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Bishop Burbidge at Mass for Respect Life Month: Bring faith to public arena

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A Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life was celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville Oct. 11 as part of October’s Respect Life Month. 

The theme this year, “Live the Gospel of Life,” commemorates Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “The Gospel of Life,” written 25 years ago. 

“The task that is ours, as St. John Paul II repeatedly stated, is ‘to love, respect and promote the sacredness of all human life, for there is no true freedom where life is not welcomed and loved,’ ” said Bishop Burbidge.

“Sadly, we must acknowledge that life is not always welcomed and loved in our nation, as the lives of innocent children in the womb are taken daily through the evil of abortion. For that reason, the bishops of the United States have reaffirmed that ‘the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself; because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family; and because of the overwhelming number of lives destroyed each day.’ ” 

He continued, “For those who have participated in the act of abortion, remember that no evil or sin is greater than God’s mercy and healing love. ... For those suffering the trauma and wounds of participating in abortion, please know that God makes his blessings available to you through our diocesan Project Rachel program and our Catholic Charities counseling services that are always ready to assist you.”

Respecting life means upholding the dignity of all persons, Bishop Burbidge said, including the elderly, those with disabilities, the inmate, the immigrant, the marginalized, and the most vulnerable “as well as in our confronting other serious threats to the dignity of all persons, such as racism and poverty.”

Bishop Burbidge urged the congregation to “treasure and care for the life that is yours; to defend the sacredness of all human life at every stage; to respect the dignity of all human persons; and to bring your voice and faith into the public arena. In all these ways, you ‘Live the Gospel of Life.’ ”

Amy McInerny, diocesan Respect Life director, said, “While October has long been observed in the United States as Respect Life Month, I am particularly grateful that today at this Mass, perhaps more importantly than ever in these very challenging times when we are all a bit wearied by the fear and division we see around us, that we can join together with our Bishop in unity and charity to proclaim the Gospel of Life.

“I like to remember that we are baptized into Christ priest, prophet and king, and so have a special duty and ability to be a light in the darkness,” McInerny added. “Our world needs prophets now more than ever. If we don’t stand for the dignity of life, who will protect the most vulnerable?”

“Perhaps now, more than ever, it is necessary for Americans to be reminded of the inherent value of every human being,” said Therese Bermpohl, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Respect Life. “It is time to renew our commitment to defending the unborn and the marginalized and in doing so we must also be heralds of mercy and love to those who have been involved with abortion and who have despaired of God’s forgiveness.”

Find out more

To contact the Respect Life Office, go to arlingtondiocese.org/family-life/respect-life-office or email respectlife@arlingtondiocese.org.

To contact Project Rachel, go to arlingtondiocese.org/helpafterabortion.

To contact Catholic Charities, go to ccda.net.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020