By Dave Jolivet, Anchor Editor
MASHPEE, Mass. — A brand new “Culture of Life Chaplet,” will be prayed next week for the first time with the hopes of counteracting the culture of death overspreading the world today.
One doesn’t have to try very hard to witness the rapid erosion of respect for human life in this world.
Day after day, TV cameras and personal smartphones capture images of just how cruel man can treat his fellow man.
Newspapers and e-publications are filled with stories of humans defending the right to legally kill unborn and elderly creations of God.
Movies and television shows routinely glorify the savagery of mankind towards its own — believing it’s entertainment.
Today’s youth has rapidly become desensitized to the lack of respect for life permeating this planet.
Yet, there is an army out there, in every corner of the world, that is fighting this attack on life. An army whose weapons are prayer and works of charity and mercy.
A small battalion in that army is the Respect Life Committee at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee. Under the loving watch of committee chairman Claire Twitchell, the group has, for a long time, met monthly to pray for the most vulnerable of God’s creatures: the unborn, the elderly, the marginalized, the imprisoned, and anyone who is a victim of human cruelty and injustice.
Its mission statement reads: “To promote and encourage respect for life from conception to natural death through prayer, education and pro-active support of all life issues. Each of us is a masterpiece of God’s creation. No matter how the world might view us or others, let us treat each person as the masterpiece that he or she is.”
Each month the group meets for “informative round-table discussions,” to talk about “how to pro-actively participate in supporting all life issues.”
The group has hosted a monthly prayer service for life and a Rosary for life.
Committee secretary-treasurer Betty Kelley felt still more could be done to foster and spread a Culture of Life. After prayerful consideration, Kelley developed the “Culture of Life Chaplet,” that the group will introduce on April 16 at 1 p.m. at the St. Jude’s Chapel in Mashpee, part of the Respect Life Committee’s “Could you watch (pray) one hour with me?” theme.
“I see such a lack of dignity of life in this country,” Kelley told The Anchor. “It occurred to me to try to encourage more people to pray about the conditions in this country.”
Kelley said the chaplet doesn’t only concentrate on the unborn, but “the prayers are all-inclusive for all life issues.”
Kelley said she was grateful for pastor Msgr. Daniel Hoye’s support in the endeavor. “I am so pleased to have Msgr. Hoye on board and so supportive,” she added.
The chaplet took nearly five months to put together, and according to Kelley, “A small group of us got together to practice and see how long it will take — about 45 minutes.”
The chaplet is prayed on regular Rosary beads. It begins, as do most prayers, with the Sign of the Cross. That is followed by an opening prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.
“Each of the decades begins with a meditation on a certain aspect of life,” explained Kelley. “All of the meditations are taken from writings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Respect Life Committee.”
In order, the five decades are devoted to: All children, born and unborn; the marginalized; for an end to euthanasia and assisted suicide; for an end to the death penalty; and to restore the Culture of Life.
Each decade is then prayed in the same manner as a Rosary.
“I believe this is a way to have people think about the different aspects of life that are constantly under attack,” said Kelley. “Msgr. Hoye wanted to include all aspects as well.”
Kelley and the Respect Life Committee members are hopeful this chaplet will be accepted and actually spread. “We had the chaplet printed in booklet form by a good friend, Kelley Souza who owns New Wave Printing and Design in Falmouth,” Kelley added. “That way it will be easier to pray and concentrate. If it catches on, we can always have more booklets printed somehow.
“I think the closing prayer truly sums up what we’re trying to express in the chaplet: ‘Let’s make a difference today. Let’s make our homes havens of peace and mercy. Let’s work together to make the world a place where the innocent and the vulnerable are welcomed, protected and honored. Lord, come and save Your people. Bring Your justice to this earth so that no one is ever abandoned again!”
Kelley added that this is a prayer that “people can do on their own at any time. Everyone can make a difference.”
For information about the Culture of Life Chaplet, contact the Respect Life Committee at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee, through the parish office at The Commons, P.O. Box 1800, Mashpee, 02649; telephone 508-477-7700; or email email@example.com.