As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. During October, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, a time in which we’re invited to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life. The first Sunday of October (Oct. 4 this year) is observed as Respect Life Sunday.

This year the Church celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s landmark pro-life encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life). This prophetic document which passionately reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the value and sacredness of every human life inspires this year’s Respect Life theme, “Live the Gospel of Life,” and the accompanying resources.

Reflect on the theme (English | Español)

Walking with Moms in Need

In addition, in honor of the Gospel of Life’s 25th anniversary, the U.S. bishops are inviting parishes to take part in an important initiative called “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service” to serve pregnant and parenting women who are in difficult circumstances. If you are interested in leading this initiative in your parish, please contact DJ Florian in the diocesan Office of Pastoral Services.

Read Bishop Walkowiak’s letter to parishioners:

(English | Español)

Program Resources:

Serving Moms in Need
Catholic Priorities at the Polls (coming soon) | Election 2020 Resources
The Gospel of Life: A Brief Summary | Compendium (coming soon) | Study Guide (coming soon)
Parish Action Guide

Events around the diocese and beyond:

  • Sign up for Vigil Hours for 40 Days for Life, Sept. 23- Nov. 1. Check with your parish pro-life coordinator, or click here.
  • Mass for God’s Children with Bishop Walkowiak, Nov. 10, 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.
    • The diocesan Respect Life office invites parents who have experienced the loss of a child before baptism to a Mass for God’s Children. All are welcome to attend this Mass, including parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends (please adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines for the diocese, found here). To reserve a memorial rose in your child’s/children’s name(s), or for more information, please contact Stephanie Grey at 616-288-0908 or
  • 2021 March for Life in D.C.
    • March for Life pilgrimage for high schoolers – more information coming soon. Questions? Please contact Mark Mann in the Office of Family, Youth and Young Adult Ministry,
    • March for Life is currently scheduled for Jan. 29, 2021 (Sign up to receive updates)
  • Mass for Life with Bishop Walkowiak – Jan. 22, 2020, 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew (Details)

Additional resources:

Respect Life Ministry resources (in the Diocese of Grand Rapids)
Connect with the Respect Life Ministry office & activities on Facebook
USCCB: News release: Chairman of U.S. bishops’ Pro-Life celebrates launch of Respect Life Month |
Respect Life Program resources | Browse materials published in previous years