Welcome to the weekly link up, Just Enough Info (JEI). The internets can be a great source of community, and I’d love to get to know you better! Feel free to share your answers in the comments or link up if you have a blog.
In honor of October being Respect Life month, that’s the theme for the questions of the week.
1. Does your family or parish mark the month in a special way?
As a parish, we host Cupcake Sunday in October. Here’s how it works in our parish.
- An announcement is put in the bulletin asking for parishioners to donate cupcakes and leave them in the kitchen the Saturday before cupcake Sunday. (If you had lots of the money, you could just buy a bunch of cupcakes, too. That would involve less planning.)
- Before Mass, someone puts a toothpick-address label flag with a prolife message into each cupcake.
- After Mass on Sunday, the high school kids in the parish pass out cupcakes at each of the exits. There is a giant pickle jar (love those pickle jars!) for anyone who would like to make a donation to our local crisis pregnancy center.
- Any leftovers are handed out around town or brought to school the next day for some brave kids to pass out.
I like that we do something as a parish. I like the idea of Cupcake Sunday.
For every baby who didn’t get to celebrate a birthday on Earth, there’s a mama out there holding some level of loss in her heart.
The percentage of people who have suffered abortion is high. I worry about making it more difficult for someone to reach out and find healing. I wish we had some Project Rachel resources to pass out as well on Cupcake Sunday.
The percentage of people who have suffered miscarriage or infant loss is high. I worry about intensifying the pain of that loss. I wish we had some business cards with miscarriage resources to distribute.
Furthermore, the percentage of people struggle with infertility is on the rise. I worry about adding to the emotional burden of those couples who long for children. It might be nice to to have adoption resources available.
Overall it’s a neat way to engage the whole parish, especially the young people.
2. Do you have any books or resources to recommend on the Respect Life theme?
Do I have a book to recommend? Of course! I even have some that aren’t Horton Hears a Who. (No offense to that book…it’s just been used a lot, perhaps against what Dr. Seuss would have intended.)
Respect Life Principle: The dignity of the unborn
This book is beautiful. (How many more times do I have to recommend it before you check it out? Seriously, inter-library loan it if you’re not willing to make the jump to purchase it yet. Email me once you read this book. Otherwise I’m going to find a way to sneak it into every post I ever write, pretty much.)
Respect Life Principle: The dignity of people in poverty
I appreciate books that handle difficult subjects, such as poverty, gently. Beatrice’s Goat does this perfectly as it offers all of us a way to impact international poverty.
Poverty isn’t just an issue in other countries. Right here in the U.S. there are kids without homes or enough to eat. The glimpse into what life is like for a little girl whose mother is working but still can’t afford a place to live renews my commitment to supporting local organizations making a difference in our community.
Respect Life Principle: The dignity of people nearing the end of life
As a society we’re inching closer and closer to the mentality of The Giver, where those who don’t fit a certain description (age, ability, etc.) are “released.” Until my kids are old enough to read and discuss this novel, we’ll keep laying a foundation of the value of our elderly neighbors and friends.
The books below are some family favorites that show the wisdom and dignity of older folks. When my kids are old enough to discuss more adult issues like “slow coding,” hopefully their consciences will be formed by having read beautiful picture books about the gifts the elderly bring to society.
3. What do you wish others understood about the Respect Life message?
The Respect Life movement is all encompassing as far as human dignity. So often people involved in pro-life activities get a bad rap for neglecting causes like homelessness or poverty. Just because someone is praying outside an abortion clinic doesn’t mean they aren’t also supporting other life issues.
It’s like a slap in the face to be told we care only for the unborn, and not a woman and her already born children. The Catholic Church in particular runs schools, hospitals, hospice centers, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and much, much more. The people I know working against human trafficking? Catholic. Not to toot our own horn, but we are seriously a “womb to tomb” organization. If you need help, find a Catholic church.
Although our parish hosts a “Baby Shower for Jesus” during Advent, they also collect food items on an ongoing basis for our food pantry. We also support a parish in Haiti. Respect Life is not a single issue.
(The people who are irritated by the Respect Life movement are even more irritated with any analogies involving the Holocaust. But I’m going to use one anyway.)
The people in Europe faced all sorts of problems during World War II. Fear. Food shortages. School closures. Destruction. There were many ways their freedoms were threatened and lost during that time.
But even the saddest person on the outside of a concentration camp was still light years ahead of anyone actually in a concentration camp.
Both situations were bad, but the people inside concentration camps faced a different level of human rights violations. While the people on the outside could in theory adapt or find solutions for some of their problems, the people on the inside had no voice. No choice. No options.
Do you see how there are different levels of urgency amongst the badness? Do you see how any one of the people on the inside of the concentration camp would beg for the opportunity to face starvation or lack of heat on the outside?
There are many secular and religious organizations working against poverty. But there aren’t many who are speaking up for the littlest ones, the ones who have no voice. No choice. No options. That’s why the issue of abortion takes center stage in the Respect Life movement.
We can’t just say “your life is of so little value in the concentration camp that we’re going to focus on helping the people on the outside first.” That’s absurd. That is truly the place to start, even if it has the potential to create more problems on the outside.
Whew. That’s a heavy, heavy way to end a post. But until all lives are at least given the basic right to life, that’s how it’s going to be.
I’d love to see your resources and thoughts. Join in, being sure to link back here in your post.