By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
A day of prayer for Reverence for Life will again be celebrated in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, with Bishop Mark Hagemoen declaring Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, as “an opportunity for prayers, reflection and discussion about the value of the precious gift of human life.”
In a letter to the faithful published on Jan. 7, the Memorial of St. André Bessette in Canada, Bishop Hagemoen noted that the year 2020 was marked by “the terrible scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He observed that “many things should not go back to the way they were” after the pandemic, stressing that “one of the things that calls out for change is protection for the unborn and most vulnerable.”
Noting the anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case on Jan. 28, 1988, which removed all restrictions on abortion in Canada, Bishop Hagemoen wrote: “Canada continues to deal with the tragic repercussions of the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code… Incredibly applauded by many in our society, these moments in our nation’s history hold within them the tragic reality of millions of lost lives.”
The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon said: “Victims of abortion include the unborn children who are killed, but also the mothers, fathers and families left wounded after an abortion. The community is also weakened and damaged as the weakest and most vulnerable among us are not valued and protected.”
The introduction of Bill C-7 to expand access to medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada is another area of profound concern, said Hagemoen, quoting the words of Pope Francis: “The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. – who are in danger of being ‘thrown away’, expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs.”
Bishop Hagemoen continued: “In this statement, Pope Francis went on to call forth all people of good will to continue the steady work to turn our culture from one of convenience and short-sightedness, to a cultural movement that seeks – through good will and honest reflection – the realization of a truly human culture.”
The bishop also pointed to the “larger deterioration of a culture of human care and respect.”
Bishop Hagemoen wrote: “Today we are more aware than ever of the fragility of environment, and the inter- relationship of all people and all creation. In Laudato Si (June 2015), Pope Francis reminds us that reverence for all human life – especially the most vulnerable and unprotected – cannot be separated from concern and care of creation. As the pope states, ‘Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?’ (Laudato Si, #120)”
Hagemoen added: “The Holy Father reminds us that inconsistency about care of the human person will affect our stewardship of creation. ‘When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.’ (LS #117).”
Failing to reverence human life at every stage and age, an in every circumstance, is “removing the heart from our society,” said Bishop Hagemoen. “This loss of ‘heart’ is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst: poverty, hunger, discrimination, injustice, racism, and violence,” he added.
“Sisters and brothers, let us respond to loss of heart by holding steady to the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Sacred Heart for our world,” Bishop Hagemoen said, urging the faithful to join together in common prayer Jan. 31 and throughout the Year of St. Joseph recently declared by Pope Francis.
“And may our every action always lovingly affirm the deep and sacred value of every human person. Sisters and brothers, we again pray that as a nation we may re-discover our heart!”
Diocesan Prayer – Reverence for Life
Almighty God, giver of all that is good,
we thank you for the precious gift of human life:
For life in the womb, coming from your creative power,
For the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise,
For the life of young people, hoping for a better world,
For the life of people who are disabled, teaching us that every life has value,
For the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.
Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “yes” to Your gift.
Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect and cherish it from conception to its natural end.
And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN
Diocèse de Saskatoon – Révérence pour la vie
Dieu Tout-Puissant, donateur de tout ce qui est bon, nous te remercions pour le don précieux de la vie humaine:
Pour la vie dans le sein maternel, provenant de ton pouvoir créatif,
Pour la vie des enfants, nous rendant heureux de leur fraîcheur et de leur promesse,
Pour la vie des jeunes, espérant pour un monde formidable,
Pour la vie des personnes qui sont handicapées, nous apprenant que toute vie a de la valeur,
Pour la vie des personnes âgées, témoignant des valeurs intemporelles de patience et de sagesse.
Comme la bienheureuse Marie, puissions-nous toujours dire “oui” à Ton don.
Aide-nous à réaliser le caractère sacré de la vie humaine, à la respecter et à la chérir de la conception à sa fin naturelle.
Et amène-nous enfin, ô Père, à la plénitude de la vie éternelle en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur. AMEN