Respect Life and Social Justice Month – October 2018

Respect Life and Social Justice Month

Event Guide

October 2018

Planning your Event

Proposed Timeline for Event and Youth Track

Letter to the Editor Tips

Sample Social Media Posts

Pictures for Advertising and for Social Media

Liturgy Resources

This guide will give examples of things to do as well as an example of a format for your event. Use this guide in whatever way best fits your local gathering. This guide is designed for a whole morning/afternoon/evening event. If you plan on doing a shorter event you can remove some of the videos/reflections. This guide is designed so you can organize your event in whatever way makes the most sense for your community.

Planning your event

Step 1 – Getting a team together: Gather people together to plan and organize the event. Make sure you include people from various backgrounds and different experiences/passions to showcase the breadth of Catholic Social Teaching.

Step 2- Find a space and publicize your event:  Hold the event at your parish or a community center; somewhere that allows enough space for food and socializing. You will need to have the ability to show videos to those gathered in the space and it should be comfortable enough for the anticipated group that gathers. Internet access is necessary for videos. Make the space welcoming and decorate with materials directed at sharing in the diversity of the community. Use social media and other means to advertise your event. Some sample graphics and social media posts have been included in this packet below.

Step 3 – “Reaching out”: Share your event on social media! Take pictures, live tweet, go on social media with a live video feed! When sharing on social media use the hashtag #dbqarch. Maybe create photo booth area where people can have their picture taken and tag it #dbqarch and #respectlifesocialjustice .

Step 4 – Hospitality: Will you have a potluck? Coffee and doughnuts? Cookies and juice? Depending on time of day and where you are planning to have this event there are various ways to organize your hospitality. Perhaps you could have a potluck after mass on Respect Life Sunday or host an evening gathering during the week. Providing hospitality is always an important aspect of any community gathering.

Step 5 – Test all audio visual equipment before the start of the event.

Step 6 How long will your event be? Have a start and end time planned out in advance, and advertise the schedule for the event, so folks who attend can plan accordingly.

Step 7 – Childcare: It isn’t always easy for parents of young children to attend events because of the need to arrange for childcare. Consider ways in which youth can be incorporated into the day or you may choose to provide childcare at the event so that parents find it easier to attend the event.


Proposed Timeline for Event

I. Introduction to the event (5-10 minutes)

Welcome people to the event. Introduce those who helped plan the event as well as offer an opportunity for people to get to know one another at their tables. There will be discussion questions later on after videos and it can foster the conversation if everyone knows each other’s names at their respective tables.

II. Opening prayer from Roman Missal (5 minutes)

For giving thanks to God for the gift of human life (collect)

God our Creator,

We give thanks to you,

Who alone have the power to impart the breath of life

As you form each of us in our mother’s womb;

Grant, we pray,

That we, whom you have made stewards of creation,

May remain faithful to this sacred trust

And constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever.



III. To set the context for the day invite the people to take turns at their table reading each paragraph from Gaudium et Spes, a document from the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et Spes, 26-27)

  1. Every day human interdependence grows more tightly drawn and spreads by degrees over the whole world. As a result the common good, that is, the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment, today takes on an increasingly universal complexion and consequently involves rights and duties with respect to the whole human race. Every social group must take account of the needs and legitimate aspirations of other groups, and even of the general welfare of the entire human family.

At the same time, however, there is a growing awareness of the exalted dignity proper to the human person, since he stands above all things, and his rights and duties are universal and inviolable. Therefore, there must be made available to all men everything necessary for leading a life truly human, such as food, clothing, and shelter; the right to choose a state of life freely and to found a family, the right to education, to employment, to a good reputation, to respect, to appropriate information, to activity in accord with the upright norm of one’s own conscience, to protection of privacy and rightful freedom even in matters religious…

  1. Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity, so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.

In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, “As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me” (Matt. 25:40).

Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

  1. How does this excerpt help us define what it means to be “pro-life?” (5 minutes)


IV. Play Video from Office of Respect Life and Social Justice 

Table Reflection (5 minutes)

  1. Respecting the dignity of all life and caring for the common good are fundamental principles of our faith that guide us to live our lives according to the Gospel. Where do these teachings originate?
  2. Why does the Church teach these principles?
  3. List all of the different issues that affect your local community related to respect life and social justice

V. Background video on the Catholic Church’s teaching on respect life and social justice.

(You may choose to review all the videos or just a few. You may choose to have participants discuss all the questions or just one or two for each video. Whatever time allows and/or works best for your local needs. It is recommended to at least use the Life and Dignity of the Human Person as well as the Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable videos.)

CST 101 – Life and Dignity of the Human Person

  1. Is anyone excluded from the fundamental right to life?
  2. Can a person ever lose their intrinsic dignity?
  3. Discuss times in which you struggled to recognize the intrinsic dignity of another

Handout for Life and Dignity of the Human Person (to take home and reflect on after event)

CST 101 – Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

  1. Who are the poor and vulnerable in our midst?
  2. What does it mean to have a “preferential option”?
  3. In what ways do we personally and as a society deny the poor and vulnerable a preferential option?
  4. How can we individually and as society advocate and partner with the poor and vulnerable?

