October is the month to honoring Mary and rosary

heather    The month of October is dedicated to Mary as the month of the holy rosary. It is also during this month that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calls for everyone to participate in the 41st annual Respect Life Month through prayer, advocacy and education.
    This year’s theme for Respect Life Month is “Faith Opens Our Eyes to Human Life in All Its Grandeur and Beauty.”
    Today, there seems to be decay and a gradual erosion in this foundational principle of human dignity and life. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston released a statement encouraging the fostering of education and advocacy for the respect of life. He also noted that the trend for the disregard of human life began in the medical neglect of those with fatal diseases and disabilities and has progressed to an active approach to end the lives of those considered to be a burden.
    There is a common misconception that when Catholics say they are pro-life, it means that they are against abortion. While that is true, being pro-life goes much beyond the abortion issue.
    Our government continues to fund stem cell research that destroys human embryos – human lives. Some doctors promote methods for voluntary euthanasia, claiming that all people have the right to die. Cardinal DiNardo also referenced a “fertility” procedure that successfully implants embryos and then allows parents to selectively reduce “excess” children through induced heart attacks.
    Since when have we become entitled to act as God? In addition, quite soon, Catholic institutions will be mandated to require contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as a part of an employee health plan.
    Despite such negativity and bleak visions of our society, Cardinal DiNardo does point to a sign of hope: the national abortion rate is decreasing steadily, declining by more than 29 percent since 1990. Most encouraging, the Centers for Disease Control reported that the teenage abortion rate has fallen by 55 percent since 1990.
    In addition to abortion rates, many Americans are increasingly identifying as pro-life, with many pro-life laws being passed at state levels. Furthermore, young adults, in particular, are becoming increasingly active through social media in promoting life. The campaign “You Matter” aims to build awareness and trust among young adults undergoing emotional crises or distress. On Facebook, there are a multitude of pro-life groups and communities, with young adults actively promoting pro-life messages.
    This month, in addition to praying for our nation, we should begin encouraging Catholics to learn and grow in their understanding of their faith so that they can live out the church’s teachings in a more meaningful way.
    At the end of each Mass, the priest or deacon says, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace.” At the end of each Mass, we are encouraged to go out into our community and live our faith as examples of Christ’s love and by enacting his teachings. The only way for us to combat the culture of death is with life and love. By understanding the church’s teachings, we are fully able to enact the love that the church teaches, and with that love comes conversion.
    Turn to Mary during this month and pray the rosary, asking for the conversion of our nation, its leaders, and those who have forgotten the foundational principle of human dignity and life.
    Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at hbozantwitcher@clarionherald.org.

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