In October, we celebrate Respect Life Month, but every single day in our shared Catholic faith is a day to promote the dignity and sacredness of all people.
What does it mean to respect life? The first thought that often comes to mind is the United States’ movement to end abortion. While as a community, state, country and, most importantly, a church, we should never cease fighting for an end to abortion, we need to recognize that respecting life must include — and go beyond — fighting for the rights of the unborn.
At Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, all of our ministries center around respecting the lives and the human dignity of those we serve. Our founding ministry, adoption, matches children from birth to 6 months of age with their forever families. For those who choose to parent, we advise and connect them with community resources to help prepare for a healthy birth and beyond.
Catholic Charities preserves the dignity of families through food and nutrition assistance, financial assistance and programs aimed at ending the cycle of poverty through employment, higher education and advanced skills training. Shalom House provides a dignified, safe place for up to 60 men experiencing homelessness. It serves as a sanctuary of hope as they engage in long-term programming to change the trajectory of their lives.
Welcoming the stranger is not political despite what our mainstream media would like each of us to believe. For nearly 50 years, Catholic Charities has welcomed the stranger through our refugee resettlement, citizenship and immigration services. These families seek refuge much like Joseph, Mary and Jesus once sought refuge. They add sincere value to their communities, schools, workplaces and economies.
Through our Foster Grandparent Program, we value the experience and knowledge of older adults. They gain a sense of purpose as they volunteer with children who have special or exceptional needs, providing nurturing, guidance and support.
This October, what is one respect life action that you could take? Below are a few suggestions.
- Volunteer your time or financially donate to one of our ministries.
- Assess within your own family the ways you promote the dignity of human life.
- Use your voting power to support legislation that motivates an end to abortion, moves to cease the death penalty and advocates for immigration reform.
- Pray often for our world to respect life at every stage.
Our archdiocese is a vibrant witness for the promotion and defense of protecting all life. October is a wonderful time to recognize and celebrate these efforts throughout our archdiocese and to challenge ourselves to become stronger advocates for the poor and vulnerable.