St. Augustine Catholic
Finding Their Way Back
Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley (1894-1967)  
Celebration of Life

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Supporting Life

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:41-45)

The Catholic Church’s 2007-08 Respect Life Program begins on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 7. This year’s theme is taken from Luke’s Gospel (above) - The Infant in My Womb Leaped for Joy.

This passage from the Visitation story reflects Elizabeth’s joy and amazement on being greeted by her cousin Mary, when Elizabeth and her unborn child John, recognized they were in the presence of the unborn Jesus. The biblical theme contrasts their sense of awe at the unborn child with contemporary society’s view of the human embryo as a mere commodity that can be created, manipulated or even destroyed for research purposes.

In his August 2007 address to the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Directors’ gathering, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, noted the need for such awe and reverence at human life, particularly in bioethics. “Human dignity, not progress at any price, should be the fundamental guiding value in scientific research,” he said. “When scientists do their job well, they serve humanity and the common good.”

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life program brings church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy. Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. There are Respect Life coordinators in each of our 51 parishes in the diocese that will provide materials for parishioners on an array of topics, including:

• Abortion and Catholic social teaching
• Assisted reproductive technology
• Care for aging loved ones
• The failure of contraception to reduce abortions
• Discovering hope and love after an adverse prenatal diagnosis
• The abortion-breast cancer link
• The respect owed to persons who are mentally ill, and
• Project Rachel post-abortion ministry.

To view these topics and more, visit or contact your parish coordinator for additional resources.

Supporting life and the men and women of the church of Florida is the subject of our cover story on Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley. Pope Pius XII appointed him bishop at the age of 46 in 1940. He was the sixth bishop of Saint Augustine. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Archbishop Hurley’s mission in Florida was to develop the church in a vast state with two million residents and only 60,000 Catholics. Many of you may not remember Archbishop Hurley, but all of you are reaping the benefits of this spiritual leader’s acute visionary skills.

On Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, the diocese will hold a Memorial Mass commemorating the 40th anniversary of Archbishop Hurley’s death. I hope you will plan to attend and I hope you enjoy this issue dedicated to one of our great leaders.

- Kathleen Bagg-Morgan, editor