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US Bishops’ Statement on 25th anniversary of The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae)

‘With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups, and communities in our Dioceses’

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following announcement on the 25th anniversary of The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae).

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, we also mark the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s prophetic encyclical, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae). Here, this saint provides a clear challenge to us: “With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth” (EV 95).

With this, Pope St. John Paul II invites each of us to ask ourselves how we are assisting women in need who are pregnant or have young children. He challenges us to open our hearts even wider, and to improve our responses where needed, especially at the local level—in short, to truly accompany each pregnant or parenting woman in need.

This past November, the bishops enthusiastically embraced an initiative entitled Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service to celebrate the anniversary by assessing and expanding our help to mothers in need. I am very excited to see dioceses and parishes across the country making plans to join in the Year of Service in their own unique ways. It is capturing the imagination of our people.

As Pope Francis reminds us, our parishes are called to be “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service commences on March 25, 2020. Parish resources for the Year of Service are being posted at www.walkingwithmoms.com.. . .

Many areas of the country have had to temporarily suspend gatherings and Masses due to the coronavirus concern. In light of current events, dioceses and parishes are encouraged to adjust their schedules for the Year of Service according to what is pastorally and practically appropriate for everyone’s safety. In the meantime, we can still pray, wherever we are on March 25, that this Year of Service will help us increase our outreach, so that every pregnant and parenting mother in need may know she can turn to her local Catholic community for help and authentic friendship.

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