The Dignity of Life

01-19-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence.”

Pope Francis spoke those words not long ago. He was speaking of something that we, as Catholics, believe quite deeply – that every human being is sacred, created in the image and likeness of God, and has a God given right to life.

This Wednesday will be the 47th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand in our country. The statistics since then are staggering with well over 53 million abortions since that time. While the number of annual abortions has actually declined in recent years for a number of reason, the lives of nearly a million unborn babies are ended this way in our country each year. Add to that the fact that so many other lives are shattered by violence, hunger, and neglect and it is clear that we have much work to do.

Because of this, Wednesday is a special Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children in our country. Everyone is asked to say a special prayer that day. Giving up a food you like that day, attending Daily Mass that morning, or doing some act of charity, perhaps for a place that helps mothers and children such as Catholic Charities or Life Choices-are all good things to do that day. Another good thing is sending a message to our congressional representatives about the sacredness of human life.

This Friday I will attend the Right to Life March in Washington, DC with a bus load of people from our parish. We will join hundreds of thousands of people to tell all the world that we believe in the dignity of human life. Pope Francis put it best-as he often does-saying: “every human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.”

The Holy Father certainly knows of what he speaks in this regard. While Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he regularly visited and celebrated Mass in some of the poorest slums in the world. He is well aware that some people live very difficult lives, but still believes their lives are precious, sacred, and deserving of our respect and help. The pope also practices what he preaches-not only advocating for the poor and unborn, but also inviting homeless people to lunch at the Vatican, visiting the imprisoned, and taking every opportunity to show his respect for the life of every human being. May we find concrete ways to follow his example-bringing food for the poor, serving at the soup kitchen, visiting elderly relatives, praying near abortion clinics, and going out of our way to show that we truly value every person that God has chosen to create.

Remember that next Sunday is the newly established Sunday of the Word of God. Everyone is invited to bring Bibles to Holy Mass to have them blessed. We will also have pamphlets about praying with the Word of God to distribute.

Please say a Hail Mary for me today and every day. I make a point of praying for all of you. It is a pleasure to be your parish priest, and I appreciate all the help that so many of you give me; especially by means of your prayers.

Have a great week!

Fr. John