Jan. 22 marks the 42nd anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in the United States. On this somber anniversary, we come together in solidarity to pray for an end to abortion, for those mourning the loss of a child through abortion, for children in need of adoptive homes, for couples experiencing infertility and for an end to the use of the death penalty.
We take the opportunity at this time of year to remember that each human person is a beautiful gift from God, sacred from the moment of conception to natural death. It is up to us to show by our example that every person’s life and dignity must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition. This fundamental understanding leads us, as Catholics, to place the right to life as our first and most essential principle of human rights. And, it compels us to work toward greater respect for human life as part of our ongoing commitment to justice and peace.
With such great responsibility before us as members of the Body of Christ, it is important for us to come together to pray for the voiceless lives lost through the tragedy of abortion. The U.S. bishops are encouraging participation in the “9 Days for Life” novena to show nationwide solidarity in prayer Jan. 17-25. In addition to the prayer intentions, each day of the program raises awareness on issues such as domestic violence, post-abortion healing, pornography addiction and end-of-life matters. More information is available at www.9daysforlife.com and www.usccb.org/respectlife.
We pray that those carrying a new life have a healthy delivery, and that we do all we can to assist th em in the journey to parenthood.
We pray for new parents. As they embrace their newborns, may God grant them the grace to be primary educators of their children, teaching them the faith, bringing them to Mass each Sunday so they can develop a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ.
We also pray for our legislators to enact laws that uphold the dignity of each person through the whole of life. Our world cries out for justice and mercy. That is why, when my brother bishops in Minnesota and I outlined our legislative principles for this year, two key issues were included:
- Protecting each and every human life from conception until natural death. Minnesotans must effectively affirm, protect and defend each and every human life, including the unborn. We must limit the availability of abortion, particularly during the later stages of pregnancy; end taxpayer funding of abortion; and oppose attempts to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.
- Supporting women facing unplanned pregnancies with real alternatives. In addition to adequate financial and medical support, women facing a crisis pregnancy need access to emotional support and services that help them to parent or to place their child for adoption. We are blessed to have 13 crisis pregnancy centers serving the 16 counties of the Diocese of St. Cloud.
To build a culture of life, ongoing education, prayer and efforts to mobilize the Catholic community on issues of life, justice and peace are necessary. May the Good News of Jesus Christ inspire us as a faith community to celebrate, uphold and cherish the precious gift of human life — every human life.
+ Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud