life resources. Other online-only resources are also
Observance and Activities for Respect Life
Month and Throughout the Year
many ways to use the materials as a springboard for personal use, familial
participation, activities within the classroom, parish, or youth ministry, and
more. Each suggestion for a particular venue could be adapted for other venues
use: Read one article each week, month, etc., and take some time to reflect
upon and/or journal about it and its effect on your life. Carry the prayer card
with you in your wallet to pray daily.
Participation: Pick a related activity to do as a family from the section in
the Prayer and Program Guide titled "Coffee and Conversation."
Host a contest during Respect Life Month based on this year's theme. Categories
might include art, short stories, essays, poetry, photography, short videos,
Use "Coffee and Conversation" to host a one-time discussion group, or a
seven-week series to cover all the articles.
Ministry: Engage teens in 9 Days for Life using the Prayer & Program Guide,
as well as the numerous resources that will be available at 9DaysForLife.com.
McGuire is the assistant director for education and outreach for the
secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the United States Conference of Catholic
Life Information and Ordering
information about the 2015-16 Respect Life Program materials, including how to
order, please visit USCCB.org/RespectLife. For more information about the
bishops' other pro-life efforts, please visit USCCB.org/Prolife. Many resources
are available in both English and Spanish.
Originally printed in the
October 2015 issue of Catechist magazine. Printed with permission. For more
information, visit Catechist.com.