The bishops of Britain will mark a Day for Life on Sunday, July 31. Similar to Respect Life Sunday in the United States, it is held in response to the request of Blessed Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae:
“…following the suggestion made by the Cardinals in the Consistory of 1991, I propose that a Day for Life be celebrated each year in every country, as already established by some Episcopal Conferences. The celebration of this Day should be planned and carried out with the active participation of all sectors of the local Church. Its primary purpose should be to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. Particular attention should be drawn to the seriousness of abortion and euthanasia, without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration, as occasion and circumstances demand.“ (EV, #85)
“…moved by profound concern for the destiny of every man and woman, I repeat what I said to those families who carry out their challenging mission amid so many difficulties: 135 a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.“ (EV, #100)
The theme for this year’s day is happiness:
Day for Life 2011 reflects on what it means to live a full and happy life. It takes as its starting point the words of Pope Benedict during his recent visit to Britain, when he said:
“Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts”.
Day for Life this year is a call to us to work for a society in which all are valued as created, loved by God, redeemed by Christ; not for their fame, or power or what they own but for their intrinsic worth. It is a call to rediscover the truth that our deepest happiness and joy comes from the knowledge that we are all loved by God from the very beginning and that trusting in God’s love, through our setbacks and difficulties, our own ‘joy will be complete’ (Jn 10:10).
Each year, in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Bishops’ Conferences work closely together to celebrate Day for Life.
The readings of the day are quite suitable.