Parish respect life committees and advocates for persons with disabilities reflect on joy of life

By TARA CONNOLLY Staff writer

“We are all ‘our brother’s keeper.’ There are so many areas where we must respect life,” said Father John Pendzick, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Whitehall, April 4 during “Evening of Reflection and Fellowship for Parish Respect Life Coordinators/Committees and Parish Advocates for Persons with Disabilities.”

More than 20 respect life coordinators, parish advocates and members of Lehigh Valley Pro-Life Future, a group of young, pro-life adults that creates a culture of life through education, activism and change, participated in the reflection at St. Francis Center for Renewal, Bethlehem.

During his talk, Father Pendzick told the faithful that many people hunger for Jesus, and when a person respects life he/she experiences personal joy and happiness.

“Our duty as Christian is to transmit that life is a true joy. In the culture of life, we look at another human being with a sense of wonder and awe. But we don’t always look at people that way, as a wonderful gift,” he said.

Father Pendzick reminded the committee members and parish advocates that Jesus came so “we can have life and have it abundantly” and pointed to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”) and St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”).

“Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are legal rights but they are also natural rights – meaning they are not dependent on law. Both Pope Paul and St. John Paul II said that everybody needs to know how beautiful and valuable life is,” he said.

In addition, Father Pendzick said there are other issues that denounce life, such as war, genocide, euthanasia, slavery, prostitution, human trafficking and poor working conditions.

To bring the Good News in the face of such deplorable issues, Father Pendzick told the advocates to turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“More people become Catholic in the Americas because of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is a great image to reflect on and to ask her how to protect life,” he said.

“Life is a precious gift. And Jesus came to redeem everyone. There is a desire in each of our hearts planted by God so we want to return to him.”

He reminded the coordinators and advocates that people who participate in euthanasia and abortionists are also people who are entitled to great love and respect.

To better understand why people denounce life, Father Pendzick told the faithful to rely on their faith.

“Faith helps us to understand where they are coming from. There are different approaches and means. It is up to us to try to inspire them and pray that God has that gift of faith for more people,” he said.