Feature 2 October 2009 | Day for Life 2009

24 Sep 2009

The Church’s celebration of the Day for Life for 2009 focuses on the theme of suicide. View video introduction by Bishop John Fleming, and download text of the Bishops’ pastoral letter in English, Irish and Polish.

‘You are precious in my sight’

Isaiah 43:4


The focus of ‘Day for Life’ 2009 is on suicide, particularly the pastoral dimensions of this difficult and sensitive subject. In the following short video interview, Bishop John Fleming, Irish Bishops’ Conference ‘Day for Life’ delegate, speaks to Brenda Drumm from the Catholic Communications Office about the the ‘Day for Life’ initiative, and introduces this year’s theme:


link_to_publicationsBackground to the Church’s annual Day for Life Pastoral Letter

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, a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition” (EV #85).

The Bishops of Ireland responded to this invitation by announcing an annual celebration of the Day for Life. Since 2001, the bishops have published a Pastoral Letter every October celebrating a different theme for each Day for Life.

Since 2001, the following themes have been chosen to celebrate the Catholic Church’s 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

dayforlife_logoSince 2005, the Irish Bishops have united with the Bishops of Scotland, and England & Wales, by jointly publishing a Day for Life Pastoral Letter with a common theme. The Day for Life in 2007 is being celebrated in parishes throughout Ireland on Sunday 7 October, in Scotland on Sunday 31 May and in England and Wales on Sunday 1 July.


If you are concerned about someone with suicidal feelings, phone the Samaritans or consult your GP. Samaritans 1850 60 90 90 (Ireland) 0845 90 90 90 (UK)

Your local parish and parish priest will be able to offer pastoral and social support. Serious mental disorders will require psychiatric and multidisciplinary care, and / or skilled counselling.

Details of further resources and support can be found on the Samaritans website www.samaritans.org and also on our Day for Life website www.dayforlife.org

Turning the Tide of Suicide www.3ts.ie

National Office for Suicide Prevention www.nosp.ie

Irish Association of Suicidology www.ias.ie

Pieta House www.pieta.ie