Bonnie Thom is the new director for the Respect Life office. (Catholic Herald photo by Janelle Roe)

During the month of October each year, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life month. During this month especially, we are called to spend time reflecting on the dignity of every human life.

Each year, the USCCB Pro Life Secretariat introduces a theme for our efforts in building a culture of life. The theme for this year’s Respect Life program is “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: Hope is the virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (1817)

How often do we ourselves rely on grace to get us through difficult times? As we grow from a child to an adult and into our later years, we all have times of trials. I think we can learn from St. Francis de Sales when he tells us, “… at every season of life, early or late, in youth or in old age, I can expect my salvation from the pure goodness and mercy of God alone, it is much better to cast myself from this moment into the arms of his clemency than to wait till another time.” (“Consoling Thoughts: On Trials of an Interior Life,” compiled by Pere Huguet)

At other times, we may look out into this wounded world and pray for the wisdom and strength to be what Christ needs us to be at that moment. Do we allow the Holy Spirit to move us toward others in their time of need? There are many things we can do to help the people in our lives as they experience different stages or challenges. May we all take the time to reflect on the theme for this year, and let it move us into a deeper relationship with God as well as with the people in our lives.

We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” (CCC 1821)

Each year, the Office of Respect Life for the Diocese of Superior holds an essay contest for the youth of our diocese on the Respect Life Theme. I am always amazed at the wisdom of our youth.

The contest is open to youth in grades five through 12. If you would like the requirements for the essay contest, contact Bonita Thom in the Office of Respect Life at the Diocese of Superior at or 715-394-0206.

Bonita Thom is the Office of Respect Life director for the Diocese of Superior