For almost 50 years, the Catholic faithful have been called to observe “Respect Life Sunday” during the month of October.  It is a Divine call to confront the multiple ways in which life is often devalued in our world—capital punishment, abortion, bullying, and judgmentalism, among others.  It is a call to self-reflection about our personal and collective behavior.  We can take this call to heart in every situation we encounter, and each day offers many opportunities—large and small—to respect life by the ways we treat one another.  What is one positive choice for life that you have made today?  How can the faith community at St. Joseph’s collectively say “yes” to all forms of life and charity?

Speaking of saying “yes” to a Divine call to respect life, for centuries the Catholic faithful have venerated the Blessed Mother during the month of October.  It is not surprising that Our Lady of Fatima began to appear once a month to three children in Portugal in 1917—beginning on May 13 and ending on October 13.  On the last day, with more than 70,000 people gathered in anticipation, many reported seeing an unusual heavenly phenomenon that has been called the “dance of the sun.”  Ponder in prayer today what Saint John Paul II identified as Fatima’s significance: “A call to conversion and repentance … the nucleus of the message of the gospel.”