Bishop Robert Hennessey incenses the altar during the Mass to celebrate Respect Life Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Oct. 2. Pilot photo/Christopher S. Pineo
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SOUTH END -- At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston, Catholics and supporters of the movement against a culture of death gathered to celebrate their respect for human life Oct. 2.
The Pro-Life Office of the Archdiocese of Boston handed nearly all of the 500 programs printed for the Respect Life Sunday Mass to individuals in the attending crowd, at New England's largest church. Bishop Robert F. Hennessey led the celebration.
"We respect life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death," Bishop Hennessey said in his homily. "Make no mistake about it, the protection of life and dignity is not some first-among-equals of our issues. It is first."
The bishop went on to outline the robust position of the Catholic Church regarding the protection of all human life.
"There has to be consistency between what we say and what we do," the bishop continued.
He touched on each of the issues facing his congregation and those who fight on behalf of the pro-life cause. From stem cell research, to the sanctity of marriage, and on to include euthanasia and the death penalty, he outlined the sense of responsibility the Church espouses in policies regarding the sanctity of life.
"All that we do must be motivated by love, and must communicate God's compassion," said Bishop Hennessey, as he outlined an attitude of forgiveness even for those who have had abortions.
After the Knights of Columbus provided an honor guard in the processional, all of the morning's readings, psalms, and songs celebrated life as an expression of God's will, and God's existence as love.
"God is not someone who forgives more than we do. God is mercy," he said. "He's not simply smarter than we are. God is wisdom."
"St. John tells us over, and over again that simple statement: God is love."