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BRAINTREE -- Parishes throughout the archdiocese are preparing to hold events in honor of Respect Life Month.
The Church in the United States observes Respect Life Month every October. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides resources for individuals and organizations to promote Church teaching on respect for human life. The theme for October 2019 is "Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life."
"It's really encouraging because there seem to be more parishes than ever holding observances for Respect Life Month. What I find particularly fascinating is that they're all so different," said Marianne Luthin, director of the archdiocese's Pro-Life Office, Sept. 24.
The events include Masses, baby showers to benefit pregnancy centers, ministry to women who have had abortions, and information sessions to learn about proposed abortion-related legislation.
Luthin said she thinks many people were "shocked" by proposed legislation in the State House. The ROE Act, H.3320 and S.1209, an act to remove obstacles and expand abortion access, would, among other things, allow abortions at any point during pregnancy and eliminate the requirement that a child who survives an attempted abortion receive medical care. Luthin thinks this prompted many Catholics to learn how to explain the Church's teachings on the dignity of human life.
"The specificity about this particular legislation is an indication of how far we have gone in terms of a lack of respect for human life," Luthin said.
During the month of October, parish baby showers to support clients of Pregnancy Help, a ministry of the ProLife Office, will be held at St. Bridget Parish in Abington, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Dedham, Most Precious Blood Parish in Dover, St. Mary Parish in Holliston, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Millis, St. Joseph Parish in Needham, Sacred Heart Parish in Newton, St. Ignatius Parish in Newton (Chestnut Hill), St. Theresa Parish in North Reading, St. Bonaventure Parish (in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus) in Plymouth, St. Anthony Parish in Shirley, and St. Denis Parish in Westwood.
The following parishes are currently scheduled to hold liturgies and events for adult faith formation:
-- St. Camillus Parish in Arlington will host the Archdiocesan Respect Life Mass celebrated by Bishop Peter Uglietto on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m.
-- St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, part of the Beverly Collaborative, will host a talk by Dr. Kerry Pound, entitled "Speaking Up for Life in the Culture of Death: How to Handle 'Hard Cases' in Truth and Love," on Oct. 6 at noon.
-- St. Irene Parish in Carlisle will hold "Project Rachel: Healing the Wounds of Abortion, One Heart at a Time" with Marianne Luthin on Oct. 13 after 11 a.m. Mass.
-- The Respect for Life Committee of the Cranberry Collaborative (Middleboro, Rochester, and Lakeville) will hold a "Celebration of Life" at Holy Family Parish in East Taunton on Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.
-- St. Mary Parish in Franklin will hold a Respect Life Commission Informational Meeting on proposed abortion expansion legislation with Jim Driscoll and Marianne Luthin on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.
-- St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Dedham will hold a Mass for Healing from Abortion, followed by a presentation by the Kiss of Mercy Prayer Apostolate for Healing from Abortion, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
-- Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport will hold a parish education program on abortion legislation with Attorney Fran Hogan and Marianne Luthin on Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.
-- Sacred Heart Parish in Newton will hold an Archdiocesan Senior Deaf Community presentation on respect for life with Marianne Luthin on Oct. 1 at 10:15 a.m.
-- The Life Ministry of St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Scituate will hold "Faith, Food and Football," Sept. 29 after 11 a.m. Mass. Faith witness by Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch will be followed by a barbeque and big-screen viewing of the Patriots game. Donations of newborn baby gifts for Friends of the Unborn Shelter will be accepted.
-- St. Zepherin Church, part of Good Shepherd Parish in Wayland, will hold an adult education program with Jim Driscoll and Marianne Luthin on the work of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference and proposed abortion expansion legislation on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.