· Initiatives of the Church in Ireland to defend life ·
“A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times” was the theme chosen by the Catholic Church in Ireland on the occasion of the Day for Life celebrated on Sunday, 1 October. This important day was an occasion to focus attention on the actions to be taken to help those in need and to offer an opportunity to conduct a better life. “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 for it 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”. This reflection of Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his recent Visit to Britain was the starting point for reflection on the theme for the annual Day for Life, “A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times”, which refers to the crisis and current economic difficulties of the country.
“There is a danger in these times”, explained Bishop John Fleming of Killala in an interview published on the bishops website, www.catholicbishops.ie, “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”.
The Irish Bishops and priests have often underscored that, “every person has a duty to take care of others, especially the weakest in society, and for this reason we must never lose sight of certain fundamental values such as love and solidarity”, and reiterated that “life should be lived with dignity”.
As underline by the organizers, the Day 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”.
For the occasion the Irish Bishops prepared a pastoral letter which was distributed in parishes, including a special prayer and a reflection inspired by Bl. John Henry Newman.
The Day for Life has been celebrated every year since 2001 with a different theme, following John Paul II’s desire in his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae . Last year the theme for the day was “Focus on the meaning of Christian death”: a condemnation of suicide.
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