Respect Life Coordinators
The Parish Community is at the heart of Respect Life Ministry. We work with parishes throughout the Archdiocese to provide support and assistance to Parish Respect Life Coordinators and Committees as they work to build bonds with their communities through Christ and encourage a culture of life at their parishes.
In addition to supporting the work of Parish Respect Life Committees, the Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity offers resources and materials applicable to your parish, including brochures on life issues, and post-abortion healing programs like Project Rachel. We offer dynamic speakers on life issues at little or no cost to the parish, and we offer support for Liturgies and Holy Hours for Life.
If you are interested in taking part in your Parish Respect Life Committee, or if you'd like to start a Committee at your parish, please contact:
The Parish Respect Life Committee, led by the Parish Respect Life Coordinator (PRLC), is a vital part of Respect Life ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Not only do committees provide resources to their parish on life issues, they also actively promote encounters with Christ and further evangelize fellow parishioners around the life issues. Committees also support their pastor and priests in making life issues visible and viable at the parish level.
The Parish Respect Life Coordinator (PRLC) organizes and implements the efforts of the Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities (BPPPLA) at his/her local parish, in consultation with the pastor of that parish. The BPPPLA specifically focuses on the issues of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and the PRLC must understand and accept the Church's teaching on these issues. The PRLC serves both the parish and the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Read and become familiar with the Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities. This provides the background behind the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life and offers a blueprint for implementing the Pastoral Plan in your parish. As representatives of the Bishops on pro-life issues, we follow the leadership of the Bishops’ Pro Life Secretariat in Washington, D.C., particularly regarding public policy matters related to life issues.
Organize a parish committee or structure to help with planning and implementing the specific pro-life programs and/or projects. The size and formality of this committee or structure depends largely upon the size of the parish.Some coordinators, particularly in small parishes, may find it unnecessary to establish a formal committee. However, every parish should at least have a group of volunteers available to help implement programs and projects as needed.
Meet regularly, preferably monthly, with the other coordinators, if applicable, to plan an activity for the following months. Try to initiate a form of pro-life effort, no matter how small, at least once a month. Review and evaluate these goals periodically.
Review with your pastor any pro-life activities, programs or events that will be advertised or carried out at the parish before they take place.
Implement specific projects or requests sent from the Respect Life Office or Catholic Conference of Illinois.
Serve as a liaison between the parish and the Respect Life Office and Catholic Conference of Illinois, forwarding any information or concerns of the parish or pastor.
Keep the pastor apprised of status. The PRLC is at the service of the pastor. Upon resignation, the PRLC will inform the pastor of his/her decision and, if possible, assist the pastor in choosing a new PRLC.
Agree on an approach. The PRLC serves in a voluntary manner. All activities must be subsidized in a manner agreed upon by the pastor.
The PRLC may be involved in other pro-life organizations and promote other pro-life events on the parish level, provided the pastor is informed and consents when those events are not under the sponsorship of the Bishops' Pastoral Plan.
Below are 11 things you can do to make pro-life part of your parish.
- Include a Pro-Life Petition at each Sunday Mass. These petitions come from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and can be found on their pro-life activities page.
- Endorse a chastity education program for youth through your Parish School, Religious Education and/or Youth Ministry. The Respect Life Office offers its own chastity education initiative for the youth and young adults, including pro-life, puberty, Theology of the Body.
- Offer parish support to anyone facing an unwanted pregnancy or being pressured to have an abortion. This can be combined with step 10, below.
- Celebrate Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday of every October, by implementing the special liturgy plan from the USCCB, and be sure to note October is Respect Life Month.
- Educate and disseminate “Action Alerts” to inform parishioners on upcoming events and issues.
- Provide information on Project Rachel for those who are seeking healing after abortion. Information should be in the church information sections and in the ladies’ restrooms.
- Provide information for pregnancy resource centers, including Aid for Women Chicago and The Women’s Center of Greater Chicagoland Area, to parishioners via the bulletin, ladies’ restrooms and/or church vestibule. Support the work of these centers by assisting in fundraisers and/or by volunteering.
- Offer Natural Family Planning classes to engaged couples, as well as any other interested married couples. Information can be obtained through the Office of Lifelong Formation or FertilityCare.
- Implement the Mother Teresa Project, for which your parish can “adopt” an abortion clinic to pray for its conversion and for the conversion of the women and men who enter it. The Respect Life Office can provide a list of abortion clinics and their locations, and parishioners are encouraged to pray individually and/or as a parish.
- Host a Holy Hour for Life or special Mass for Life on or around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.
- Support and encourage participation in the March for Life Chicago, which is held each January downtown Chicago. You can find more information about how you can get involved at their website.
Life & Justice Conference
The Life & Justice Conference, hosted by the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission, will unite the people of the Archdiocese of Chicago who respond to the Gospel call and recognize the dignity of all life as Christ’s missionary disciples. This conference will celebrate the Respect Life, Peace and Justice, Human Concerns, Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic Campaign for Human Development ministries, providing attendees with an educational and spiritual experience directly related to their ministries in addition to the opportunity to collaborate; enabling each ministry to have a farther reach and greater impact across the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond.