Bishop John Sherrington, the Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Church in England and Wales. Credit: CBCEW
Sunday, 20 June 2021
Bishop John Sherrington, the Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Church in England and Wales, has written to his brother bishops about this year’s Day for Life. Day for Life is an annual celebration of the intrinsic value and dignity of every human person from conception to natural death.
We celebrate Day for Life on Sunday 20 June 2021. This day, inaugurated by Saint John Paul II, presents an opportunity to pray for the gift of life from conception to natural death, to raise awareness of the precious gift of life, and to support the work of protecting life in its most vulnerable stages through the annual collection. This assists pro-life organisations who raise awareness, engage in parliamentary work and pastoral outreach.
The fragility of life and the reality of death has been brought into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK alone, more than 126,000 people have died from Covid-19. Yet in the face of such suffering and death, we have also witnessed the extraordinary dedication of healthcare professionals and their loving care for the sick and dying. We too have each made sacrifices for the greater good during this pandemic. These acts of heroic love are a powerful testimony to the fundamental dignity of the human person and to the respect owed to each life, particularly through proper care and love in the last moments of life.
Against this backdrop of loving care, we are now faced with the very real threat of the legalisation of ‘assisted suicide’ in our country. It is not a question of ‘if’ this challenge will come, it is now a question of ‘when?’ There is now a Private Members Bill in the House of Lords on so-called ‘Assisted Dying’ and it is only a matter of time before the issue is back in the House of Commons.
This year’s theme for Day for Life focuses on assisted suicide and the respect owed to life. The online resources are produced to inform Catholics about this threat to life and to share with people our response to such a threat: a true compassion as the just response to the immense value of the human person.
Day for Life adds an authenticity to our witness to the dignity of life and this is enabled by the generosity of people in the pews supporting our work.
In 2020, we were unable to hold our annual Day for Life collection due to the pandemic, our funds are very much depleted and the threats to life have never been greater.
Day for Life is a simple, practical response which pushes back against ‘the use and throwaway logic’ often at the heart of a culture which seeks to abandon its elderly, sick and dying when ‘they no longer serve our interests.’
If you feel you can offer financial support, no matter how small, you can make a secure online donation.