Pope Benedict XVI sends message to 20,000 youth gathered for pro-life Mass in Washington

January 22, 2009

Each year, the Archdiocese of Washington hosts an annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life on January 22. More than 20,000 youth from around the United States who are in Washington to be witnesses to life on the anniversary of legalized abortion in the United States attend.

Immediately before this year’s Mass, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read a message sent on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl:

Your Excellency,

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI asks you kindly to convey his cordial greetings to the more than twenty thousand young people from throughout the United States who will gather on 22 January for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in conjunction with the national March for Life.

His Holiness is deeply grateful to all who take part in this outstanding annual witness to the Gospel of Life, and to the many others who support them by fasting and prayer. During his visit to the United States last April, he asked young people, in the light of their love for Christ, to promote a culture of life by defending the unchanging moral truths which safeguard the dignity and rights of every man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, the unborn child in the mother’s womb (cf. Homily at Yankees Stadium, 20 April 2008). No Christian can shirk the moral duty of affirming the sacredness of God’s gift of life at every stage of its development and working to ensure that this fundamental human right receives due legal protection.

For this reason, the Holy Father encourages young people to make their voices heard in addressing this burning moral and social issue with honesty and integrity, working as wise and committed citizens for the building of a truly just and humane society, in which every member of the human family is allowed to share in the banquet of life. Commending all those gathered for the March for Life to the prayers of Mary, Mother of the Church, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, strength and peace in the Lord.

With every good wish, I remain
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Fernando Filoni

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
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