The month of October has several important themes. Perhaps most urgent for us today is “Respect Life.” Both our faith and our reason call us to respect the value of each human life - from the moment of conception to natural death. It’s sometimes easy to get discouraged on these issues. What was once an unspeakable tragedy has become a “choice” even a “constitutional right.” Still, in spite of this, there are some signs of encouragement. National studies show that a higher percentage of our young understand the sacredness of the gift of sexuality and are choosing to wait until marriage in order to use that gift. Correspondingly the overall number of abortions has gone down in the United States. Nevertheless, that fact that over one million unborn babies are destroyed each year in this country is a cause for great concern. Along with that must be included the great number of chemical abortions caused by the “morning after pill,” not to mention the potential abortifacient effect of Depo Provera, Norplant and the ordinary birth control pill.

Human life is being attacked at the other end of the spectrum. As a higher percentage of our population faces prolonged, terminal illnesses, there is a great temptation to “euthanasia.” Although the issue is exceedingly complex, still the same basic principle applies as in the case of abortion: it is not morally permissible to directly intervene to terminate an innocent human life. The word “innocent” of course is important because there is such a thing as the legitimate right of self-defense which in an extreme situation may require taking the life of an aggressor. But that exception can hardly be invoked in the case of an unborn baby or a terminally ill parent.

Regarding respect for human life there are a myriad of political issue which we will be asked to evaluate as we prepare to cast our votes in November. While the Catholic Church does not endorse any candidate, still she insists that her members take into account these basic life issues as they make up their minds regarding different candidates and initiatives.

While politics are an important part of our overall Christian discipleship, we must recognize there are many other things each of us can do to promote basic values in our society. For us as Christians by far the most important is prayer. Sometimes we can become so involved in the immediate concerns of our world, that we can forget what is the true wellspring of history. That brings us to the second great theme of the month of October: Consecration of ourselves and our families to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Holy Father is encouraging us to consecrate ourselves totally. Below are prayers which can be used in the family and by youth:

Prayer for the Entrustment of the Family

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I come to you to entrust myself and my entire family to your two hearts. I desire to renew the vows of my baptism and place each member of my family through an act of faith, hope and love into loving union with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I dedicate myself and each member of my family to the Guardian Angels God has given each one of us. O Holy Guardian Angels, enlighten, guide and protect each one so as to lead us safely home to heaven.    

At Fatima, dear Mother of God, you appeared with St Joseph and the Child Jesus blessing the world. O Holy Family, bestow blessings upon me and my entire family so that we may live the Christ-life. I desire that each member of my family adore always the Most Blessed Trinity and love our God in the most Blessed Sacrament.    

Grant peace to each member of my family. Keep each one in the grace of Jesus Christ. Never permit any of my family to stray from the true faith. (For any family member who has strayed, I beseech you to bind up the wounds, lift up the fallen, restore and keep each of our loved ones in grace. Bid them come back to their Father's true home.)                                                 Amen

ACT OF ENTRUSTMENT TO THE MOST BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (For Young People)

Virgin of Fatima, my dearly beloved Mother, I  entrust myself today, in a very special way, to your Immaculate Heart. By this solemn act, I offer my whole life to you, my heart, my soul, my body and especially this time of my youth in which I am now living. Guide me along the way that Jesus has traced out for us: The way of love, of goodness and of sanctity. Help me to flee from sin, from evil and from egoism and to resist temptations to violence, to impurity, and to drugs. I promise you to go to confession often and to receive Jesus into my heart as my spiritual food of life, to observe the commandments of God and to walk along the road of love and purity. I want to be a witness of unity by my great love for the Pope, for my bishop, and for my priests. I love you, O sweetest Mother of mine, and I offer you my youth for the triumph of your Immaculate Heart in the world.

see: Entrustment Crusade

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An invitation: On Thursday, October 5, there will be the opportunity for confession from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Holy Family Church. Please come with your family to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and make a new beginning in your life.