Handout for Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable (to take home and reflect on after the event)

CST 101 – Rights and Responsibilities

  1. What human rights do we have? How do we defend the human rights of others in society?
  2. Do we ever ignore the human rights of others?
  3. What responsibilities do we have to one another?

Handout for Rights and Responsibilities (to take home and reflection on after the event)

CST 101 – Call to Family, Community and Participation

  1. What are ways in which family unity is under attack in our society?
  2. How can we strengthen our own families and promote family well-being in other families as a church?
  3. How can be strengthen our community?

Handout for Call to Family, Community and Participation (to take home and reflect on after the event)

CST 101 – Solidarity

  1. What is solidarity?
  2. Do we deny solidarity with others, migrants, refugees, people in other countries, the poor and vulnerable, the prisoner, etc? How?
  3. How might we enter into solidarity with others?

Handout for Solidarity (to take home and reflect on after the event)

CST 101 – Dignity of Work and Rights of the Worker

  1. What are basic rights of workers according to the Church?
  2. How can those rights be achived?
  3. As consumer in what ways can our parish, family, school support workers here and abroad?

Handout for Dignity of Work and Rights of the Worker (to take home and reflect on after the event)

CST 101 – Care for Creation

  1. How ought we to care for creation?
  2. Why is it part of our church doctrine to care for creation?
  3. How does Care for Creation connect to the previous six principles of Catholic social doctrine?

Handout for Care for Creation (to take home and reflect on after the event)

Playlist for all seven CST 101 videos:

Video (5minutes) *** Living at the Poverty Line

Table Reflection (5-10 minutes)

  1. How is addressing poverty a respect life and social justice issue?
  2. How might our community advocate to policy makers to reduce poverty in our community?


VII. Play Advocacy video

Maybe one or more of the following

5 tips for advocacy – Though this video was created for businesses, the tips are relevant to the work of the faithful advocating for issues related to respect life and social justice.

CNS story college students advocating

Choose an issue or two for advocacy and request information from the Office of Respect Life and Social Justice for you to share with participants.

VIII. Closing prayer (5 minutes)


****Socializing with food, entertainment, etc. can happen before, during, or after the event begins. Whatever works best for your local gathering.****




Youth Track

For different age levels of youth go to the Respect Life and Social Justice Formation for All page for a large variety of videos, activities, and resources linked there. Choose what will work best for your community. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you have to use everything found there.



Letters to the Editor Tips (adapted from JFI toolkit)

Writing a letter to the editor (LTE) is the perfect way to add another perspective, offer a rebuttal, or express your appreciation for an already-published article or commentary piece. Please let us know if your letter to the editor is published! We might be able to promote it on our social media. Completing this final step in the letter to the editor process helps ensure that your letter’s impact is even greater.

Letter to the Editor Writing Tips

  • Keep it short (150-250 words) – If you don’t edit your LTE, the news outlet might edit it for you. Since they could cut out your main point, it’s best to write something both punchy and brief.
  • Speak in your own voice. Tell why the article matters to you. Talk about your faith, professional experience or knowledge of climate change. Be personal and authentic. Be respectful, charitable, and merciful.
  • Get local. Editors are generally more interested in letters that highlight local impacts. Can you relate the issues raised in a national piece to issues impacting your own community?
  • Get personal. Respect life and social justice is about the consequences on human persons. Personalize your perspective with a story about people you know affected by topics related to respect life and social justice- a family member or someone you know from your church.
  • Follow these best practices:
    1. Reference a recent article (if possible). Your letter is most likely to be published if it responds directly to the newspaper’s recent coverage of a specific issue. Mention the article you’re responding to by its headline and date.
    2. Send your LTE in the body of your email, not as an attachment.
    3. Include contact information: Include your full name, contact information, location, and profession or expertise (if relevant) in the email as well. (The paper will not print your contact information.)
  • Be timely – Try to get your LTE in within one to three days the relevant article is published


Social Media

Sample Twitter Posts

Celebrate life! Come to (place of event) on (date) for prayer, reflection and community to celebrate October Respect Life and Social Justice month! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Being pro-life is more than you may think. It touches on every aspect of our human existence. Join us on (date) @ (place of event) for prayer, reflection and community celebration of life! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Join us on (date) @ (place of event) to celebrate life through prayer, reflection, and socializing! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Sample Facebook post below:


Come join the (parish/parishes) of (city/area) in a (day/afternoon/morning) of prayer, reflection and socializing to celebrate the gift of life that God has granted each and every one of us. (upload photo)


