by Lauren Solidum
In October, we celebrate Respect Life Month. But every single day in our shared Catholic faith is a day to promote the dignity and sacredness of all people.
What does it mean to respect life? The first thought that often comes to mind when I hear the term “respect life” is the United States’ movement to end abortion. While as a community, state, country and, most importantly, a church, we should never cease fighting for an end to abortion, we need to recognize that respecting life must include and go beyond fighting for the rights of the unborn.
At Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, all of our ministries center around respecting the lives and the human dignity of those we serve. Our founding ministry, adoption, matches children from birth to 6 months of age with their forever families. For those who choose to parent, we advise and connect them with community resources to help prepare for a healthy birth and beyond.
Catholic Charities preserves the dignity of families through food and nutrition assistance, financial assistance and programs aimed at ending the cycle of poverty through employment, higher education and advanced skills training.
Since the 1970s, Shalom House has been in operation providing food, clothing and a safe place to sleep for men experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, Kansas. Plans are underway to strengthen our programming and expand Shalom House into a robust transitional living program. With the increased programming, there will be greater opportunities and increased capacity from 25 men to 50-60 men served at a time.
Welcoming the stranger is not political despite what many voices in the media would like us to believe. For nearly 50 years, Catholic Charities has been welcoming the stranger through our refugee resettlement, citizenship and immigration services. These families seek refuge much like Joseph, Mary and Jesus once sought refuge. They add sincere value to their communities, schools, workplaces and economies.
End-of-life care is one last opportunity to demonstrate respect for the gift of life. For nearly 30 years, Catholic Charities has operated Catholic Community Hospice. This ministry continues to provide compassionate care to the dying and their families throughout our archdiocese.
Engage in our respect life efforts!
• Volunteer your time or financially donate to one of the ministries mentioned above.
• Assess within your own family the ways you promote the dignity of human life and challenge your family to dialogue about other opportunities to be witnesses for life.
• Use your voting power to support legislation that motivates an end to abortion, moves to cease the death penalty and advocates for immigration reform.
• Pray often for our world to respect life at every stage.
Our archdiocese is a vibrant witness for the promotion and defense of protecting all life. October is a wonderful time to recognize and celebrate these efforts throughout our archdiocese and to challenge ourselves to become stronger advocates for the poor and vulnerable.
How will you continue to respond? How will you call others to do the same?