Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Order of Malta Gathers Lancaster Community for Mass Celebrating the Sanctity of Human Life

Praying for the intention of the sanctity of human life, Catholics in the Lancaster area gathered at St. John Neumann Church on Thursday evening, October 26, for the annual Sanctity of Life Mass. Bishop Timothy Senior was the principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass, concelebrated by a number of area priests.

The liturgy is an annual event of the Lancaster Region of the Order of Malta. The lay religious order is active in 120 countries, dedicated to the care for the poor, the sick and the vulnerable through medical, social and humanitarian works.

Addressing the congregation in his homily, Bishop Senior remarked that God’s desire is that every person would recognize and respect the sacredness and preciousness of every life, created in his image and likeness.

“Every breath we take comes because of God’s love for us. We are here because of God’s vision for life, and that life begins at the moment of our conception in our mother’s womb,” he said.

“Yet, we think of our world right now and this lack of respect for human life. We are so conscious of the continuing presence of the great evil of abortion-on-demand in our country. We’re conscious of the taking of human life at the other end of the continuum as well, with the seemingly growing acceptance of euthanasia,” he said.

“We understand that every life is sacred and that God, who gave life, is the only one who can take it,” Bishop Senior remarked. “But we know this is a question for dispute now, because of the loss of that fundamental sense of absolute morality and the understanding of the innate truth of the sanctity of every life….My belief on the absolute truth can be viewed as hate speech, and I need to be silenced, not allowed to speak on behalf of the unborn.”

“Yet, we need to continue to speak,” he said. “We know that this lack of respect for human life has a continual manifestation of violence in the world and we can almost become numb to it…. We need to be a light to the nations, we need to proclaim by our lives the glory of God in every human person.”

The Sovereign Order of Malta was established as a lay religious order in 1113. With members throughout the world and 3,000 Knights and Dames among them in the United States, the order ministers to the sick in hospitals, feeds the poor in soup kitchens, clothes and shelters the homeless and provides assistance to the elderly, poor and working mothers.

For more information on the Lancaster Region of the Order of Malta, visit this link.

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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