"Every day we witness the testimony of courage and sacrifice of healthcare workers."
Pope Francis: Message for International Nurses Day 2020
The theme of Support Life Sunday on 10 October is “Supporting and honouring health carers.” This year’s focus acknowledges the work of health carers, including family carers and health professionals, who are on the front line in supporting and protecting life.
The change of name and focus to Support Life Sunday recognises that we need to move beyond political debate or legal argument and extend to active, practical support for people facing a range of life challenges at the beginning of life, throughout life, and at the end of life.
Health carers are currently under intense pressure because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as experiencing the impact of recent changes to New Zealand’s abortion and euthanasia legislation. Health carers are also witnesses to the ongoing impact on health and life of poverty, exclusion, attitudes towards disabilities, and addictions.
Pope Francis has acknowledged and thanked health carers in many statements throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s Support Life Sunday resources share the stories of health carers who are examples of people who support life in their homes, jobs and careers. Each of our parishes and communities has many such examples. This is an opportunity to acknowledge and support those who support life.
The attached Support Life Sunday resources have been prepared by the Catholic Bishops' Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics. Download the introductory letter.
A PowerPoint slide presentation including health carer quotations and inspirational quotes from Pope Francis is available to download. The PowerPoint incorporates static photos and a quote from each of the carer's stories and is designed to be played as a reflection at masses. It can easily be included in a church's Powerpoint for the day. Download it here.
The PowerPoint is also available in a YouTube format.
To assist parishes and communities, including households and families at home in bubbles, to celebrate Support Life Sunday. This material has been prepared in partnership with the National Liturgy Office and includes prayers, reflections and children’s liturgy suggestions.
- Download the Liturgical Material here.
Health carer stories:
The main part of Support Life Sunday this year is telling the stories of health carers. There are three downloadable files for each person's story:
- A story with details about the person's work, situation and values in action, to use in newsletters, websites or wherever is handy.
- A poster in PDF which includes the person's picture and a short quote. Parishes and others are free to print out the posters or use as they wish.
- A social media tile in JPG format which is a square version of the same material as in the poster.
Additionally, each person's story is linked to a standard web page, easier to read on phones and other devices with small screens.
Suggested prayers for inclusion in Prayer of the Faithful
Please feel free to adapt one of these or to write your own:
• Loving God, all things are possible for you. Bless health carers in the life and death decisions they experience every day.
• Loving Father, may your gracious care for all awaken us in the desire to support life wherever we see that it is under threat.
• God who became a servant to all, we thank you for the work of health carers, especially those from within our parish community. Grant them the gifts of wisdom and insight as they accompany people in times of fragility and vulnerability.
• Heavenly Father, you know the anguish of watching your loved son suffer and die. We ask you to bless family carers who look after loved ones every day. May they know the solidarity and support of the whole community.
Prayer for use after communion or at home
Loving God, who calls each one of us to Support Life,
We pray for health carers, who are with people making decisions at the beginning and end of life, and throughout its many challenges,
We pray for family carers and for people who look after others at home every day.
Bless and keep them in your love.
Grant them wisdom and insight.
Show us all how to support people who support people.
Many further prayers and other prayerful suggestions are included in the Liturgical Material resources.