Life Chain participants position themselves Oct. 7, 2018, in front of St. Veronica Parish, Howell, to show their support for the unborn. Joe Moore photo
Life Chain participants position themselves Oct. 7, 2018, in front of St. Veronica Parish, Howell, to show their support for the unborn. Joe Moore photo

As a prayerful start to Respect Life month, and to increase awareness of the numerous methods faithful can assure their voices may be heard, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will celebrate a “40 Days for Life” Mass 7 p.m. Sept. 24 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold.

“Each October the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday,” noted Rachel Hendricks, diocesan coordinator of respect life ministry. “As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.”

One such method is the internationally coordinated “40 Days for Life” campaign. Slated for Sept. 25 through Nov. 3, the campaign aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. One such location is the Planned Parenthood facility on Newman Springs Road, Shrewsbury. To learn more about the campaign, see their website at

Parishes and pastors plan events such as life chains, Holy Hours and Rosaries for life, special memorial services for the unborn, Spiritual Adoption programs, speakers and pro-life displays, Hendricks said. Parish bulletins and websites reveal how each faith community expresses their love for life.

Three Life Chains within the Trenton Diocese are planned: in Howell in front of the St. Veronica Parish rectory on Route 9 (contact Thomas Moresco 732-367-2565); in Hamilton on Route 33 at Nottingham Way (contact Bob Pawson 609-610-3522), and in Toms River on Hooper Avenue in front of the county mall (contact Ed DeMarco 732-341-9029).

As Catholics who observe offenses against life, such as the N.J. assisted suicide law or legislation that prevents the protection of children born alive after failed abortion attempts, Hendricks advised, “Our first response must be with prayer and


“We must pray for the strength to continue to keep up with the increasing challenges in our culture,” Hendricks said. “We must educate ourselves about these issues and about Church teachings so that we can take proper action by getting involved in contacting our legislator to express our opposition to these types of laws. We can also respond by offering assistance to our pastors to help bring these important issues to our parishioners.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has produced a media kit ( to enable individuals and parishes to learn about the issue and mobilize to action through reflections, articles and graphics.

A letter from the committee chairman, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, introduced this year’s theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life,” and noted the Church is marking the 25th anniversary of the papal encyclical “Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life)” penned by then-Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Naumann stated, “The Church’s teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life remains an indispensable source for truth for all people… We bishops need your help. While there may be opportunities for decisive political action, we know that to build a true culture of life, we must seek to change hearts and minds. And your witness is essential.

“It is the vocation of the laity to go out to be as leaven in the world, a light in the darkness,” he continued. “Your daily activities take you to places I cannot go; they bring you to those I will never meet.

“May you allow Christ to renew and strengthen you, that He may work through you in each moment of every day.,” Achbishop Naumann said.