The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Respect Life Sunday at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Wake Forest, October 7, 2012. The Bishop addressed this year’s theme, “Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty.”
He spoke of the cherished gift of religious liberty that we enjoy as Americans and of the need to protect that freedom in the wake of recent government action. Bishop Burbidge talked also of the need to protect the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, also under challenge in our society. And he noted how the Year of Faith, which will begin in the Diocese of Raleigh on October 20 at the annual Catholic Convocation, offers each of us the opportunity “to profess and live our faith with renewed conviction, confidence and hope.”
In his Respect Life Sunday letter to the faithful, Bishop Burbidge wrote, “It is my prayer that this Year will be an opportunity for growth in your intimate relationship with Our Lord Jesus and a renewed commitment to fully embrace the Gospel of Life.
“We are to bring the very image of God and the power of His love to all people,” the Bishop said, “most especially those whose human dignity is most vulnerable: the unborn, the aged, the immigrant, the poor, the forgotten and the prisoner.”
Read Bishop Burbidge’s Respect Life Sunday letter: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
Bishop Burbidge struck similar themes in his comments October 5 at the annual Benefit for Life Gala, held to support four Respect Life organizations in the Diocese: Birthchoice, Project Rachel, Project Gabriel and Family Honor.
The Bishop spoke of the importance of being faithful citizens, noting the Diocesan plan to provide Catholics in the Diocese guidance on how to properly form their consciences as they prepare to cast their votes in the upcoming general election.
“Our highest priority must always be the protection of the innocent from the destruction of life by abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and euthanasia or colluding in the killing of any innocent life,” Bishop Burbidge told the gathering of approximately 400 people.
“Credible witnesses,” he continued, “do not comprise their beliefs and faith. Credible witnesses, in a world that so often lacks civility, must always treat all persons with respect. Credible witnesses reflect a certain joy and peace, fruits of the Holy Spirit and gifts from knowing, living and embracing the Truth.
“How blessed we are,” he concluded, “to have the gift of faith. May it always open our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty and, with God’s grace and Mary’s help, may we always be credible witnesses who bring Jesus and his Gospel of Life to our world at this critical time, throughout the Year of Faith and always."
Msgr. Jim Lisante, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Center, NY, and host of a nationally syndicated Catholic radio program, was guest speaker. Other speakers were Mrs. Betty Rogosich, CEO of Birthcoice, and Mrs. Jackie Bonk, Director of the Diocesan Pro-Life Office and Director of Project Rachel.
View photo gallery from Benefit for Life Gala
Above: Parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena attending Respect Life Sunday Mass on October 7.
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Below: Benefit for Life Gala held October 5 in Raleigh as gathering listens to remarks by Bishop Burbidge.