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40 DAYS FOR LIFE: All Life Deserves to Be Protected

by: Kathryn Danehy – Coordinator: Respect Life Ministry

When we say Respect Life, the first thing most of us think of is the protection of the unborn, specifically abortion. The concern of Christ and the Catholic Church for the suffering of the world is not limited to any one group of people, born or unborn. Our deep and active concern must be directed for all. In the words of St. John Paul II, “we are all really responsible for all”. We are not meant to rank pro-life, social justice and peace issues; we are to link them. It is what the Catholic Church calls the “consistent life ethic”.

The late head of the USCCB’s Secretariat for prolife activities, Cardinal Joseph Bernadin was a champion of the history of the early church’s consistent prolife ethic, encouraging the protection of the right to life and promotion of rights from womb to tomb.

We as Catholic Christians cannot ignore the Lords call to consistently build up the kingdom of God, as in Matthew’s Gospel where the hungry are fed, the thirsty are refreshed , the strangers are welcomed, the naked are clothed, the sick are cared for and the prisoners are visited.

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During a time when we see the senseless destruction of life and the celebration of the killing of the unborn, we are all called to be a voice for the voiceless. As mother Teresa said “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of war, of hatred, if a mother can kill her own child what is left for us but to kill each other?”

The Respect Life Ministry at St. John is dedicated to working within our parish along with other ministries and our community to educate and actively engage one another in the many aspects of the Respect Life Movement. From cradle to grave there is not one life more precious or valuable.

Respecting life first and foremost means the protection of the unborn, the most innocent and vulnerable of all life. With the brutal end of life through abortion of almost 1,000,000 children each year in the United States alone and 55,000,000 babies worldwide, abortion is the leading cause of death in the world ahead of heart disease and cancer and a significant factor in post-abortive issues in both women and men. The primary goal of respect life is to acknowledge the personhood of the unborn and the inherent dignity of each and every human being. For those who have experienced abortion (by conservative estimates one in every four men and women); Project Rachel and other healing ministries seek to heal the often deeply buried wound of abortion and offer forgiveness, wholeness and peace.

Once we are able to acknowledge the uniqueness and personhood of the unborn, we then are called to extend this respect and compassion for all others: those who are marginalized in society, the differently-able, those with special needs, individuals and families dealing with mental illness, the homeless, the immigrant, those in prison, the death row inmate, victims of human trafficking, the elderly, each and every person made in the image and likeness of God.

How can YOU Participate?

First and foremost we are called to prayer for the protection of life. One can pray privately or join in the many other opportunities to actively engage in pro-life prayer. Come attend silent prayer time in the Adoration chapel, pray at the abortion clinic the fourth Saturday of every month, and most importantly beginning September 25th through November 3rd, join locally in the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil at the Fort Myers Planned Parenthood. 40 Days for Life is a global movement which has succeeded in closing over 100 clinics, saving the lives of over 16,000 babies and helping almost 200 abortion workers quit the industry throughout the world; check out their website

  • Attend our special prayer vigils during scheduled death penalty executions to pray for an end to the death penalty.
  • Educate yourself. Prolife? Prochoice? Unsure? We have many resources that can help you make an informed decision.
  • Sign up for updates on legislative action to allow your voice to be heard with our local, state and federal government. A postcard campaign will be held late 2019/early 2020.
  • Add your name to our parish mailing list to find out about opportunities for involvement within our parish. To learn more about Catholic Church teachings, please visit

October begins RESPECT LIFE MONTH. Take time to pray, discern and find where God is calling you to be in the fight for life.