Respect Life Month

October is Respect Life Month, with the first Sunday of the month (October 1, 2023) designated as Respect Life Sunday. The day and month provide opportunities to reflect more deeply on the value of each human life and on efforts to protect life from conception to natural death.

From beginning to end, or “womb to tomb,” the catechism states: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end” (2258). Practices such as abortion, assisted suicide and capital punishment violate the dignity of the human person and must be rejected. In today’s world, this truth can be subverted in favor of how useful someone is or will be, casting aside those most vulnerable: the unborn, women and children, those living in poverty, the ill, the incarcerated, those living with disabilities and the elderly.

Made in God’s Image

In the very beginning of the Bible, we’re told that “God created mankind in his image” – that we were created to share in God’s life through knowledge and love, establishing us in a unique friendship with our Creator that elevates us above all else in creation. (Gn 1:27; CCC 355-356) Each of us is a reflection of God called to share in love and creation. As we hear in the book of the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (1:5).

Therefore, God’s love for his children is not based on usefulness or status in society, and Christ’s life and teachings continually guide us toward that message: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (25:40), and “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (19:14)

Respect Life Month reminds us of the other part of that equation as we work toward ending the culture of death: respect. Not only are the people considering or supporting life-denying options often in dire positions, but they are also God’s children. So, when we come across this type of situation, let us be Christ to one another in our words and actions and speak the words of life with love and compassion.

Radical Solidarity

The theme for 2023 is “Radical Solidarity, to be courageously pro-woman, promoting a choice that truly protects, accompanies, and supports women and their children.” It calls us to work together to bring about a culture of life through radical, sacrificial, Christ-like love. As Saint John Paul II wrote, “a radical solidarity with women requires that the underlying causes which make a child unwanted be addressed.” 

How to Celebrate Respect Life Month

Learn more about Church teachings. The catechism is a tremendous resource to learn more about our faith. You can read more about Church teachings on respect for life in paragraphs 2258-2317 (or the overview in paragraphs 2318-2330). Additionally, check out St. John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”).

Get your affairs in order. Walk the walk by ensuring your own life is aligned with Church teachings. Find a life-affirming doctor to take over your care. Plan your advance medical directives in accordance with Catholic values. Reach out to your parish or diocese for Natural Family Planning education.

Volunteer. Pro-life ministries, pregnancy and crisis centers, foster care programs and prison ministries all could use your help! Encouraging and growing a culture of life begins in our own communities.

Walk in Christ’s love with others. It’s easy to say we’re pro-life, but we must always remember that Jesus always put God’s love into action, and we must also: “This is the way we may know that we are in union with [Jesus]: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.” (1 Jn 2:6) Unexpected pregnancies, life-threatening illnesses, depression, poverty and incarceration happen constantly – what will we do if it arrives on our doorstep as a loved one or acquaintance in need? Let us resolve to act as Christ did by offering a compassionate witness, sharing life-affirming options, and walk with the most vulnerable to care for and protect human life.

Pray. There are many opportunities to pray for specific Respect Life Month concerns ranging from rosaries to novenas and beyond. Simply adding your concerns and thanksgiving for life to God in your daily prayer is great.

Respect Life Month Events and Services

  • Respect Life Sunday: October 1
  • Rosary for the Unborn in Biddeford, October 3 - A Rosary Recital for the Unborn is held the first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at St. Anne's Chapel, located at St. Joseph Church, 178 Elm Street in Biddeford.
  • Rosary Rally in Bangor, October 7 - A Rosary rally will be held to offer prayers for America and for an end to abortion will be held Saturday, October 7, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 768 Ohio Street in Bangor.  The gathering will be outdoors weather permitting, and if not, it will move inside the church.
  • World Day Against the Death Penalty: October 10
  • Respect Life Month novena: October 13-21
  • Falmouth - In honor of the month of the Holy Rosary and in support of the 40 Days for Life campaign, all are invited to join in praying the Rosary for Life in the grotto at Holy Martyrs of North America Church, 266 Foreside Road in Falmouth.

Prayer for Radical Solidarity

O Blessed Mother, at the angel’s word you went in haste to the aid of your cousin Elizabeth. Although pregnant yourself, you placed her needs before your own.

By your example of radical solidarity, teach us to reverence and protect those in need, without conditions or expectations. Ask your Son to give us unfailing determination to witness to the profound dignity of every person, at every stage and in every circumstance.

In that first Eucharistic procession, you carried Jesus to Elizabeth in her time of need. Obtain for us the grace to bring Christ to any expectant mother who is alone and afraid.

May our support help them to find hope and strength in the Lord. Amen.

Copyright © 2023, USCCB, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

Additional Prayers

A Prayer to Joseph, Defender of Life (External site)

A Prayer for Pregnant Mothers (External site)

Prayer for Radical Solidarity (External site)


To support Respect Life Month and Respect Life Sunday, the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities provides materials to help Catholics better understand and appreciate the gift of human life and help build a culture that cherishes and protects it. The resources are available at Additional resources may be found below.

40 Days for Life (External site)

Mother Seton House in Fryeburg (Support for pregnant women, new mothers, and infants)

Project Rachel (Providing hope, understanding, and healing to women and men whose lives have been affected by abortion.) 

Respect Life Action Guide

Respect Life Poster

Statement of BIshop Michael Burbige, Chairman of the USCCB Committe on Pro-Life Activities

Ten Ways to Support Her When She is Unexpectedly Expecting (External site)