Everyone We Encounter Is a Gift

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has once again invited us to pray a novena for Life as we prepare to commemorate the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision which legalized abortion in the United States. (http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage.cfm)  I hope you have (or will if you are just learning about it) make a commitment to joining us as a way of living A Catholic Way of Life.

As Bishop Gruss reminds us in our pastoral plan, prayer “is the very foundation of the Catholic life.”  And one of the behaviors which exemplify that we have incorporated this value into our lives is that, “We will regularly participate in the devotional life of the Church.”  Prayer is a key element in our Stewardship pillar, Lively Faith as well.  Good stewards, as disciples, are committed to prayer as the foundation of their lives. 

This novena also gives us the opportunity to practice another of the Diocese’s core values: solidarity.  The virtue of solidarity flows “from the reality that we are all created in God’s image and likeness and our fundamental rights flow from the dignity intrinsic in each person.”  Bishop Gruss goes on to say, “the dignity of the human person and the pursuit of the common good are what must shape the ministry of solidarity.”  And the Characteristics echo this when it states, “Both our pastor and parishioners respect the dignity of the human person and pursue the common good with humility and docility.” In this novena, we desire and pray for both. 

What strikes me the most perhaps, though, in reflecting on how we practically live our commitment to respect life as stewards is this line from Day 2 of the Novena:  “Everyone we encounter is a gift, not because of what they can do or accomplish, but because of who they are — a beloved child of God.”  If we were able to act out of this truth in every single interaction we had with another during the course of a day, we would truly be living a life of Generous Hospitality.  Because Generous Hospitality, at its heart is simply welcoming the other as truly a gift and the beloved of God.  Simple, but not easy.   

Please also keep in your prayers those from our Diocese who have traveled to participate in the March for Life in Washington DC this week.  Please pray for their safety and that they will be blessed during this pilgrimage.  And please join me in praying a prayer of thanksgiving for their witness.  Dedicated disciples, “are willing to make their faith visible, to share it with others and to witness inside and outside their parish.”  We are blessed by their courage and their joyful defense of life!
(quotations taken from Through Him, With Him and In Him, pp. 29, 33, 37 and 39-40; and Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, pp. 14 and 16)


Heavenly Father, thank you
for the precious gift of life.
Help us to cherish and protect
this gift, even in the midst of fear,
pain, and suffering.
Give us love for all people,
especially the most vulnerable,
and help us bear witness to the
truth that every life is worth living.
Grant us the humility to accept 
help when we are in need,
and teach us to be merciful to all.
Through our words and actions,
may others encounter the
outstretched hands
of Your mercy.
We ask this through
Christ, our Lord.
               (Day 2 of the Novena)


Pray the Novena with us!

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Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418
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