By Susan Ciancio
Evangelium Vitae, or The Gospel of Life, is St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the sanctity of all human life. Written in 1995, this beautiful and loving encyclical addresses our relationship with God, how to build a culture of life, and the importance of seeing dignity in every person—born or preborn, old or young, sick or healthy. The predominant message of this work is to teach the Church family to care for and love our neighbors by valuing and protecting them from creation until death.
The Culture of Life Studies Program, working in conjunction with Vocare, has developed a four-lesson online and self-paced course on Evangelium Vitae for parents, educators, and anyone who wants to learn how to not only build, but strengthen, the Gospel of Life in their community or home.
As the Holy Father points out, we cannot build a culture of life if we do not respect others and then live out that respect in all that we do. It is our duty—not only to our fellow man, but to our children and God—to live our lives in such a way that we affirm the dignity of all people. In addition, we must teach the next generation to do so as well—through both our words and our actions. This course will help you do just that.
The lessons in this course take an in-depth look at God’s gift of human life by exploring how Church documents and the Bible give us valuable insight into how each person—especially teachers and parents as teachers—can help end injustices like abortion, contraception, and euthanasia.
Our secular society is saturated with messages on social media, on TV, and in print that encourage people—especially impressionable kids—to do what “feels good” and to put themselves before others. While there may also be messages to stand up for themselves, no one is teaching our kids to stand up for God and His truths—except us. When we help our students and children understand and really see the motives behind the proponents of the culture of death and teach them how to combat this culture by following Christ’s teachings, we will restore a culture that affirms all life.
With videos featuring American Life League president Judie Brown and the late Reverend Leonard R. Klein, STM, who was the director of pro-life activities for the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, this unique course gives you the opportunity to delve into issues that affect our young people every day, and it will help you learn how to communicate the truths of our faith to them.
For instance, you will learn about the virtue of solidarity and how it’s essential to building a culture of life. Solidarity involves treating others—everyone—as part of the human family because we are all children of God and made in His likeness. To that end, we welcome strangers, we help those in need, and we treat people like we want to be treated.
You will also learn about the redemptive value of suffering and how to explain it to students. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are scourges upon our society that teach people that those who are sick, elderly, or suffering are burdens and should have the “choice” to take their own lives. Our society doesn’t teach that every single person is valuable and wanted or that every single person matters. Further, it doesn’t explain that suffering unites us to Christ and draws us closer to Him. As Catholics, we believe in the redemptive value of suffering—that our suffering here on earth will benefit us later in life or will help someone else if we offer it up for him.
This course also teaches the connection between contraception and abortion. With the introduction and widespread use of contraception comes an increase in people having multiple sexual partners, the objectification of women, and the commodification and rejection of babies. As a result, families suffer.
Further, this course will:
- Define when a human being’s life begins (the moment of creation)
- Explain the terms “culture of life” and “culture of death”
- Retell the story of the Gospel of Life and explain its main message
- Identify ways to celebrate the Gospel of Life in classroom activities
- Explain the difference between moral law and civil law
- Explain why abortion and euthanasia do not value a human being’s life
- Identify ways to explain the message of the Gospel of Life to your students
How long will I spend on this course?
The average completion time for the entire four-lesson course is roughly four hours. Someone who goes through each task quickly and doesn’t spend a lot of time reflecting could likely finish in 3-3 ½ hours. Someone who listens to all the voiceovers, clicks all the resource links, and spends more time journaling might take 4-4 ½ hours. How you choose to pace yourself is up to you. And you can always go back to a previous lesson if you skipped something.
Teaching the Gospel of Life, and living a culture of life, is our responsibility and our duty to our families and students. Children pick up what they see, hear, and read—and they know and hear more than we think they do. If we don’t combat any lies or half-truths that they encounter, they will grow up believing those lies. Our children need our guidance to help them navigate this secular world. That is the only way to help spread the Gospel of Life that St. John Paul II so eloquently taught.
You can purchase this course for just $28 at store.mycatholicfaithdelivered.com/p-44057-evangelium-vitae.aspx. Once you enroll in the course, you have a one-year license and can revisit the course as often as you like. When your license expires, you will no longer have access to the course, but there will always be a record of your transcripts, class reports, and any journal entries you created. Furthermore, as a teacher, you may be able to get continuing education credits for this class.