“Mercy and Healing in the Jubilee Year” will be the theme of a Respect Life gathering at St. Bridget Church, Richmond, on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The half-day event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and registration allowing visitors to peruse materials at resource tables in the commons.

After opening prayer at 9 a.m. Msgr. William Carr, pastor of St. Bridget’s, will speak about the significance of the Jubilee Year and the need to have “a profound respect for life from conception to natural death.”

Msgr. Carr will speak again at 10:30 about “the special understanding, compassion and care” which the elderly deserve as they approach the end of life.”

He will give his perspective “on what we can do to support our loved ones on their journey home.”

Other speakers will be Kevin Burke, author, and Leslie Davis Blackwell, a pro-life activist. They will suggest ways in helping women who have experienced abortion and “are dealing with the sorrow and guilt from abortion and their unwavering commitment to protect the unborn.”

Mrs. Blackwell, active in the Silent No More Awareness campaign, has previously spoken about her story of radical conversion from “an angry pro-abortion feminist to pro-life activist.”

Olivia Gans Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life, will speak about how people can be more involved in building their own respect for life and those around them.

There will be open discussion at 11:30. The event will close with prayer and blessing at 11:55.

Msgr. Carr pointed out that the discussion of pro-life issues comes at a time five weeks before the 2016 national elections.

“There is a lot of vigor around the current national elections and a lot of criticizing and complaining,” he said.

“We ought not to complain one word about the candidates as long as our sloth encourages the murder of innocent infants in the womb and of the elderly.

“Our lack of vigor around life issues contributes to the political situation in which we find ourselves so unhappily trapped.

“The Holy Father sets a high standard and reminds us that all this is related, nothing happens in a vacuum.

“While the Lord proposes life, we promote death by our tolerance.”

Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m. before the event begins.