Dear Parish Family:
Life is a gift, pass it on. This weekend we are invited to reflect on the gift of life. Most of the time we forget that life is a gift. It is easy to take life for granted. When health is good, when the job is good, when things seem to be working out…the reality is that discouraging things can come our way quite abruptly, we lose a job, we get a bad diagnosis at the doctor, a loved one dies. These are moments when we become sober and ask the hard questions of what "life is all about." Why am I here? Where am I going? These kinds of questions let us know that life cannot be taken for granted. We need more than things to fulfill us, but rather we need meaning and purpose. These are the things that make life.
The most fundamental proclamation of the Christian faith is that every life is unique and every life has value. The Church never tires of proclaiming the truth that life matters. Even life that is most vulnerable and considered by the wider society as dispensable; the unborn, the aged and the disabled.
This is why the Church is a "pro-life" Church. Central to being Catholic is to love and support all life. This weekend we celebrate Pro life Sunday where we lift up the dignity of life in all of its stages. This year we are also acknowledging a County wide initiative called "One Voice." It is a faith based initiative organized by the Hunterdon County Prosecutors Office that seeks to mobilize every faith community in Hunterdon County to become simultaneously aware of serious threats to our families right here in our local community. We have a tremendous growing problem with the use of heroin by our young people going to Hunterdon Central High School. The use of heroin has become a popular recreation drug that is ravaging our young people and also, due to the purity of the street drug, killing them. This past year there have been 14 deaths due to heroin overdose in our County alone. This represents a significant rise in use and abuse of a very dangerous drug.
Awareness is critical first key step in overcoming a problem. Since nearly every high school student has a cell phone it is easy to make contact with drug dealers without having to go to any dangerous street in Newark or Trenton. The availability is widely known among everyone in school who to contact if you want a certain kind of drug. Another aspect of serious abuse is prescription pills. More and more young people are raiding their parents and grandparents medicine cabinets to get drugs of choice; Percacet, Ambien, Oxycontin and Xanax. It is not uncommon for teenagers to have "pill parties" where each guest brings a bottle of whatever they have and they pour it into a bowl and mix it up and each person gets a surprise "high" or "low." The dangers are astronomical!!
This growing epidemic indicates that serious problems are escalating. Young people are our most precious gifts. The abuse that we are seeing on the rise indicates that they don't see themselves as gifts. Rather they see their lives as cheap and easily thrown away to reckless behaviors.
One of the first things we must do as a community of faith is to become aware and educated. There is no time to have our head in the proverbial sand pile. We must thoughtfully discuss it with others in the community. We must also realize that if we suspect addiction or reckless behaviors in our households we must seek to get the necessary help for intervention. Time is not on our side.
We must also turn more wholeheartedly to the Lord for His intervention. He is the Lord of Life. He holds all creation together in Himself. As we seek to deepen our own faith life we will discover the necessary words, and deeds to defend a culture of life.
This is another reason why we need to promote our pro life message all the more. We must show that we value and accept life from its earliest stages and every stage in between. We also must challenge families to be families. That is to spend time with children and teen agers. Do not assume that kids will tell you everything, especially if they are in the habit of not talking about things. Open communication is a vital key to encountering new life.
This week end let us join our forces of prayer and good will for the cause of all of life.
Please join us for a prayerful witness for life at the Annual Life Chain held this Sunday afternoon from 2:00-3:30 at the Flemington Circle. It is living witness of love that all life from conception to natural death is valued and loved.
May Our Lady of Life, who conceived the Lord of Life in her womb intercede for all of our needs!
P.S. Very importantly. I also ask you to come and join in a beautiful mass and procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary on Monday night. Mass begins at 7pm and will conclude with an outdoor candlelight procession of the Virgin Mary. October is the month of Mary and especially the Rosary. Remember that the Rosary is vital way to connect with Jesus through the heart of Mary.