Bishop Deeley Speaks About the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children During Visit to Holy Cross School in South Portland
January 23, 2017
PORTLAND---The pews of Holy Cross Church in South Portland were filled with the students and teachers of Holy Cross School on Monday morning. They gathered for their weekly schoolwide prayer service, traditionally held on Tuesdays, but moved to Monday this week for two special reasons: a visit from Bishop Robert P. Deeley and the significance of January 23 (20 pictures below).
“Today, in a special way, we lift up the unborn child, so we are aware of the beautiful gift that each child is, that each one of us is,” Bishop Deeley told the children. “Our prayer this morning is to remember all of the unborn children who don’t get to see life.”
Each year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) calls for a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. This year, it fell on January 23, one day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
During the service, Bishop Deeley spoke about the meaning of the day and the message that the students should take with them from the service.
“The child is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was created in the image and likeness of God, so are you, so are all of us,” said the bishop. “What Jesus wants us to think about is the sacredness of every person: the unborn child, the older person, the sick person, the person who has challenges in his or her life, and even the person who sits next to you in class who you might not get along with all the time. Just as you and I are created in the image and likeness of God, so are they. They are worthy of our respect.”
As he visited each classroom of Holy Cross School throughout the morning, Bishop Deeley told the students that going to a Catholic school gives them the opportunity to learn about the ways in which they can show that respect.
“What is beautiful about a Catholic school is that what we do here is recognize that you are a whole person. You have a spiritual side that we can nourish too,” the bishop told sixth graders. “We can talk about our spiritual side as well as the knowledge that we need to live in the world. We can talk about what it is that God wants us to do and how God wants us to live our lives.”
One of the things we are called to do is to be of service to one another, the bishop told seventh graders. One of the main elements of Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 29-Feb. 4) is a variety of service projects that will be conducted at Catholic schools throughout Maine.
“Recognizing the fact that each person is created in the image and likeness of God, we realize that we have a responsibility to help each person to know that,” said the bishop. “That’s why we do these service projects, so we can help other people improve their situation in life. If we see ourselves as the image and likeness of God, we can spread that joy to others and change the world.”
During his visit, the bishop was also treated to a demonstration by the school’s robotics team which advanced to the Maine FIRST LEGO League State Championship in just its second year of existence; a special video produced by fourth graders showcasing their reading and math activities; and a number of songs, including a special performance of “This Little Light of Mine” by the kindergarteners. The bishop was joined on his tour of the school by Fr. Innocent Okozi, parochial vicar of St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland; Jim King, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools; and Christine L'Abbé, principal of Holy Cross School.