By Kevin Elphick, CNY Franciscan Associate

London artist, Nicholas Mynheer is a painter who depicts biblical scenes. In a Station of the Cross never previously imagined, Nicholas depicts the Virgin Mary consoling the mother of Judas after the deaths of both their sons. Painted in 2014, he named it “Mary embraces Judas’ Mother.” The painting powerfully depicts her compassion directed toward a mother who has just lost her son to a suicide, all the while not losing sight of the immediacy of Mary’s own painful loss.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. In the U.S., every 12 seconds, a person takes their own life. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death; the 2nd leading cause of death for youth. Our Veterans kill themselves at the rate of 22 individuals per day. While not typically described this way, suicide prevention is a quintessentially pro-life activity. If you have ever wanted to demonstrate your pro-life identity, suicide prevention activities are a concrete avenue of expression.

Your congregation can join in prayerful activity to help address suicide. The weekend of September 7-9 is the National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Life. It invites faith communities across the nation to pray for those whose lives have been touched by suicide. The weekend is meant to bring healing and consolation to those who have lost loved ones to suicide, but it is also aimed at helping faith communities across our nation to play an active role in preventing suicide. Resources, worship materials, contacts, promotional videos and other related materials are available here.

Professionals in suicide prevention often repeat the phrase that “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.” But in particular, as a pro-life community, suicide prevention is part of our consistent life ethic.

See painting at Mynheert Art