Day for Life: ‘A Call to solidarity and hope in difficult times’

30 Sep 2011

Day for Life 2011 to be celebrated in Ireland on Sunday 2 October on the theme  ‘A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times’

 On Sunday, 2 October, the Catholic Church in Ireland will celebrate 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. 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.”

Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, said: “We picked this year’s theme because of the economic recession and all of the difficulties people are finding in their personal lives. There is a danger in these times that people feel disconnected from themselves, from hope and ultimately from God. We are saying that God knows us and loves us for who we are, rather than what we have.”

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.

The Bishops’ have published a pastoral letter for the Day for Life which is available in English, Irish and Polish. Copies of the pastoral letter will be made available in parishes for the Day for Life.

A special feature for Day for Life is available on the Bishops’ website which includes an interview with Bishop John Fleming. In his interview Bishop Fleming talks about Day for Life and the theme chosen for 2011: A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times. Also available on the web feature are two additional video reflections – the day for life prayer and a reflection based on a piece by Blessed John henry Newman.

Notes to Editors:

  • 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.
  • Day for Life is the 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: Focus on the meaning of Christian death

  • Since 2005, the Irish Bishops have united with the Bishops of Scotland, and England and Wales, by jointly publishing a Day for Life Pastoral Letter with a common theme. Day for Life 2010 will be celebrated in parishes throughout Ireland on Sunday 2 October. It has already been celebrated in Scotland and in England and Wales.
  • Bishop John Fleming is the bishop with responsibility for the Day for Life on behalf of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.


Further information:

Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444