On Sunday, 2 October, the Catholic Church in Ireland celebrates Day for Life. In the video, Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, talks about Day for Life and the theme chosen for 2011: A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times.
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.
The theme for Day for Life 2011 is A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times. Day for Life this year reflects on what it means to lead a full and happy life.
Day for Life this year reflects on what it means to lead a full and happy life. It takes as its starting point the words of Pope Benedict during his recent visit to England when he said: “Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.”
Day for Life 2011 is a call for us to work for a society in which all are valued as created, loved by God, redeemed by Christ; not for their fame, or power, or what they own but for their intrinsic worth. It is a call to rediscover the truth that our deepest joy and happiness comes from the knowledge that we are all loved by God from the very beginning, and that by trusting in God’s love, through our setbacks and difficulties. ‘our own joy will be complete’ (John 15:11).
As a society we have a strong tradition of good neighbourliness and of showing mutual help. Day for Life is an opportunity to ask ourselves if there is anything more we can do to be of help to our neighbours, to improve the quality of life of others and of society as a whole, especially in these financially challenging times.