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October 2, 2003 Edition

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Life is a Miracle: Let's celebrate every one

My husband and I will never forget the birth of our children. What an awesome experience to be present when a baby enters this world. It is indeed a miracle!

We all marvel at the birth of a baby. Yet that baby started out at conception as a tiny embryo. The embryo just needed nurturing and time to become the infant we welcomed into our lives.

Threats to life. We should celebrate the miracle of every baby. However, our society does not appreciate each miracle of life. A mother is allowed to choose whether she wants to allow the baby to grow and develop. If she chooses not to give life, she is legally able to abort this life.

Later on, the miracle of life may be threatened by those who advocate assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, and use of human embryoes in research and cloning. Our society often promotes an "end justifies the means" mentality, looks at economic factors, and considers vulnerable lives expendable.

I believe we can trace this callous view of life back to support for abortion. If we don't value the life in a mother's womb, then what do we value?

Respect Life program. To emphasize the value of all human life, the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has chosen the theme, "Life Is a Miracle," for the annual Respect Life Sunday (Oct. 5). This kicks off October as Respect Life Month.

Materials for this observance are designed to "educate Catholics about current and emerging threats to human life and dignity, but also to awaken in them a desire to celebrate and bear witness to God's creative and redeeming love for every human being," said Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

This year's materials focus on abortion, end-of-life care, the death penalty, cloning, and the political debate surrounding life issues. There is also a liturgy guide and clip art is provided for use in bulletins and newsletters. Copies of the kit are $5 each and may be ordered by calling 866-582-0943.

I encourage all Catholics to educate themselves on these life issues. Respect life topics should be included in Catholic school, religious education, and youth ministry programs - not just during October, but throughout the year.

Celebrate life. And above all, we must celebrate the miracle of life in our own families, neighborhoods, and parishes. I urge people to cherish babies, children, the disabled, the sick, and the dying. Support pregnant women. Provide assistance to needy families. Visit the sick. Remember all people in prayer.

Life is a miracle. Let's celebrate every one!

Mary C. Uhler, editor

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Magliano column 'heartening'
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Madison, WI 53744-4985

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To the editor:

The column "Making a Difference" by Tony Magliano (Sept. 18, 2003 [print edition only]) was very heartening to read. Not since the death of Msgr. George Higgins have we seen any articles remotely resembling Catholic social justice on the pages of the Catholic Herald.

Mr. Magliano may be correct in saying that "The church's leaders would come under attack from both the left and right" if they were to openly espouse the teachings put forth in the papal encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum and Quadregesimo Anno and a host of other encyclicals and papal letters, but that is no reason not to.

The real danger lies in their being misquoted and reprinted out of context by those conservative elements in the church that fear them.

Just as Holy Scripture can be twisted to support viewpoints that run counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ, so can the church's teaching on social justice. Therefore, it is imperative that the Catholic Church's leaders take an active role in promoting and expounding on the tenets of Catholic social justice.

Again, Mr. Magliano may be right that Catholic social teaching "will remain our best kept secret," but only if we allow it to remain so. Msgr. Higgins certainly did not keep silent about them. What this country needs are a few, good, old-fashioned "labor priests."

Jerome Joyce, Madison

Appreciation for retreat information

To the editor:

It was great to see the retreat article on page 14 of the Sept. 11 issue of the Catholic Herald [print edition only] on "getting in tune with what God is telling us." Our people need to hear of the wonderful experience of a retreat.

Our Beloit-Janesville group has been attending one retreat in St. Louis for the past 50 plus years. We currently have a group of about 20 each year. We also have men attending another retreat in Oshkosh for over 15 years. There's even a twelve step retreat for those recovering and affected people. What a blessing it is to go on retreat once or twice a year.

God truly has a way of "getting in tune with us."

Greetings to our new bishop. You'll be in our daily prayers.

Donald J. Eckert, Janesville

Article helps create Catholic home

To the editor:

The article "Getting Religion: Thanks Mom and Dad" by Jack McBride is an excellent article with hints to parents as "they work to create a Catholic home," and an aid for catechists.

After obtaining Jack's permission, I plan on putting this in our October parent newsletter. I will also place it with the catechists' memo. Thanks, Jack, for the great article and recommendations.

Mary Woodke, director of religious education, St. John the Baptist Parish, Muscoda/St. Joseph Parish, Avoca

Rosary outside clinic is blessing

To the editor:

Our Milwaukee Archdiocese Catholic Herald had a brief mention of your wonderful Bishop Morlino saying Mass and a rosary with pro-lifers of your Madison area at an abortion clinic. That I consider to be a miracle, since that has never transpired to my knowledge in this archdiocese . . . ever. How blessed you all are.

Frank Peter Mrnik, Cudahy

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