Pastoral Letter for Life, Fall 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Hamilton Diocese,
Each year on the first Sunday in October, LIFE CHAIN invites church communities in cities and towns across North America to stand on a designated local sidewalk and pray for life. This year, on October 5th, thousands of people will hold signs as a reminder that abortion is harmful to all those involved, in particular mothers and children. In silence and prayer, people will stand in solidarity, a reminder of the absolute value of all life.
Life is precious – a simple statement with profound meaning. For those of us who view the world through eyes of faith, it is easy to understand the value of life because we know each person is created in the image and likeness of God. Each is precious and worthy because we are His, whether young or old, healthy or sick, famous or not!
So what does it mean for us to know that life is precious? It means we are beloved since we are God's children, valued because Jesus paid the ultimate price in dying for our sins and unique, since every person is created distinct from all others. God knows and loves us even before we are born.
We live in communion as members of the one body of Christ. We are the Church and, as Pope Francis said at a recent general audience, "By illuminating our path with the light of the Gospel and by sustaining us with the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the Church nurtures us throughout life. This nourishment enables us to "choose the good," to be "vigilant against evil and deceit," and "overcome the difficult moments of life with courage and hope."
We who are precious in His sight are called to choose life, at times with courage and hope. We are called, as Pope Francis reminds us, to be vigilant against those who suggest that not every life is worthy of protection and that some are more valuable than others. Living in communion with all our brothers and sisters means caring for those who are vulnerable, insisting that every human person, - young or old, strong or weak, born or unborn – must be valued and protected. Whatever the age or stage of a person's life, or their physical or mental capacity, they are precious to God and so they must be precious to us.
So I ask each of you to pray for life, today and every day. I ask you to consider participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign happening in various areas of the Diocese until November 2nd. I also ask you to consider contributing your time, talent or monetary donation to a prolife agency to aid them in their important mission, be it education, advocacy or practical care. Together we can encourage our world to appreciate the value of life.
In the words of Pope Francis, "Caring for life from the beginning to the end - what a simple thing, what a beautiful thing...So, go forth and don't be discouraged. Care for life. It's worth it."
Sincerely in Christ and Mary Immaculate,
(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby,
OMI Bishop of Hamilton