Cardinal Newman can help Catholics to deepen their understanding of “Christian death”, Archbishop Bernard Longley has said.
The Archbishop of Birmingham was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday unveiling the theme of this year’s Day for Life. Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Cardinal Newman in Archbishop Longley’s diocese on September 19.
The title of Day for Life 2010 is “Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended”, taken from the Roman Missal’s Preface of Christian Death I. The day will focus on the Church’s teaching on death.
Archbishop Longley presented a leaflet that will be sent to parishes throughout England and Wales to mark the day, which takes place this year on Sunday, July 25. The leaflet contains a celebrated prayer by Cardinal Newman beginning “May He support us all day long”.
Archbishop Longley said: “Newman brought before British society in his own day an awareness of the dignity of death, the support of the community around the dying person, which is very much part of his poem The Dream of Gerontius, and the continuing mercy of God through the experience of death.”
The archbishop said he hoped the day would raise awareness of the Sacrament of the Sick, as well as the need to support the dying and pray for the dead.
A Day for Life collection will take place in parishes on July 25. The proceeds will go to the Anscombe Bioethics Centre (formerly the Linacre Centre) and other pro-life activities supported by the Church.
A website contains other materials for use by parishes, prayer groups and individuals.
John Paul II established the annual Day for Life in order to celebrate the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.