By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Bishop Mark Hagemoen again designated the last Sunday in January as a Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, to pray for respect, protection and care of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.
“Devaluing human life at any age or stage has inexorably led to the legalization and growing acceptance in our country of euthanasia and assisted suicide: our lives seem to cease to have meaning and value as we face the fear of not being ‘useful’, or that we are a ‘problem’ to those on whom we rely for care. This loss of ‘heart’ is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst, including poverty, hunger, discrimination, injustice, racism, and violence.” – Bishop Mark Hagemoen message for Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life
The Day of Prayer is now held at the end of January at the recommendation of a diocesan Reverence for Life Committee, scheduled to fall near the anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case Jan. 28, 1988, which removed all restriction on abortion in Canadian law.
In his message to the diocese for the 2022 Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life, Bishop Hagemoen noted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has higlighted concerns of life and death in our world. “It is in the context of what we are learning during this pandemic that we continue to struggle with care of the vulnerable, and especially with protection and care for the unborn and critically ill in our communities,” he said.
Sins against human life contribute to an uncaring and utilitarian culture that has “lost its heart,” said the bishop. “Canada continues to deal with the tragic repercussions of the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code,” he 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.”
Threats to life in our country now also include legally-sanctioned euthanasia / medically-assisted suicide, he added, before quoting Pope Francis. “The words of the Holy Father only a few years ago continue to ring prophetic: ‘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.'”
“Pope Francis highlights that respect for creation and human dignity are issues that are only realized together,” added Bishop Hagemoen. “As he 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? (see Laudato Si, #120).'”
Bishop Hagemoen noted that current advances in science, genetics and embryology clearly show the distinct humanity of each unborn child, which comes into existence at conception. “Each new, distinct human person shares the fundamental human right to life that we as Canadians celebrate and support on so many other fronts,” he said.
“Failing to recognize that right has left our country damaged – not only in the missing and lost lives of millions of unborn children – but is removing ‘the heart’ from our society,” the bishop stressed.
“Devaluing human life at any age or stage has inexorably led to the legalization and growing acceptance in our country of euthanasia and assisted suicide: our lives seem to cease to have meaning and value as we face the fear of not being ‘useful’, or that we are a ‘problem’ to those on whom we rely for care. This loss of ‘heart’ is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst, including poverty, hunger, discrimination, injustice, racism, and violence.” He added that “the recovery of heart” will be an important feature in the year ahead: “including as we work towards the goals to healing and reconciliation with Indigenous and all peoples; finding forgiveness and healing of past sins; and seeking relationships that respect and honour people in the fullness of their humanity.”
Bishop Hagemoen concluded: “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. Let us join together in our common prayer for Reverence for Life on Jan. 30, and throughout this year. Sisters and Brothers, we again pray that as a nation we may re-discover our heart.”
Prayer for 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
Prière pour la 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