National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Election Year Respect Life and Rosary Feasts

BY Tom & April Hoopes

September 28-October 4, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/23/08 at 2:05 PM


Oct. 5, 2008 (Year A, Cycle II) is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is also Respect Life Sunday. On Oct. 5 at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI opens the Synod of Bishops, which will last throughout the month. Oct. 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Parish offers pro-life resources for parishes. For Respect Life Sunday materials, click “Homilies,” then “Observe Respect Life Sunday.”

To help parishes observe Respect Life Sunday, Priests for Life provides liturgical resources and suggested action items:

1. General intercessions.

2. Homily ideas on “Love them both” (the mother and child) and other pro-life topics.

3. Pro-life prayers, including “Commissioning of Your Parish Respect Life Group,” which can be done appropriately on Respect Life Sunday.

4. Bulletin inserts, short and long, on pro-life themes.

5. Action items for your parish for today and throughout the year.

Voter Education is the Register’s website. Find editorials under the “Opinion” tab.

See Tim Drake’s article in this issue for voting guides that stress pro-life themes.

Also, at the Register’s website, find the editorial “McCain and Obama on ‘Catholic’ Issues,” which simply compares the voting records of both candidates. Feel free to print and distribute or e-mail this editorial.


If you’re not in the habit of saying a daily family (or personal) Rosary, this year’s feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is a good time to start. The U.S. election can be motivation — Pope John Paul II asked each of us to pray a daily Rosary for peace and for the family, and Pope Benedict XVI has urgently repeated the request.

We have found several ways of making the family Rosary enjoyable for the kids. Here are a few:

1. Diorama Rosary. Depict the mysteries with religious statuettes or figurines.

2. Sketchpad Rosary. Kids draw each mystery as they say the prayers.

3. House Rosary. Say a different mystery in each room.

4. Mixed-up Rosary. Put each of the 20 mysteries on a separate piece of paper, and pick five at random from a hat.


For a movie with a surprising pro-Rosary message, see the Hitchcock film The Wrong Man, starring Henry Fonda.


Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalms 80:9, 12-16, 19-20; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43 offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

Today’s Gospel delivers a stinging challenge, yet offers a tremendous hope.

Jesus told the parable about the owner of the vineyard whose servants are mistreated by the workers, and then his son is killed.

He was referring to a vast tradition of imagery where God compares his chosen people to a vineyard. In today’s first reading, God abandons his vineyard. The Jewish audience understood that Christ was warning them. By rejecting him, they could very well lose God’s favor.

Catholics should feel an even greater challenge. God will never abandon his Church. But Catholics can betray Christ as much as anybody else and fall out of his favor. This has happened many times with many groups in the history of the Church; during the Reformation, in the dissolution of religious communities, and in the current crisis of faith in Europe.

But the Gospel also carries a tremendous hope. The parable also tells how the owner of the vineyard overcame his workers, even if they killed his son.

If it ever seems like God’s side loses every battle, we can take hope: God has always won the war — even after losing many battles.