This year’s Day for Life is celebrated on Sunday 6 October 2013. It is a day dedicated to celebrating the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The theme is Caring for Life. We can build a culture of life by our compassion and care for others, especially those who are vulnerable, and by speaking of the need to care for life.
From conception to natural death, life is a precious gift. The life of a mother and her unborn child are both sacred and deserve to be equally protected. The Church strives to protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers and to support them – practically, emotionally and spiritually. We have a duty to do all we can to build a culture of life by encouraging our society in its laws and medical practice to care for and protect the life of unborn children and their expectant mothers.
Carers contribute to a culture of life when they look beyond the challenges that can be part of caring for a person with special physical or mental needs and see the inherent dignity and eternal destiny of the person they are called to care for. As a society we need to care for our carers and ensure that they have the resources and support they need. The culture of life embraces a love that inspires self-giving. It is a love that allows us to see in every person another self and compels us to protect and care for that person as we would care for ourselves; it is expressed in practical terms as compassion and care, especially for the most vulnerable.
The increased incidence of suicide, especially among younger men is a matter of grave concern. The Church wishes to show its care for and closeness to those who, for whatever reason, believe their own lives are no longer worthwhile and are tempted to give upon life itself. It appeals to all those who may find themselves with suicidal thoughts to seek help and support from others around them, especially from the voluntary and statutory agencies with experience of providing appropriate support and care in this area. Suicide is never the solution. Often, when someone dies by suicide, the difficulties for those left behind are simply multiplied many times over. A long shadow of grief, pain and confusion is cast over the lives of family, friends and the wider community. Christians and parish communities are encouraged to consider ways in which they can reach out and care for those around them who may be vulnerable to suicide, as well as to those who continue to suffer as a result of the suicide of someone close to them.
The culture of life affirms the inherent value of life at all of its stages. It seeks to build an environment of compassion and care that nurtures and sustains life, even in the midst of the most challenging of human events and personal circumstances. This Year of Faith is an opportunity for each of us to renew our commitment as Christians to building up the culture of life and leading others to Christ by the quality of love and care we show to others in his name.