Day for Life 2021 - The Respect Owed to Life
Day for Life is dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. The Church teaches that life is to be nurtured from conception to natural death. This year’s Day for Life is celebrated on Sunday 20 June in England and Wales.
This day, inaugurated by Saint John Paul II, presents an opportunity to pray for the gift of life from conception to natural death, to raise awareness of the precious gift of life, and to support the work of protecting life in its most vulnerable stages through the annual collection.
This year’s theme for Day for Life centres on caring for the sick and dying and promoting the respect owed to life in all its vulnerability. This is poignant for a number of reasons. We are still living through a global pandemic in which many have fallen sick, many have died in hospitals and care homes, and frontline healthcare workers have faced incredible challenges in caring for the sick.
Also at this time, there is an Assisted Dying Bill being debated in the House of Lords that could make assisted dying legal in England and Wales. As our Bishop for Life Issues, Bishop John Sherrington said:
Although this new Bill is framed as a compassionate response to those in the last stages of their life, such compassion must be denounced as ‘false compassion’ as Pope Francis reminds us. A ‘true compassion’ he says, is ‘the just response to the immense value of the sick person’.
Once more, we are faced with the very real threat of the legalisation of ‘assisted suicide’ in our country. It is not a question of ‘if’ this challenge will come, it is now a question of ‘when?’ This Private Members Bill in the House of Lords on so-called ‘Assisted Dying’ means it is only a matter of time before the issue is back in the House of Commons.
The following online resources are produced to inform Catholics about this threat to life and to share with people our response to such a threat.
Life Bishop’s Message for the 2021 ‘Day for Life’
Bishop John Sherrington, the Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Church in England and Wales, has written to his brother bishops about this year’s Day for Life. CLICK HERE to read the full message.
✠ ✠ ✠ ✠ ✠ ✠
Pope Francis has made 2021 the Year of St Joseph. Given this year’s Day for Life theme, it is fitting we consider the role St Joseph plays as the patron saint of the sick and dying and pray for a culture where life is valued from conception to natural end.
Prayer to St Joseph Patron Saint of the Dying
Faithful Joseph, with the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise,
you peacefully leave this world in Jesus and Mary’s hands.
Your faith transforms death into the sowing of life;
thus, God considers you to be a just man.
Your heart overflows in the presence of the Lord.
With your hands outstretched to God, your night is filled with prayers.
Surrounded by the living, you embark upon the great march to the promise Land.
Open our eyes that we may glimpse the road to Life that lies beyond death.
May nothing, not denial, anger, nor depression, separate us from the Love of God.
Strengthen our faith in God who always finds ways of preserving us in his friendship.
Be beside us to hold our hands when we take our first steps toward the Eternal Kingdom.
Prayer to St Joseph for a Happy Death
O Blessed Joseph, who yielded up thy last breath in the arms of Jesus and Mary,
obtain for me this grace, O holy Joseph, that I may breathe forth my soul in praise,
saying in spirit, if I am unable to do so in words: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul.”