Catholic News Service
Reciting the Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis marked Italy's Pro-Life Sunday and also called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace 23 February, with special prayers for Congo and South Sudan.
Some 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus. Many of them were carrying the pro-life movement's green balloons with the message, ‘Yes to life.’
so many direct attacks on human life, from abortion to war, Pope Francis said he is worried that so few people are involved in pro-life activities.
The pope said, ‘There aren't many who fight on behalf of life in a world where, every day, more weapons are made; where, every day, more laws against life are passed; where, every day, this throwaway culture expands, throwing away what isn't useful, what is bothersome’ to too many people.
Pope Francis leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square 4 Feb at the Vatican.
And, with conflict continuing in many parts of the world, the pope said it was time for a special day of prayer and fasting for peace and that it was appropriate for the observance to take place on 23 February, a Friday in Lent.
‘Let us offer it particularly for the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan,’ he said.
Pope Francis asked ‘our non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join this initiative in the way they believe is most opportune.’
And he prayed that ‘our heavenly Father would always listen to his children who cry to him in pain and anguish.’
Individuals, however, must also hear those cries, he said, and ask themselves, ‘'What can I do for peace?' Certainly we can pray, but not only. Each person can say 'no' to violence’ in their daily lives and interactions. ‘Victories obtained with violence are false victories, while working for peace is good for everyone.’