Message values the weak and vulnerable as “masterpieces of God’s creation … Care for Life. It’s worth it.” – Pope Francis
In a special message to Catholics across Ireland and Britain ahead of the Catholic Church’s annual Day for Life, Pope Francis has emphasised the need to care for life from conception to natural end. The 2013 Day for Life message focuses on care for unborn children and their mothers; care for people who are elderly and care for those who are suicidal and their families. One of its key aims is to build an environment of compassion and care that nurtures and sustains life, even in the most challenging of human events and personal circumstances.
In his message, Pope Francis says that all life has inestimable value “even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live for ever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” He has promised his prayers that “Day for Life will help to ensure that human life always receives the protection that it is due.”
The theme of this year’s Day for Life is ‘Care for Life – It’s Worth It’. This theme is taken from a homily delivered in 2005 by Pope Francis, when as Cardinal Bergoglio he preached during a Mass in honour of the protector of Pregnant Women, Saint Raymond Nonnatus.
Within this homily, the now Pope Francis said: “All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth … to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others. 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.”
Text of the Message from Pope Francis to Catholics in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales
“Calling to mind the teaching of Saint Irenaeus that the glory of God is seen in a living human being, the Holy Father encourages all of you to let the light of that glory shine so brightly that everyone may come to recognise the inestimable value of all human life. Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live for ever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect. His Holiness prays that the Day for Life will help to ensure that human life always receives the protection that is its due, so that “everything that breathes may praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).”
Notes to Editors
- Day for Life is celebrated annually in Ireland on the first Sunday of October which this year falls on Sunday 6 October. Day for Life was initiated by Pope John Paul II, to encourage the Catholic Church worldwide to promote and celebrate the sacredness of life. In his 1995 Encyclical Letter,Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the late Pope John Paul II proposed that “a day for life be celebrated each year in every country.” The primary purpose of this day should be “to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church, and in civil society, recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition” (EV #85).
- Day for Life is the day dedicated to celebrating the dignity of life from conception to natural death. Since 2001, the following themes have been chosen to celebrate the annual ‘Day for Life’:
2001: Proclaiming the Gospel of Life
2002: End of Life Care – ethical and Pastoral Issues
2003: The Wonder of Life, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II
2004: Life is for Living – A Reflection on suicide
2005: Cherishing the Evening of Life
2006: Celebrating the life and presence of people with disabilities in the Church and in society
2007: Blessed is the fruit of your womb – dedicated to protecting all human life
2008: Mental Health – mental ill-health can happen to anyone
2009: Focus on suicide, particularly the pastoral dimensions of this difficult and sensitive subject
2010: Focus on the meaning of Christian death
2011: A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times.
2012: Choose Life! Every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious
- For information on the celebration of Day for Life in Ireland please see www.catholicbishops.ie
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444