Celebrate life! Come to (place of event) on (date) for prayer, reflection and community to celebrate October Respect Life and Social Justice month! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Being pro-life is more than you may think. It touches on every aspect of our human existence. Join us on (date) @ (place of event) for prayer, reflection and community celebration of life! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Join us on (date) @ (place of event) to celebrate life through prayer, reflection, and socializing! #dbqarch #respectlifesocialjustice #cst101


Pictures for advertising and social media

While open in Word right click on the picture and “save as” so you can share on social media (no copyright)























Liturgy Resources

Roman Missal

Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions

For Civil Needs

  1. For the Nation
  2. For Those in Public Office
  3. For a Governing Assembly
  4. For the Head of State or Ruler
  5. For the Sanctification of Human Labor
  6. For the Progress of Peoples
  7. For the Perseverance of Peace and Justice
  8. In Time of War or Civil Disturbance
  9. For Refugees and Exiles
  10. In Time of Famine or for Those Suffering Hunger


For Various Occasions

  1. For Those Held in Captivity
  2.             For Those in Prison
  3. For the Sick
  4. For the Dying
  5. For the Grace of a Happy Death

48/1. For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life


Sample Petitions. Choose just a few out of the following:


That the life of every human person,
from conception to natural death,
might be enshrined and protected in our laws;
We pray to the Lord:

For children awaiting adoption:
May they be welcomed
into loving families;
We pray to the Lord:

Por los niños que esperan ser adoptados:
para que sean acogidos
en familias amorosas;
roguemos al Señor:

For parents placing their children for adoption:
May they encounter the Father’s love
through our words and actions;
We pray to the Lord:

Por los padres que colocan a sus hijos en adopción:
para que encuentren el amor del Padre
mediante nuestras palabras y acciones;
roguemos al Señor:

For married couples considering adoption:
May the Lord guide their journey
and grant them peace along the way;
We pray to the Lord:

Por las parejas casadas que consideran adoptar:
para que el Señor guíe sus pasos
y les conceda paz a lo largo del camino;
roguemos al Señor:

For those struggling with terrible diseases:
that each day might be a new revelation
of God’s love for them;
We pray to the Lord:

For those for whom death is near:
that all their days of walking with the Lord
might show them the way home;
We pray to the Lord:

For those who have lost hope,
and especially for those condemned to die:
that we might work to save their lives;
We pray to the Lord:

For those deprived of their human needs,
and their human rights:
that they may be given the dignity
which God confers on all his people;
We pray to the Lord:

For all who are forgotten or thrown away,
and especially for the poor, the sick and the aged:
that God might change our hearts
and move us to love them as the image of Christ;
We pray to the Lord:

For mothers broken by the memory of a child lost to abortion:
that through the intercession of the Mother of God,
the gentle and merciful love of God may heal their innermost being;
We pray to the Lord:

For (your U.S. Representative), and (your U.S. Senator):
and all the leaders of our country:
that God may make them strong and effective defenders
of the poor, the unborn and the forgotten;
We pray to the Lord:

For an end to all laws,
which legalize the taking of a human life:
that our nation might embrace truth and justice;
We pray to the Lord:

That the good seed of the Gospel of Life
may take root in our land
and grow to the glory of God;
We pray to the Lord

For those who are mentally disabled,
that we might cherish the gifts God has given them,
and in their lives hear the voice of our loving God;
We pray to the Lord

For every person who suffers from violence,
and especially for women whose pain breaks their hearts,
that through the intercession of she whose heart was pierced with a sword,
they might know peace and strength;
We pray to the Lord

For our parish, that we may cultivate welcome,
extend hospitality, and encourage the
participation of people of all cultures,
ethnicities and backgrounds, let us pray to the Lord.

For an end to the violence perpetrated
by harsh words, deadly weapons, or cold indifference.
May our homes, our nation, and countries
around the world become havens of peace,
let us pray to the Lord.

For the grace to see every human being
as a child of God, regardless of race,
language or culture, let us pray to the Lord.

For the wisdom to receive the stories
and experiences of those different from
ourselves and to respond with respect,
let us pray to the Lord.

For the strength to teach our children
how to resolve differences non-violently
and respectfully, and the courage to
model it in our own behavior,
let us pray to the Lord.

For healing and justice for all
those who have experienced
violence and racism,
let us pray to the Lord.

For the Church, the she may continue
to be the voice for all human life, from
conception until natural death and
model and promote justice in our nation and world.

For Pope Francis, that he may
be strengthened God’s grace and continue
to serve the Church with a servant’s heart.

For our parish and community
that we may be filled with love, justice and mercy.

For each of us gathered here
that we may hear the call of
God to serve those in need.

For an end to attacks of
human dignity and life such as abortion, euthanasia,
doctor prescribed suicide, war, racism, xenophobia,
the death penalty, torture, and slavery

For the promotion of a Culture of Life
which recognizes the dignity of all people
including the immigrant, the refugee,
the prisoner, the sick, the poor and vulnerable