Life is precious. From conception to natural death, life is a gift that should be respected as such. Just look to scripture for the reasons why:
(Genesis 1:26-31) God created man and woman in his image.
(Psalms 139:13-16) God formed each of us and knows us intimately.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops summarizes the earthly reasons why we should respect life with this statement: “The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.”
For this reason, each October the Church has designated an entire month to remind us of the sanctity of life. This focus continues in a yearlong effort that spans through September of the following year.
Here in the Diocese of Orange, the Office of Life, Justice and Peace, under the direction of Greg Walgenbach, has prepared a month-long series to kick off this year’s Life and Dignity program. Here’s a look at special events planned for October.
Thursday, Oct. 5; 6:30 p.m. / Screening of “Give Me Shelter,” followed by panel discussion
To kick off Life and Dignity Month, the Office of Life, Justice and Peace will host a screening of “Give Me Shelter.” This 2013 indy drama follows a pregnant teenager as she flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected by her stepmother and forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative.
Following the film will be a discussion with an informed panel of experts. This includes: Clare Venegas, president, Obria Clinic; Ellen Roy, executive director, Mary’s Shelter; Therese Murphy, executive director, Precious Life Shelter; and Dr. Jim Pugh, executive program director, Casa Teresa.
Friday, Oct. 13; 6:30 p.m. / “Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz” (Multiple Live Performances)
The performance is a powerful Catholic multimedia production about St. Maximilian Kolbe. Actor Leonardo Defilippis captures the darkness of this troubling time in a visceral and heartfelt performance. The show incorporates chilling footage from Poland and Germany during World War II. With its message of standing firm in the face of persecution, Maximilian has special significance for our time.
Thursday, Oct. 19; 6:30 p.m. / Screening of “Children of Men,” followed by panel discussion
For the third week of Life and Dignity Month, the Office of Life, Justice and Peace will host a screening of “Children of Men.” According to the film’s summary information: “In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.”
Following the film will be a discussion with an informed panel of experts. This includes: Maria Arroyo, relationship manager, Catholic Relief Services and Greg Walgenbach, director of Life, Justice and Peace, Diocese of Orange.
Thursday, Oct. 26; 6:30 p.m. / Screening of “Being Mortal”
For the final week of Life and Dignity Month, the Office of Life, Justice and Peace will host a screening of “Being Mortal.” The film’s summary information states: “Explores relationships between doctors and their patients nearing the end of life. Follows writer and surgeon Atul Gawande as he delves into the relationships doctors have with patients are dying.”