Pro-life prayer chains are planned for the first weekend in October at various parishes and locations within the five-county area of the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach in observance of Respect Life Sunday which occurs on Sunday, October 5. On this day, Catholics participate in prayerful pro-life events. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designate the first Sunday of October as Respect Life Sunday as well as the month of October as Respect Life Month to encourage all to reflect during the entire month in a special way on the respect for all life and the dignity of all life from conception to natural death.
The prayer chains have been organized by the Diocese of Palm Beach’s Catholic Charities Respect Life Office. Prayer chains will occur not only in the local diocese but also in dioceses and archdioceses around the country. The prayer chains are planned as quiet and peaceful gatherings in which the rosary and other prayers are prayed. (see locations and times below).
Respect Life Sunday begins the 2014/2015 Respect Life Program which utilizes a phrase from Pope Francis as its theme: Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God's Creation. In a letter sent to all parishes and published on the diocese’s website, Bishop Barbarito discusses how life and the family are equal partners in what God has intended creation to be. He also discusses that Respect Life Sunday occurs on the first day of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops*, convoked by Pope Francis and which begins in Rome on Sunday. The focus during the Synod is the family.
Writes Bishop Barbarito:
“It is in the family that life comes into existence and is nurtured as the masterpiece of God's own hand. We are all aware of the many challenges that face the gift of life as well as that of the family in our society today. A strengthening of the family enhances an appreciation for the gift of life and the loving nurturing which is its due. As we pray for the work of the Synod on the Family, we also pray for a greater appreciation for the gift of life at every stage from the moment of conception in the mother's womb until natural death.”
Bishop Barbarito encourages all diocesan parishioners, including families, individuals and youth to attend, and welcomes those of other faiths who share the Catholic Church’s pro-life view. Bishop Barbarito’s full letter on Respect Life Weekend can be found at www.diocesepb.org/bishop-barbarito-statements
The following is a list of prayer chain locations for Respect Life Sunday. Parishioners and the public are encouraged to contact local parish offices for other planned activities and prayerful events. The list can also be found on the diocesan website at www.diocesepb.org/events
Sunday, October 5: Various Locations
More information on the above pro-life events is also available through the Catholic Charities Respect Life Office at 561-360-3330 and information is available on Catholic Charities website at www.catholiccharitiesdpb.org and on the diocesan website at www.diocesepb.org
In addition to the Prayer Chains to be held during Respect Life Sunday, on Saturday, October 4, Catholic Charities Birthline/Lifeline Pregnancy Care Centers will hold their Annual Walk-a-Thon to raise awareness and money for their pregnancy care centers. The walk will begin immediately following the 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass at Emmanuel Catholic Church in Delray Beach. Participants are expected to pray and walk around the Church’s lake between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. For more information, call Birthline/Lifeline at 561-732-0570 or Catholic Charities’ website at www.catholiccharitiesdpb.org
During October the “40 Days for Life” campaign continues. This peaceful prayer vigil to end abortion began on September 25 and ends on November 2. During these 40 days, prayer and rosary vigils occur each day at different locations in West Palm Beach, Wellington and the Treasure Coast. All those who wish to support this pro-life movement are invited. It is organized by local community-based chapters of the national “40 Days for Life” campaign. For more information and to find locations, visit www.40DaysforLife.com
The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach encompasses the five counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee. Comprised of 280,000 Catholics in 53 parishes and missions, the Diocese also serves the faithful community through its schools.
*Understanding the Upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops:
On October 8, 2013, Pope Francis announced that from October 5-19, 2014, Pope Francis would convene the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome which will have a focus and theme of the pastoral challenges of the family, both within the life of the Church and society. Subsequent communications made clear that the Extraordinary General Assembly would be followed by an Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2015, on the same topics.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website has a page devoted to the 2014-2015 Synods of Bishops on the Family. The page includes Basics of a Synod, including definitions and purpose, and can be found at”