My dear friends in Christ,
This year the Church celebrates the 25th anniversary of the landmark pro-life encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life). Written by Pope St. John Paul II, this prophetic document passionately reaffirmed the Church’s constant teaching on the value and sacredness of every human life. It remains a foundational text for all our efforts to ensure that the life of every human person is protected and cherished.
This special anniversary is the inspiration behind this year’s Respect Life theme, “Live the Gospel of Life,” as well as many of the new materials. Thank you for responding to the call to actively live out the Gospel of Christ, which necessarily includes cherishing, serving, defending, and protecting human life. May we always strive to “see in every human face the face of Christ” (EV 81) and treat each person as we would treat Christ Himself.
Sincerely yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
The Respect Life reflection unpacks this year's theme, "Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life." It explains that life is gift from God and the various challenges we encounter—especially when our lives are most vulnerable—are opportunities to grow closer to God through the virtue of Christian hope.
View and download the reflection as a PDF or Word document.