Features, News archive 2016

Bishops publish ‘Day for Life’ pastoral message: ‘Everything is Connected’

“Growing in wonder will help us to treasure more deeply the gift of human life” – Bishops

This Sunday across Ireland marks the celebration of Day for Life, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage, and in every condition. Day for Life is celebrated each year by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland, and in England & Wales. The theme for this year’s Day for Life is ‘Everything is Connected’.

Printed copies of the bishops’ brief Day for Life pastoral message will be circulated at parish Masses this weekend.  The text of the pastoral message is available in English (see below), and in the Irish and Polish languages on www.catholicbishops.ie.

In their pastoral message for 2016, bishops share a reflection from Laudato Si’ the recent encyclical letter from Pope Francis on care for our common home. In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis said, ‘Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.’

In their Day for Life pastoral message the bishops say, “When we recognise and grow in wonder that we are all brothers and sisters living in one common home, it will not only affect how we care for the environment, but also how we care for one another and how we welcome and accept those with different needs and abilities, refugees, the elderly, the unborn, the forgotten and the abandoned.”

Commenting on this year’s Day for Life message, Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin and the Bishops’ Conference Day for Life delegate said, “Laudato Si is not just about conserving the environment for its own sake.  It is about how we use and share the limited natural resources, which God originally intended for all, including the generations yet to be born. For many in our world today, the management of the environment is a matter of life and death”.

A special web feature is available on www.catholicbishops.ie which includes:

  • Link to Laudato Si’, the encyclical letter from Pope Francis on Care for Our Common Home.
  • Text of the bishops’ pastoral message ‘Everything is Connected’ in English, Irish and Polish.
  • Day for Life prayers and reflections.

Day for Life 2016 pastoral message: ‘Everything in Connected’

‘Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude.’
Letter of St John Paul II to Artists, 1999

Last year was the hottest on record. In a small village in the South East of India, a farmer called Jejabba braved the midday heat to take his cows to shelter by a mango grove. He arrived home dehydrated and died before he could reach a hospital. He was 63. Jejabba is not alone. Over 4,500 people in India and Pakistan died during last summer’s heatwave. Rising temperatures are making droughts more severe and floods more intense. The poor always suffer most.

On 18 June 2015, Pope Francis published his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), and in December of that year, the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement was signed. The pope reminded us powerfully that we are one human family sharing a common home, dependent upon one another and the whole of creation. It is our duty to ‘pay special attention to the most vulnerable.’ He said, ‘Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 117)

When we recognise and grow in wonder that we are all brothers and sisters living in one common home, it will not only affect how we care for the environment, but also how we care for one another and how we welcome and accept those with different needs and abilities, refugees, the elderly, the unborn, the forgotten and the abandoned.

Growing in wonder will help us to treasure more deeply the gift of human life.

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

Amen

Notes to Editors

  • The Day for Life has been celebrated in Ireland since 2001. The 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 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 Church’s special 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: The meaning of Christian death and care for those who are dying
2011: A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times
2012: Choose Life!
2013: Care for Life: It’s Worth It
2014: Protect and Cherish Life #Livelife
2015: Cherishing Life: Accepting Death

ENDS

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm on 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.

 

 

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