St. Joseph and Child St. Joseph and Child 

US Bishops ask Catholics to follow St. Joseph by protecting life

As the Church in the United States celebrates its annual Respect Life Month, US Bishops are encouraging Catholics to follow in the footsteps of St. Joseph in protecting human life and promoting a culture of life.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Catholic Church in the United States is observing its annual Respect Life Month.  The event is organized every year in October by the US Bishops’ Conference (USCBB) with the aim of encouraging Catholics to help build a culture that cherishes and protects each and every human life.

The month’s observance kicked off on October 3, the first Sunday of this month traditionally designated as Respect Life Sunday.

St. Joseph protector of life

As part of the Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis, this year’s celebration is focused on this crucial figure in the history of salvation. In a statement for the occasion, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Chairman USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, emphasizes that “as the faithful protector of both Jesus and Mary, we find in St. Joseph a profound reminder of our own call to welcome, safeguard, and defend God’s precious gift of human life”. “Despite the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy – he explains - St. Joseph took her into his home at the word of the angel. He guided their journey to Bethlehem, found shelter, and welcomed the infant Jesus as his son. When Herod threatened the life of the Christ Child, St. Joseph left his homeland behind and fled with Jesus and Mary to Egypt”.

Advocating against taxpayer-funded abortion

Archbishop Naumann therefore calls on the faithful to follow the “the footsteps of St. Joseph” protecting and caring “for those God has entrusted to us – especially vulnerable mothers and children”. He says that this can be done in different ways. One way is “advocating against taxpayer-funded abortion”. The issue has come to the fore lately during discussions at the U.S, Congress on the “Build Back Better Act” - President Biden’s recovery package - which includes public funding of abortion. Also the “Women’s Health Protection Act”, recently approved by the House of Representatives, among other things, would compel all Americans to fund radical abortions on demand until birth in the US and abroad with their taxes.

Helping mothers in need 

Archbisop’s Naumann message further invites Catholics to support the Pro-Life Committee's “Walking with Moms in Need”  programme in their parishes. The programme is designed to help mothers experiencing a difficult pregnancy and parenting, especially low-income mothers. To support this initiative, the Committee is developing educational, pastoral, and action-oriented resources for parish use, including: tools for documenting an inventory of local resources for pregnant mothers in need; ideas for improving parish responses; prayers for building a culture of life and a civilization of love; reflections on the teachings of St John Paul II’s “Evangelium vitae” (The Gospel of Ligfe) and Pope Francis’ “Laudato si'”.

At times, we may feel uncertain of our ability to answer the Lord’s call. But He invites us to faithfully respond, despite our own fears or weaknesses”, the message concludes.

Resources for the Month Respect Life

To support the Respect Life Month, the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has provided a number of resources that may be downloaded from the Respect life web page for use in parishes, schools, or ministries.



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04 October 2021, 14:10