As we prepare to celebrate Easter and the joyous resurrection of our Savior, it is good that we pause to consider another transformation of life that can take place when one chooses to act with love and compassion.
April is National Donate Life Month, an ecumenical observance of the gift of life to others that is made possible through donating one’s bodily organs and tissues on one’s death. Our Church supports this tremendous act as one ofthe highest expressions of human compassion and giving, one which honors the sanctity of human life. These are basic principles upon which our Catholic faith is based.
In voicing his personal decision to donate life to those who may be in need, our beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has said that Catholics can “participate spontaneously and in full awareness in the culture of transplants and the donation of organs in which we live.”
So many of us have known of friends, family members and others in need of organ transplant, or who have gone before us and in death gave life through donation, to save and help others in a final act of humanity and giving.
This April, we especially remember all of them in prayer and love. I ask all of our parishes to join Catholics across the country in observing National Donate Life Month by discussing our Church’s teachings and statements on donation and transplantation.
Please consider the faith-based decision to give the gift of life. Those who wish to receive more information and register a decision to give life may contact Gift of Hope, the not-for-profit organization that coordinates donation and services for families in Illinois, at www.giftofhope.org or 888/307-3668. If you made this life-giving decision in the past, please make sure that you have re-registered in Illinois’ new organ/tissue donor registry after Jan. 1, 2006. Joining the new registry will document your legal decision to give life and ensure your wishes are honored at the time of your death.
With more than 90,000 Americans waiting for lifesaving organ transplants and thousands more waiting for life-enhancing tissue and cornea transplants, please take part in honor of those who gave, on behalf of those who received . . . and with hope for those who continue to wait. God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O. M. I.
Archbishop of Chicago