Ideas for Celebrating Respect Life and Social Justice Month
For October, instead of focusing on specific issues we have resources for each week of October to highlight a particular Principle of Catholic Doctrine. There are videos, activities, and other resources that can be used for study, classrooms, or even homily helps.
Videos for groups, homily helps, faith-sharing, personal reflection, classrooms
- 1st Week of October – Dignity of the Human Person
- 2nd Week of October – Care for the Common Good
- 3rd Week of October – Solidarity
- 4th Week of October – Subsidiarity
We also have many ideas on activities that can be done at the parish, in faith-sharing groups, classrooms, group study, personal study, etc.
- Hold a Memorial Mass for all those who have died due to disregard to their intrinsic dignity
- Petitions – Unborn, victims of war, victims of poverty/famine, workers killed due to overwork or unsafe working conditions, victims of human trafficking and slavery, those who have died due to environmental pollution, victims of torture, those who have died due to lack of healthcare, those who have died due to exposure/lack of housing, euthanasia, Dr. Prescribed suicide, embryonic stem cell research, embryos destroyed after IVF,
- Have a Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life
- For Sunday and Weekday liturgies throughout the month of October use intercessory prayers for life found at the USCCB Website
- Hold a Eucharistic Procession for the dignity of the human person and the common good. (see The Rites: Volume I, Chapter 3 – Forms of Worship of the Eucharist, especially #s 101-108 or the resource “Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist” especially #s 17-25)
- Have exposition of the blessed sacrament at your parish at least once a week for an hour or more to pray for the conversion of hearts to uphold the intrinsic dignity of all, to accept the responsibility to care for the common good, to see each person as their neighbor, to respect all of God’s creation.
Faith-sharing group, Committees, Personal Study, Classrooms
- If you haven’t already participated in the Formation for All sessions, go back through the previous year and spend some time with sessions as a group or individually as an introduction to Catholic Teaching on Various Respect Life and Social Justice issues (K-6 and Family) (7-12, Parish Committees/leadership, Faith-sharing groups)
- Catholic Relief Services Lesson Plans on CST (although designed for grades 1-8 they can be adapted for any age or group)
- Reflect on times you may have committed offenses against the dignity of others or denied others as your neighbor. Take those reflections to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to bring about peace and reconciliation in your own life as well as the community and world around you.
- Spend time learning about another culture with which you are unfamiliar
- Watch the videos on CST 101 from Catholic Relief Services and have small group discussions on the themes described in the videos
- Invite parishioners to commit to learning and praying about a particular topic that is promoted by the Catholic Church that they may not readily agree or perhaps even disagree with the Church. Some examples: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, healthcare as a human right, care for God’s creation, immigration/refugees, etc.
Dive Deeper in Study
- Purchase the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and dedicate the next year to looking at a different topic each week found in the document. Example: 1st week of October 2017 look up “Human Rights” The document can also be found online here
- Take the month (or longer) to read one of the Church’s social documents related to Respect Life and Social Justice (not a complete list. Additional documents can be found here :
- Gospel of Life Pope St. John Paul II
- On Human Work Pope St. John Paul II (Australian Catholic Bishops’ study guide)
- On Capital and Labor Pope Leo XIII
- Peace in the World Pope St. John XXIII
- God is Love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (USCCB study guide)
- Charity in Truth Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (USCCB group study guide) (USCCB individual study guide)
- On the Progress of Peoples Pope Blessed Paul VI
- On Reconstruction of the Social Order Pope Pius XI (Australian Catholic Bishops’ study guide)
- On the 80th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum Pope Blessed Paul VI (Australian Catholic Bishops’ study guide)
- On the 100th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum Pope St. John Paul II (Australian Catholic Bishops’ study guide)
- Christianity and Social Progress Pope St. John XXIII (Australian Catholic Bishops’ study guide)
- On Social Concern Pope St. John Paul II
- Care for our Common Home Pope Francis (study guide)
- On Religious Freedom Second Vatican Council
- More documents and topic found here
What other things can you do to celebrate Respect Life and Social Justice Month?