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Consistent Ethic of Life

Drawing from the reflections of Thomas Nairn, OFM, senior director of ethics at Catholic Health Association:

Franciscans acknowledge that life is sacred and are dedicated to a consistent ethic of life.

Since life is the first gift given us by God, Franciscans have a profound respect for human life. The itinerancy which is part of the Franciscan vocation helps the followers of Francis and Clare understand better the fragility of life and to support the most vulnerable in society. Because of this, the Franciscan family, from its earliest moments, embraced active non-violence and articulated a theology and ethics centered in love. This spiritual perspective includes respect for those who disagree with us, as shown in the dialogue between Francis and the sultan.

See some of the ways that educational and formative programs, advocacy efforts and direct service work in Holy Name Province ministries reflect this dedication to a consistent ethic of life.

To add to the list, contact Fran Eskin-Royer in Holy Name Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.


advocacyEfforts that use community organizing and/or dialogue with local and national officials to address the needs of people and/or creation


St. Francis of Assisi Parish 
Triangle, Va. 
The effort includes references during Mass intentions, email and letter-writing advocacy campaigns when executions are scheduled, as well as prayer vigils on execution days. 
Contact:  Fr. John O'Connor, OFM 



St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish 
Hartford, Conn.
The parish of St. Patrick – St. Anthony made significant contributions to the April 25, 2012 repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty, including:

• A number of parishioners are active members of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP).  The parish itself is an institutional member and has provided meeting space for CNADP. The Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry made a generous financial contribution in 2011.

• Parishioners have participated in public events such as lobbying days, public hearings, and press conferences at the state capitol, and an interfaith Stations of the Cross through downtown Hartford focusing on the death penalty as a social justice issue. Parish bulletin announcements have helped increase awareness of these activities.

• In both 2011 and 2012, St. Patrick – St. Anthony hosted "letter-writing Sundays," where the congregation was invited after each weekend Mass to write letters to their state legislators. These events yielded hundreds of letters. The 2012 confirmation candidates participated in writing letters and also studied capital punishment as part of their preparation program.

• Several other parish events in recent years have featured speakers against the death penalty, including a death row exoneree and a 9/11 widow.

Contact: Sheila Denion 


Immaculate Conception Parish 
Durham, N.C
The mission of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty is to educate and mobilize faith communities to act to abolish the death penalty in the United States.
Contact: Maryann Crea 


St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Triangle, Va.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish's Respect Life Committee coordinates parish events, activities and advocacy to celebrate and advocate for the Church's teaching regarding the sacredness of life from conception through natural death (abortion, death penalty, biotechnology, culture of life, euthanasia, etc.).  Events include participation in the annual March for Life, the Baby Shower for Birthright, the Forty Days for Life Campaign, eldercare projects, celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, and more.  The committee also celebrates Respect Life Month in October, supports the ministry of Project Rachel in their efforts to bring healing after abortion, and hosts guest speakers who address life issues from a variety of angles.
Contact: Fr. John O'Connor, OFM 


Immaculate Conception Parish 
Durham, N.C.
This ministry seeks to foster understanding of and action around a spectrum of issues related to respect for human life. This ministry upholds a consistent ethic of life that is concerned for the unborn and their mothers, the terminally ill, the disabled, refugees, all victims of violence and abuse, and promotes an end to the death penalty. 
Contact: Maryann Crea 

Direct Service

serviceEfforts that work to address the immediate needs of people and/or creation.


St. Anthony of Padua Parish 
Greenville, S.C.
The parish works with Open Arms Hospice to provide volunteers to support hospice patients and their caregivers. 
Contact: Marcus Barkey 


St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center 
Boston, Mass.
The Shrine provides burials for those people society never seems to think about, like the homeless, the poor, and those who die alone or whose family cannot afford funeral services. With the assistance of local funeral directors, including Dolan Funeral Services, J.S. Waterman & Sons and Casper Funeral Homes, St. Anthony Shrine has provided funeral services and Masses for many of Boston’s most needy. For information, visit the ministry’s website. 
Contact: Julie Ogden 



St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Triangle, Va.
The parish collects and provides baby items and cash donations to Birthright, Project Rachel, and Mary’s Shelter.  St. Francis House, the parish’s community outreach center, also distributes diapers and formula on a weekly basis.
Contact: Francia Salguero


Immaculate Conception Parish
Durham, N.C.
Pregnancy Support Services is a Christian ministry assisting individuals who face the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy, ministering to emotional and spiritual needs resulting from abortion or miscarriage and promoting sexual abstinence in the community.
Contact: Maryann Crea



St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Raleigh, N.C.
The ministry encourages pregnant women to choose life for their unborn child by offering emotional support to those coping with challenging circumstances during and after pregnancy.  The ministry also assists with other needs, such as baby items, medical care, food, housing and transportation.
Contact: Trevor Thompson



Immaculate Conception Parish
Durham, N.C.
The Latina Mothers’ Playgroups serve Spanish-speaking mothers with children three years of age and younger. Each group meets once a week for 1½ hours for fellowship, music, sharing ideas, developing nurturing parenting skills, information sharing and providing referrals to community resources.
Contact: Katushka Olave


St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Long Beach Township, N.J.
A five week program for parents and babies.  Guidance on the communication with parent and baby will be modeled by instructors who are undergoing certification with Infant Massage U.S. A.  Training will provide parents with specific, proven infant massage techniques to promote bonding and attachment.                             Contact:  St. Francis Community Center at 609-494-8861


St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Long Beach Township, N.J.
Free parenting, family intervention and low-cost violence prevention services to Ocean County families through supportive services that focus on enhancing family functioning. The following groups and workshops are also offered:

In-Home Services – Parents as Teachers
A free, voluntary in-home parenting program providing infant and child development education and referral services is offered to County residents who are pregnant or have children up to age 5.

Parenting in Recovery
Groups focus on supporting families with substance abuse histories. Parents explore the effects of substance abuse on themselves and their families while learning effective parenting skills that strengthen family relationships.

Parenting Workshops and Groups
This program is interactive and is designed to meet the specific needs of participating parents. Films and group discussions encompass multiple aspects of child development. This program is provided at sites throughout Ocean County.
Contact:  Lori Tomaro